British Aid En Route to the Philippines

One of the first flights carrying aid from the United Kingdom departed Stansted Airport on Thursday bound for the Philippines.  
british red cross typhoon haiyan
Image Source: The Guardian
The British Airways World Cargo Boeing 747 Freighter departed with Land Rovers, Diggers, Generators, Tents and Emergency Aid from the British Red Cross. The aircraft is loaded with all of the vital supplies needed in order for the British Red Cross to set up a base in the devastated areas and do its job effectively.

According to Charlotte McGlade, Spokeswoman for the British Red Cross, the need on the ground in the Philippines is "huge" following the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan. The aircraft will stop in Frankfurt, Germany en route to the Philippines where it will land in Cebu. 

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the British aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, will be deployed to the Philippines to support the relief operations. It will replace the HMS Daring that was already deployed. The helicopters on board the aircraft carrier will be used to airlift food and water to survivors stranded in remote parts of the affected areas. In addition, the ship is equipped with technology to convert sea water into drinking water.

hms illustrious typhoon haiyan
Image Source: Royal Navy
The British Ministry of Defence estimates that the HMS Illustrious should arrive in the Philippines on November 24 or 25 with 900 crew members and 7 helicopters on board. The HMS Illustrious is Britain's last remaining aircraft carrier and is scheduled to be retired from active service next year. 

The Government's Disasters Emergency Committee reported that its Typhoon Haiyan appeal had raised more than £23 million in just two days. The funds that were solicited from text, phone, and online donations will be used for the delivery of water, food, temporary shelters, and other supplies to the Philippines. 

"What happened in the Philippines is an absolute tragedy. You can see the devastation, the suffering, and it's quite clear that we are going to need long-term help for those people," said David Cameron, British Prime Minister. "As ever, the British people have been very generous with their donations. The British Government has already pledged over £20 million, which makes us one of the most generous donors anywhere in the world. He added that practical action was important as well which is why the HMS Daring was deployed earlier this week. Once the Daring has started its work, it will be replaced by the HMS Illustrious which carries seven times as many helicopters and the key ability to process fresh water. 


  1. HMS Illustrious is not the UK's last remaining aircraft carrier, the assault carrier HMS Ocean is in refit and will replace Illustrious in the helicopter carrier role, there are also two 70,000 ton super carriers under construction, the first of which HMS Queen Elizabeth will be launched in the new year. That point aside, Illustrious will be able to make a significant contribution to the relief effort, not just with her helicopters and RIBs (small boats), but also the 900 crew members on board including medical personnel, various engineers, Royal Marines and even a chaplain. The assault carrier will also be loaded with equipment and supplies: generators, thermal imaging cameras, rescue equipment, fire fighting equipment, flood lighting, ration packs, bottled water, emergency relief packs, and of course the ship has the ability to turn salt water into drinking water.

  2. If the HMS Illustrious is to be retired next year why not donate it to the Philippines.....with climate change this vessel and of its importance could be active in this area only It can reduce response time to such tragedy and greatly help the Philippine Air Force and Navy in many other security concerns.... plus from a political perspective it will certainly encourage stronger UK ties rather than US, given filipinos are not at all that happy over further US presence with possible bases.

    1. The UK probably would sell the carrier to the Philippines very cheaply, as she will only be scrapped anyway, but the problem is that the Philippine Navy is quite small so they may not be able to crew the ship, and of course they would need a lot of training, carriers are complicated vessels to operate safely. The Philippine Government would also need to spend quite a lot maintaining the ship, and they would have to buy at least half a dozen naval helicopters. The Philippine Navy would probably be better off buying a Bay class landing ship, like the one the UK recently sold to Australia. The Bays are 16,000 tons, have a well dock, a large flight deck & can carry a lot of stores, also they only require a small crew.

    2. Edit. The Philippine Navy is larger than I thought, around 24,000 personnel, so they would not have a problem crewing the ship. However they would need the training, as the PN mainly operates small corvettes and patrol vessels, which is a lot different to a 22,500 ton Commando carrier, with a flight deck full of helos.

    3. any of your replies to my comment can be developed and adapted to future needs....the main point you miss is that the country and to its very strategic position in south east asia would be more conducive to a British alliance.

    4. That is true, however the Philippines is usually seen, for want of a better term, as in the US sphere of influence due to the US/Filipino defence treaty. The UK would not be able to offer as much as the US, and the UK would probably not want to tread on US toes. Just as the UK has defence treaties with countries that it has historical links to like the 5PDA nations, and also Brunei, Belize, Oman & Sierra Leone etc.
      The UK has contributed more to the Haiyan relief effort than any other country apart from the US.
      eg the UK has sent: a destroyer, a Commando carrier with 8 helos, 2 C-17 heavy lift aircraft, a C-130 cargo plane and also chartered civilian flights.
      However even that is dwarfed by what the US military has deployed:
      1 strike carrier (with 20 helos)
      2 cruisers (total 4 helos)
      2 destroyers (total 4 helos)
      1 supply ship (2 helos)
      12 Ospreys
      19 C-130s etc.
      It is unfortunate that Illustrious only had 8 transport helicopters on board, the rest were Apache Gunships for the anti piracy operation off Somalia, and they were flown off to make space for the aid supplies. The ship can carry 20 helos full load, and the new UK supercarriers over 50 aircraft each. But it was lucky Illustrious was on patrol in the Indian Ocean, as it would have taken too long to sail from Europe, that is why no other European navy ships have been sent.

    5. Photos of Illustrious and her crew after she arrived in the Philippines Hope the link works

  3. To RAF Brize Norton. Your station is witness to love, for those going to war and those returning from it. Today it is witness again to the kindness and generosity of the British people, in other words love.

    To the crew of HMS Daring and Illustrious. Britannia rules the waves. And so I raise my glass to a toast, to her Majesty the Queen of England.

    I raise my beer to "The Forces Radio"

    To the Canadian DART team. Merci beaucoup.

    To the crew of the RAAF C130J, thanks mayt.

    Cheers and many thanks.


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