Last ditch battle to save HMS Plymouth from scrap is on verge of success
A DRAMATIC last-ditch battle may have saved HMS Plymouth from being broken up.
A group set up to preserve the only surviving ship from the Falklands War has reported that it is close to success.
An email seen by The Herald reveals that the HMS Plymouth Action Group has found a berth for the Type 12 anti-submarine frigate – the last of her kind.
The news comes as fascinating pictures were published of the interior of the rusting ship, which is berthed at Vittoria Dock in Birkenhead on the Wirral. The photographs reveal a 1980s time capsule.
BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC 1.0 ECOBOOST FOR ONLY £7685*View details
DRIVE AWAY A BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC FOR ONLY £7685.
1.0 100PS Manual
Electric Windows & Mirrors
Quickclear Heated Windscreen
15" Alloy Wheels
Bluetooth with Ford Sync
*Drive away from only £7685 and then pay nothing for 24 months!
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Earlier this year port operators the Peel Ports announced that they had signed a contract for HMS Plymouth to be broken up. The ship was due to be towed to Turkey to be dismantled later this year.
Now the HMS Plymouth Action Group says it has a berth and will be setting up a Friends of HMS Plymouth Association to raise the money needed to secure her future.
In an email, Captain Richard Tyrrell of the Navy Training Corps, who set up the action group, writes: "An HMS Plymouth Trust has been set up to accept ownership of the vessel once we acquire her, and it looks providing we can achieve certain goals we will acquire her.
"The berth is no longer a problem and we have now secured this."
He refuses to name the port, but goes on:
"It looks as if we will have to find some money to secure the ship, but at the moment we don't know how much.
"We are also starting a Friends of HMS Plymouth Association to encourage the large amount of support we have to join and pay a modest yearly subscription to help fund the ship.
"Details of the above will shortly be out on a new HMS Plymouth website which will shortly be going live."
In a web page devoted to HMS Plymouth, Capt Tyrrell said: "The long-term future for the ship would be as an alongside training ship for naval youth training organisations.
She would also serve as a permanent memorial to those who lost their lives in the Falklands conflict."
Campaigners have spent years battling to secure a future for the ship, which was built in Plymouth in 1959.
When she was first decommissioned in 1988 Lord Owen, the former Devonport MP, and a group of volunteers fought to keep her in Plymouth. For a year she was at berthed at Trinity Pier in Millbay Docks.
She finally ended up in Birkenhead.
In a joint partnership between the Warship Preservation Trust and Wirral Borough Council she was opened to the public in May 1992.
The trust went into voluntary liquidation and the ships were closed to visitors in 2006. HMS Plymouth was closed up and left to deteriorate at Vittoria Dock.
The Herald was unable to get a comment from Peel Ports yesterday.
Last month former shipmates gathered on her flight deck in the bleak surroundings of Vittoria Dock for what they believed was a final farewell.
They remembered her "day of all days" – Sunday April 25, 1982, when she played a vital role in the recapture of the island of South Georgia from the Argentines.
"It was the first serious bombardment against an enemy in decades," said former Gunnery Officer David Sayer.
On June 8, 1982, she was attacked by five Mirage jets, taking four hits by bombs and several cannon shells. Five men were injured in the attack and HMS Plymouth required emergency repairs before rejoining the fleet.
A Plymouth City Council spokesperson said yesterday that the city had expressed an interest in displaying artefacts from HMS Plymouth at the city museum.