In 1978 HMS Ark Royal undertook her last operational tour, sailing to the United States of America. From 23rd June to the 8th August 1978 the ship was at the Mayport Naval Base in Florida. Whilst there a number of the crew bought themselves commemorative T-Shirts, of which this is one:The screen printed logo on the front has a palm tree, Union Flag and the words ‘HMS Ark Royal, Final Deployment, Mayport, Florida, USA, 1978’:The ship’s newsletter gives some more details about the visit to Mayport:
The main purpose of the visit to the American Naval Base at Mayport was to put the ship through a Contractors Assisted Maintenance Period (CAMP). As we all know, the Marine Engineering Department had experienced many problems whilst we were at sea, and it was hoped to rectify these during the period alongside. The work involved was far more extensive than at first envisaged and the department worked around the clock to get it completed in time…Other departments too were busy doing their own maintenance and repair work and the never ending tasks of cleaning and painting the ship continued daily. By the end of the CAMP the outside appearance of the ship was vastly improved… During the stay at Mayport, the ship worked Tropical Routine and this gave everyone the chance for sport and recreation. From an official sporting view point there was a full and extensive sports programme which was enjoyed by those who took part. The ship produced teams to represent us in many sports against local opposition and we enjoyed a varied amount of success… As well as these events, many of the ship’s company got leave and Disneyland proved a popular choice:I am left wondering how many of these t-shirts from Ark Royal’s last deployment survive, mine is a little worn but in good condition and I suspect it is probably a rare survivor.