A PERUVIAN naval hero's links with Birkenhead have been recognised with the unveiling of a bust in the town.

Admiral Miguel Grau was commander of the Peruvian navy's fleet in the 1870s and is regarded as the most outstanding naval commander in the country's naval history.

He is celebrated nationally and internationally.

His most famous ship, the ironclad Huascar was built by Laird Brothers of Birkenhead, which is now Cammell Laird, and launched in 1866. It had been ordered by Peru for the war against Spain which at the time sought to reclaim its former American colonies.

Admiral Miguel Grau became a Peruvian hero in a subsequent conflict against Chile, overcoming superior forces.

A bust of Admiral Grau was commissioned by the Peruvian Navy in tribute to the historic naval links between Peru and Birkenhead, and follows the unveiling of a plaque at the shipyard in 2011 highlighting the role Cammell Laird played in building the legendary ironclad ship.

The bust has been donated by the Peruvian Navy and will be permanently installed in Birkenhead Town Hall.

The ceremony, hosted by the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Tony Smith, was attended by many high ranking Peruvian guests.

These included Lord Lieutenant Mark Blundell, High Sheriff of Merseyside David Steer, Ambassador of Peru Juan Carlos Gammara Skeels, Vice Admiral Francisco Giapmpietri representing the Chief commander of the Peruvian Navy and Rear Admiral Ricardo Romero, defence and naval attache of Peru.

Cllr Smith said: "It was a great honour to welcome our Peruvian guests to celebrate Birkenhead's shipbuilding history.

"The bust donated by the Peruvian Navy and will now be proudly displayed in Birkenhead Town Hall.

"It is also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the astonishing history of ship building here, the heritage of Birkenhead and Cammell Laird and the impact it has had on history across the globe."