A fascinating documentary made by prominent BBC reporter James Cameron (not to be confused with the director of Titanic and Avatar) covering one of the last cruises by the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (R05) while she sailed the Far East in 1968. A known pacifist and campaigner for nuclear disarmament following his coverage of the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests for the BBC, Cameron takes an almost aggressive approach to interviews in the documentary and I am sure that some of the sailors aboard Eagle were glad to see him and his team go.
As much a psychological assessment of living on a carrier as it is about the machine, Cameron narrates splendidly describing the men and machines in an almost Shakespearean fashion. One of the most fascinating parts of the video takes place around the 25 minute mark when Cameron asks a group of sailors if they feel that all the training is pointless if there is no war. This brings up a rather heated debate about why maintaining a strong military, including carriers, is an important part of defence particularly regarding the cost of operating them which Cameron goes to great lengths to emphasize.This was at the heart of the debate for scrapping the carriers and its interesting to view it without the benefit of hindsight. There is even a reference to the Vietnam War which we are told is taking place just a hundred miles from the ship at the time, well within range of the aircraft.