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HMS Bronington to be scrapped

by Chris Johnson. Published Wed 04 Apr 2012 12:19

HMS Bronington - the minesweeper that Prince Charles once commanded - is set to be scrapped, it has been revealed.

The wooden-hulled Royal Navy warship languishes in a dock on Merseyside after the preservation trust that once owned it went into liquidation, in 2006.

Ownership of the 360-ton historic vessel eventually passed to Peel Ports plc when it bought the Mersey Dock Company.

Bronington - which is known to hold a special place in Charles' heart - has a hull that is constructed of mahogany and although she is still afloat, she is said to be in serious decline.

Without urgent and extensive repairs she will deteriorate further and with no sign of funding. a "minor miracle" is all that can prevent her from being broken-up, according to experts.

Prince Charles began his Royal Navy career at Dartmouth and it culminated in the 10-month command of the 360-ton HMS Bronnington in 1976.

Martin Heighton, Director of National Historic Ships UK said: "HMS Bronington has real historic importance, not least because she was once under the command of the Prince of Wales.

"But unless someone comes forward with a viable rescue plan, I'm afraid she cannot be saved.

"She is a fascinating boat and we have been trying to find owners for her since 2006, sadly without success.

"Reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that nothing practical can be done to save her and it now seems certain that Peel Ports will have no alternative but to send her to be scrapped.

"She could be repaired but the bill would run into many millions, and at the end of the day it could be argued that so much would need to be replaced that she would no longer be the original vessel."

Falklands veteran, the destroyer HMS Plymouth, is also set to be scrapped along with HMS Bronington. The two vessels are berthed side-by-side in the Vittoria Dock in Birkenhead.

A Peel Ports spokesman said: "We inherited both the HMS Bronington and the HMS Plymouth by default when the Warship Preservation Trust, which had berthed them at Birkenhead, went into liquidation.

"Bronington is in very poor condition, and is effectively being kept afloat by various active measures.

"We are absorbing all costs, including the labour costs involved in our staff regularly having to pump water from the ship.

"The fact is the Bronington would sink without our intervention. The hull is wooden and may be beyond repair, and the decks continue to leak badly.

"We are currently seeking a solution to the situation, and are open to all suggestions."


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"Shocked at the terrible state of the internal condition, especially the DG room. Criminal. Shame to let the last of the ton class to die." Gordon Davis. D103613X, Gloucester around 7 months ago

"Spent 3 years and was LMEM with PC in command. The lottery fund should help along with Portsmouth dockyard so we don't lose wooden skills." Gordon Davis, Gloucester around 1 year, 8 months ago

"I was the RO on board M1115 when she was part of the 1MCMS (half-leader), based at South Queensferry. She deserves a much better retirement." A E Smith, Tasmania around 2 years, 4 months ago

"Terribly sad. My late father, Norman Gostelow, commanded her when she was HMS Humber." Tim Gostelow, Hull around 2 years, 6 months ago

"nav's yeo mid 60's.still share a pint and memories with Dhoby Lines, Diver, HRH if you are listening..HELP PLEASE " peter may (Daisy), kent around 2 years, 6 months ago

"You could say this ship belongs to Hull(HMS Humber) Therefore I would like to know what the cost would be to purchase and bring her to Hull." Robert T Reeves, Hull around 2 years, 8 months ago

"served on her 80 to 82 - still in my memories ...." Whiskey Walker, Cheltenham around 2 years, 10 months ago

"I also served alongside Prince Charles on Bronington,great ship & crew..many memories what a waste when she served so many! God Bless Her." Mick Sinker, Devon around 3 years ago

"served on her in the sixties 1st commision after her conversion to minehunter.she's Prince Charles old command cant the uk lottory help out" keith burdett, poole around 3 years, 1 month ago

"Spent two years of my life on this boat, great memories,such a shame to see the state of her now. Paul Cavanagh ex LMEM RN" Paul Cavanagh, Bournemouth around 3 years, 2 months ago

"A unique ship which should be saved. My Father and Grandfather built her at Beverley." Andy Powrie, London around 3 years, 3 months ago

"Awful news re. Bronington and LCT 7074. Contact Prince Charles for help? He skippered her and is loaded with British taxpayers cash" Jud Evans, Liverpool around 3 years, 3 months ago

"This is a disgrace,that HMS Bronington is being scrapped. I served in the Royal Navy Reserve in the 1970`s.I visited Bronington." Martin F Brown, Jarrow,South Tyneside around 3 years, 3 months ago

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