A ROYAL Navy recruit from Cardigan has set sail on HMS Prince of Wales for the very first time.

The 65,000-tonne leviathan is the second of the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and the largest, most capable and powerful surface warship ever built for the Royal Navy.

Explaining his reasons for signing up, Able Rate Evan Williams, a 20-year-old former student at Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi, said: “I wanted to travel the world and meet the people who will be my friends for life.”

He joins the £3.2bn, 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier in an intense period of operational training, which will see the vast warship operating with the new F-35B stealth jet as well as helicopters from the Army and RAF.

Having recently qualified as a naval airman, Evan has joined the navy’s aircraft handlers’ branch.

Evan was one of five sailors who celebrated the completion of their training at the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations at RNAS Culdrose, Helston, last month and immediately travelled to Portsmouth to join HMS Prince of Wales as she prepares for the next few months at sea.

“As soon as I finished my pass out I was sent straight to the Prince of Wales which was due to depart the day after I arrived,” said Evan. “The first 24 hours at sea has been eventful and a big culture shock.

“But I have been getting used to the eight hours on, eight hours off routine and have adapted well.

“The Royal Navy gives me a sense of belonging, I have made many friends and have met many inspirational and nice people during the first year.

“It also takes away that same four walls feeling from a normal civilian life. There is always something unique and different around the corner with this job.”