Aircraft carrier and Falklands War veteran HMS Invincible left Portsmouth Harbour today on her final voyage to Turkey

Crowds watched this morning as the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible was towed out of Portsmouth Harbour on her way to a ship breaking yard in Turkey.

The sun shone for her final departure, in marked contrast to the heavy rain that greeted her maiden arrival in Portsmouth 32 years ago.

Invincible played a pivotal role in the Falklands War when her Sea Harrier aircraft, together with those operating from the aircraft carrier Hermes, bore the brunt of the task force’s defence against Argentine aircraft in the South Atlantic. Both ships were considered top priority targets and had either been sunk the recapture of the islands would have been virtually impossible.

She was finally retired by the Royal Navy in September 2010 after spending the previous five years in reserve.

Invincible will end her days at Aliaga, near Izmir, where it will take around eight months to reduce her from a once proud ship to 17,000 tonnes of components and scrap metal.