Captain Nick Cooke-Priest OBE, who was sacked from his role as Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, but will be sailing the vessel back to Portsmouth today
The Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has set sail with Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest at her helm for the last time – after he was found using a Royal Navy car for personal trips.
The 65,000-tonne warship has spent the last six weeks in dry dock undergoing routine maintenance in Rosyth, Scotland, where it was originally built.
It will today be sailed home to Portsmouth by Captain Nick Cooke-Priest OBE, for the last time after the shamed skipper was found using the HMS Elizabeth’s Ford Galaxy at weekends.
Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, is yet to be reassigned after The Royal Navy deemed his personal use of the car an ‘error of judgement’.
However the skipper was flown to Rosyth, on the Firth of Forth, to bring the ship home to Plymouth as it ‘made sense’ for him to sail the ship back to port – The Ministry of Defence told The Telegraph.
A navy spokesman said: ‘The 65,000-tonne future fleet flagship has spent the last six weeks back in the cavernous dock in Rosyth where she was first pieced together as engineers inspected her hull and conducted routine maintenance.
Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest sails the HMS Queen Elizabeth from dry dock in Rosyth, Scotland to her home in Portsmouth
Babcock engineers complete maintenance work on HMS Queen Elizabeth at Rosyth, Scotland. Pictured: HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales together at Rosyth
HMS Queen Elizabeth is manoeuvred through the dock gates as she leaves Rosyth Dockyard, where she was built, after a period of planned maintenance today
Who is Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest?
Commodore Cooke-Priest had specialised as a Lynx helicopter observer after joining the Royal Navy. A decade of flying appointments followed, primarily at sea, and included an instructional tour and as Flight Commander of HMS Exeter.
He was promoted to Commander in 2009 and that year in HMS Kent escorted the Queen during a royal tour.
On HMS Iron Duke, he was deployed to the Arabian Gulf and in 2011 to Libya as part of Operation Ellamy.
Assuming command of HMS Bulwark, the Fleet Flag Ship, in January 2015 and leading the UK’s contribution to the Gallipoli centenary commemorations in the same year are other highlights of his successful career.
He is a married father of three sons and was awarded an OBE in 2016. In his spare time he enjoys skiing, sailing and shooting.
‘During her time out of the water, 284 hull valves were changed, both rudder blades were removed and cleaned, her sea inlet pipes were inspected, all sacrificial anodes were replaced, and a renewed coat of anti-foul paint was applied to the ship’s bottom.
‘The huge port and starboard anchors and cables were also laid out along the length of dock to allow them to be inspected.
‘The docking period was a mandatory requirement and its successful completion means HMS Queen Elizabeth should not need to dock down again for another six years.’
Commander Mark Hamilton, head of marine engineering onboard, said: ‘It’s the first time that such a short docking period has taken place with a Royal Navy ship of this size.
‘It’s real testament to the great working relationship forged between the MoD and industry to make this such a success.
‘We’ll now carry the concept forwards to future docking periods, as well as to those of our sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.’
After sailing into the Firth of Forth, the carrier will conduct a period sea trials and training before a planned deployment to the east coast of the United States later in the year.
Captain Stephen Moorhouse OBE (pictured above) will take over the command of HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is worth £3billion
HMS Queen Elizabeth (pictured) is one of the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy and capable of carrying up to 60 aircraft and 700 crew