Moored at the rebuilt, and renamed, Northumbrian Quay - November 2007
Built at Swan Hunter, shipyard, Wallsend, she was commissioned at sea on 20th June 1982, and headed directly to the Falkland Islands to relieve HMS Invincible. She has participated in most major UK and NATO campaigns over the last years; including the First Gulf War, the Sierra Leone Evacuations and the war in Afghanistan in 2001. In October 2002, HMS Illustrious undertook a 104 week refit at a total cost of 118 million pounds. Illustrious was meant to stay in service until 2014, when she was expected to be replaced by the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. However she was decommissioned in 2014 despite her replacement not being completed. Attempts were explored to keep her as a floating museum, but this was not possible and in 2016 it was decided to sell her for scrap.
HMS Illustrious - at North Shields 2007
HMS Illustrious - with Harriers and grandsons at Northumbrian Quay 2007