From: Vice Admiral R G Cooling CB., FCMI.
Dear ILLUSTRIOUS Shipmates and Family Members,
I am delighted that you have found your way to the newly launched Association website and I hope very much that you approve of what you see and take advantage of the online method of joining the Association, you will be most warmly welcomed! Now that our magnificent Ship has been decommissioned and is no longer with us, the Association offers a great way to stay in touch with old shipmates and provides a unique opportunity to relive that sense of camaraderie and being a member of a great team that we all experienced during our time on board. I am happy to admit that I miss my time on Lusty enormously and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the happiest moments of my career at that time. If you share similar feelings then joining the Association would be a great move.
You will know that Admiral Sir Jock Slater was the Ship’s first Captain. He very succinctly summarised our history in the Foreword to our recently published book ‘HMS ILLUSTRIOUS 1982 – 2014’ with these words:
‘ILLUSTRIOUS has had many affiliations since 1982 but none more so than the ILLUSTRIOUS Association which was formed that year with its flourishing National, Northern and Southern Branches. From that moment, the members took the ship to their hearts, enjoying many visits at sea and ashore, countless reunions and particularly the Annual Memorial Service in the City. Inevitably, the number of those who served in the fourth ILLUSTRIOUS is dwindling but happily the new generation is beginning to join and I very much hope that many others will consider membership and the opportunity it gives to look back on the part they have played in the ship’s distinguished history.’
Let me add that alongside our former shipmates we are very keen to welcome associate/family members to the Association, so if you have a family or other direct connection with the Ship then we would really like to hear from you too (for example, I think it would be great to have an application from someone who helped to build the Ship on the Tyne).
Finally it has been my privilege to be President of the Association for the last 9 years, and with my wife Helen, we very rarely miss an opportunity to spend time with our great friends at Association events. I think you would find membership an equally rewarding and uplifting experience.