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HMS Plymouth faces scrapheap after rescue campaign comes to an end
HMS Plymouth, once the centrepiece of Wirral’s historic warships display, is facing the scrapheap following the withdrawal of a key supporter in the fight to save the old ship.
HMS Plymouth Association announced this week that its involvement in the rescue campaign has finally come to an end.
Association secretary Martin Slater conceded; “We now reluctantly conclude that the end is in sight for our ‘old ship’ and the time has come to be realistic and admit that there is nothing more which can be done to save her.”
The Type 12 frigate – the last of her class – secured a place in history at the end of the Falklands War against Argentina when the armistice was signed in the ship’s ward room.
After the war HMS Plymouth was saved by the Warship Preservation Trust. In the early 1990s, after a spell undergoing essential maintenance at Cammell Laird shipyard, she was moved to Birkenhead’s East Float Dock.
The dock was transformed into the historic warship exhibition under a partnership with Wirral Council. The warship was opened to the public for the first time in May 1992. The Warship Preservation Trust went into voluntary liquidation some years later and the exhibition closed to visitors in 2006.
Mr Slater said: “While the sentiments of HMS Plymouth Trust Ltd and their ambitions for what they wish to achieve for the cadets – possibly our future Navy – are more than honourable, we have to remember that at over 50 years old she has very little relevance to today’ Navy. "She would not afford any great understanding to the cadets of the technology currently in use on board a modern warship.”
He went on: “It would be nice to think that, as a purely sentimental or historic symbol, she could be put to further good use; but at her age it does not make economic sense to lavish millions of pounds on something which would have a very limited lifespan of around 10 years at most.
“Whilst wishing the trust well in its continuing endeavours, it is with regret that we are unable to offer further support in the on-going attempts to save her.
“HMS Plymouth will forever be in the hearts and thoughts of those who served on board and for as long as the association is in being we will raise a glass to her at our annual reunion.”
A service of remembrance for the warship took place at Birkenhead’s Vittoria Dock in May this year. The vessel was launched in 1959 and decommissioned in 1988.