How to Build an Aircraft Carrier

How to Build an Aircraft Carrier

The incredible story behind HMS Queen Elizabeth, the 60,000 ton star of BBC2’s THE WARSHIP


Discover the enthralling story of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy's largest ever aircraft carrier and SUBJECT OF THE MAJOR NEW BBC DOCUMENTARY SERIES THE WARSHIP

'Fascinating, often funny and sometimes moving . . . Terrill takes us deep into the bowels of Britain's biggest warship . . . Exhilarating' THE TIMES

65,000 tons. 280 metres long. A flight deck the size of sixty tennis courts. A giant piece of Sovereign British territory that's home to up to 50 Aircraft. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the biggest ship in the Royal Navy's history and one of the most ambitious and exacting engineering projects ever undertaken in the UK.

But it's her ship's company of 700, alongside an air group of 900 air and ground crew that are Big Lizzie's beating heart. And How to Build an Aircraft Carrier tells their story.

From before the first steel of her hull was cut, Chris Terrill has enjoyed unprecedented access to Queen Elizabeth and the men and women who have brought her to life. From Jerry Kyd, the ship's inspirational Captain to Lt Cdr Nathan Grey, the first pilot to land Britain's new stealth jet fighter on her deck, Terrill has won the trust and confidence of the ship's people.

How to Build an Aircraft Carrier
tells the story of Britain at its best: innovative, confident, outward-looking and world beating.


'A detailed account of the challenges, trials and triumphs on the ship's progression . . . and a portrait of the men and women who made it happen. [Terrill] writes with affection, humour and understanding' TELEGRAPH


  • Terrill takes us deep into the bowels of Britain's biggest warship . . . Exhilarating
    The Times

About the author

Chris Terrill

Chris Terrill is one of the UK's leading adventure documentary makers. In 2007 he participated in and passed the rigorous 32 week training undertaken by Royal Marine Commandos prior before deploying with them to Afghanistan (Commando on the Front Line - ITV). Becoming the first civilian and oldest person to win the coveted green beret, he documented his experience in the film The 55 Year Old Commando (ITV) and book Commando. His other previous books: HMS Brilliant and Shipmates are also documentary tie-ins about the physical and emotional demands of being a member of the Royal Navy at sea and on active service. In 2015 Terrill became a Fellow of The Maritime Foundation and presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 he was conferred Doctor of Science by the University of Durham for 'pioneering work in anthropology and filmmaking' Throughout 2016 - 2018, he was embedded in the ship's company of HMS Queen Elizabeth to make two major documentary series for the BBC (Britain's Biggest Warship and Britain's Biggest Warship Goes to Sea). In 2021 he deployed with the aircraft carrier once again on her first operational deployment to the South China Seas.
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