Alex Salmond's father at HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier ceremony

Alex and Robert Salmond Alex Salmond's father Robert served in the Royal Navy during World War Two

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First Minister Alex Salmond will be joined by his WW2 veteran father to see the Queen formally name the Royal Navy's biggest ever ship.

The naming ceremony for the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth is taking place at Rosyth in Fife, where it has been assembled and fitted out.

Mr Salmond's father Robert, 92, was in the Royal Navy during the war.

As a petty officer he served on two aircraft carriers, and was responsible for repairing radios on the planes.

He was on the Fleet Carrier, HMS Indomitable, when she was torpedoed supporting the invasion of Sicily in 1943.

The Duke of Edinburgh was in command of the destroyer HMS Wallace in the same action.

Start Quote

Like many servicemen, my father never spoke too much about the war when I was growing up”

End Quote Alex Salmond Scottish first minister

When the Indomitable sailed for Norfolk, Virginia, for repairs, Mr Salmond senior and his team were transferred to the newly commissioned escort carrier HMS Hunter and he saw further action in the Salerno landings, before being diagnosed with TB and confined to hospital for the remainder of the war.

On his 90th birthday in 2011 Mr Salmond senior climbed the gantry to the controls of the big crane at Rosyth as work began on the new carrier.

The first minister said his father would enjoy seeing the new carrier and would be interested in how it compared to HMS Indomitable.

He said: "Like many servicemen, my father never spoke too much about the war when I was growing up.

"However we all are proud of him as are all families of those who served.

'Football field'

"Typically, he says the worst thing that happened to him was not getting torpedoed on the Indomitable but witnessing the loss of pilots on HMS Hunter when the Seafires came in too fast for the converted merchant ship.

"As far as I can make out the damage to the Indomitable almost certainly saved his life since the remaining crew were given mandatory screening on entry into the United States.

"When they detected TB on board, the Navy back-screened the previous ship's complement including father. He was pulled off a football field playing in a navy match in Belfast when his test came through as positive.

"So if it hadn't been for a Junkers bomber putting a hole in his ship, father would have been dead and I wouldn't have been born."

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