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Director Attends Official Decommissioning of HMS Hermes

INS Viraat Ceremony Header

Recently one of NCI’s founding directors, Andy Trish, was invited along with thirteen other HMS Hermes veterans to attend the decommissioning of INS Viraat (formally HMS Hermes) in Mumbai.

The retired airman joined the ship when he was 17 years old and was a part of the British Royal Navy winning the Falklands war. He even spent his 19th birthday sailing with her while in the Falklands.

Decommissioning celebrations spanned over three days in which members representing the HMS Hermes association, a group founded to bring together past serving personnel, were treated like kings by the hospitable Indian Navy. Andy and his fellow HMS Hermes veterans were given an all access tour of the ship they fought together on during the Falklands war by the current serving officers of the now INS Viraat.

INS Viraat Tour

Pictured: Officers and men of INS Viraat on the flight deck, Andy heading down into one of the ship's boiler rooms and a plaque detailing the history of HMS Hermes from past and present generations battle honors and operations.

The chance of the tour gave the group the opportunity for the first time in 35 years to gather under the ships bell as comrades.

INS Viraat Veterans

Pictured: Veterans from left to right Glenn Bartholomew, Andy Shaw, Andy Mount, Mark Shepherd, Stephen Robertson and Andy Trish.

Later the group had the privilege to attend the official decommissioning ceremony, which saw past serving captains of INS Viraat in attendance along with the 1st Sea Lord of the British Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC.

INS Viraat Ceremony

Pictured: Past captains of INS Viraat, veterans re-visit their old place of work (the hangar) and the group with the 1st Sea Lord holding a Falklands penguin!

As the worlds longest serving warship (1959 – 2017) it was an emotional end for all in attendance for what has been an amazing few decades. Fear not this is hopefully not the end of the story for INS Viraat. The Indian Navy hopes the ship will become a marine museum or diving site although there have been reports to turn her into a floating hotel/ casino. Whatever her fate the memories of comradeship of those who served upon her will last long into the future.

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