31st October 2017. The watch keepers at NCI Portland had a pleasant surprise when they spotted the Royal Navy’s latest addition to the fleet.
On the last day of October NCI Portland station manager, Geoff Peters, had invited Alexandra Cook, the area reporter for the ‘Dorset Echo’, to the Portland Bill lookout to give her an insight into the workings of the station for an article she is writing. While he was explaining the operation of their dual range twin screen HD radar the watch spotted the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth II arriving in the area accompanied by her escort frigate HMS Sutherland. HMS Queen Elizabeth II had left Portsmouth the previous day to carry out sea trials following her final fitting out at Portsmouth after delivery from Rosyth where she was assembled. The aircraft carrier closed to within 6 miles of the watch station at Portland Bill, which is when the photograph was taken.