Bristol is back - minus her mast

HMS Bristol arrives home after a �4 million pound refit on Tyneside.''PICTURE: Michael Powell
HMS Bristol arrives home after a �4 million pound refit on Tyneside.''PICTURE: Michael Powell

Bells ring out in tribute

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She’s missing her mast - but HMS Bristol is back in Portsmouth.

The last commissioned warship to see action in the Falklands War was towed in to Portsmouth Harbour this afternoon following a £4million refit.

Bristol, which was launched 42 years ago, now boasts comfier living quarters and meets health and safety standards for her use as a naval training ship for sea cadets and trainee sailors.

The Royal Navy said her mast was removed in the refit because it was no longer needed and posed a safety risk.

Falklands veterans gathered to see the Type 82 destroyer as she passed the Round Tower.

Peter ‘Bungy’ Featherstone-Williams, 52, from Havant, who is the chairman of HMS Bristol Association, said: ‘It’s great to see her back. She’s looking a bit odd without her mast but it’s good to see she’s still going strong.

‘To know my old ship is the last surviving commissioned warship from the Falklands is great.’

Bristol was moved from her Whale Island moorings for the first time in 17 years when she left for the six-month refit in Tyneside last October.

There were grumbles at the time that the refit wasn’t being done in Portsmouth. But the Ministry of Defence claimed it did not receive any bids from local firms to carry out the work.

The upgrade has seen the ship fully re-painted and new heating and air conditioning units fitted throughout the vessel.

She also boasts a new 60-seater lecture theatre, new toilets and CCTV cameras which have been installed for security reasons.

Bristol will be available for training use again on May 9.