Queen names warship and honours road bridge staff

The Queen is handed flowers at Rosyth as HMS Queen Elizabeth is officially named, below. Pictures: Phil Wilkinson and Lesley Martin
The Queen is handed flowers at Rosyth as HMS Queen Elizabeth is officially named, below. Pictures: Phil Wilkinson and Lesley Martin
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The Queen has unveiled a plaque at the Forth Road Bridge to mark its anniversary and honour all those who have maintained and operated it over the past 50 years.

Her visit to the bridge came on a hectic day of engagements which also saw her perform the naming ceremony for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at Rosyth.

Despite rain, crowds of local people turned out to greet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they arrived at the bridge.

She was met by bridgemaster Barry Colford and Councillor Lesley Hinds, convener of the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA).

The Queen was introduced to former soldiers of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), who formed a guard of honour when the Queen opened the bridge back in 1964.

And she met long-serving bridge workers Alex Rennie, painter (37 years), Chris Ronxin, rigger (34 years), Stewart Milne, general operative (25 years), Wayne Forrest, assistant bridge inspector (24 years) and George Elliot, bridge inspector (24 years).

Cllr Hinds made a short speech before the Queen unveiled the plaque, which is positioned at the viewing platform next to the FETA offices. It sits alongside the memorial the Queen unveiled at the opening of the Bridge nearly 50 years ago.

Eight-year-old Charlotte Waite presented the Queen with a bouquet before the Royal party headed over the bridge to Rosyth.

The naming ceremony for the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth was also attended by Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and First Minister Alex Salmond – who brought along his father Robert, 92, who served in the navy during the Second World War.

About 3500 people involved in the design and construction of the carrier watched the celebrations, alongside dignitaries and politicians.

The RAF’s Red Arrows performed a fly-past, painting the sky over the Forth red, white and blue.

And there was a procession of three generations of Royal Navy aircraft, including a historic 1950s de Havilland Sea Vixen fighter – the last and only flying aircraft of its kind in the world.

In her speech, the Queen said: “In sponsoring this new aircraft carrier I believe that Queen Elizabeth, as flagship for the Royal Navy, will be a source of inspiration and pride for us all.

“Wherever this ship may serve, whatever tasks may be asked of her, let all those who serve on her know that on this day she was blessed with the prayers of us all for her success and for her safe return to calm waters.”

The ship and a second vessel, the under-construction HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Five other shipyards around the UK – Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth and Tyne – were also involved in building parts of the carrier before it was assembled and fitted out at Rosyth.

The naming ceremony marked the structural completion of the ship, which will be floated out of her dock for the first time later this month.

The carrier will have 679 permanent crew and capacity for 1600 crew members when fully operational.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: “The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth heralds a new dawn, not only for the Royal Navy but for the delivery of our nation’s security. Her journey ahead will be global, strategic and one of inter-service and international partnership.”