Royal Navy's HMS Bronington: Efforts to save historic 'wooden walls' warship once captained by Prince Charles branded 'very positive'

EFFORTS to save a sinking Royal Navy warship once captained by Prince Charles have been branded ‘very positive’ after a fundraising campaign was launched to rescue the stranded vessel.

By Steve Deeks
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 5:13 pm
HMS Bronington submerged at Mersey Docks
HMS Bronington submerged at Mersey Docks

Supporters have rallied round in a bid to save HMS Bronington, a Cold War-era minesweeper, one of the last naval ships to feature a wooden hull.

Despite her past glories and service to the country in helping maintain peace during the turbulent Cold War, Bronington has suffered the ignominy of coming to rest destitute, decrepit and submerged in Birkenhead Docks, Merseyside.

But efforts to save her have currently seen over £3,000 raised of a £5,000 target by recently formed community group HMS Bronington Preservation Trust. When they hit the target the trust will apply for charitable status - paving the way for more donations.

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For once he was not in command. Lord Mountbatten watches as Prince Charles brings his minehunter HMS Bronington alongside at HMS Vernon, Portsmouth,

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With money coming in the trust has approached Gilgeous Diving and Marine Services for an underwater survey.

The group has held discussions with ABL Group (Salvage and Marine Services) who will deliver HMS Bronington to the nearby Cammell Laird Shipyard pending the outcome of the survey.

There, if successful, Bronington could be set for restoration.

Mike Mcbride, of the trust, said: ‘The underwater survey is of most importance and will determine our direction of travel for saving HMS Bronington.’

Commissioned in 1954, the former Portsmouth ship had a distinguished naval career, which included important missions for the UK and Nato.

Several efforts have been made to save the vessel, which has played an important part in the Royal Navy’s history.

However, none have proved a success, with Bronington still partially sunk and rotting away.

Financial issues saw the ship come into the care of the Birkenhead-based Warship Preservation Trust in 2002.

However, the Warship Preservation Trust entered into voluntary liquidation in 2006 and ownership of HMS Bronington passed into the hands of Peel Ports, who moved the vessel to Gillbrook Basin.

Tragedy finally struck for the vessel in 2016, as it partially sunk in its dock after suffering years of neglect.

A go Fund Me campaign launched at the end of last year, though, has received donations from a large number of people who want to see Bronington saved

Mr McBride said: ‘We are sticking with it and making steady progress with the project. The response from people has been very positive and productive, with good comments on the appeal.

‘We are accruing money nicely in the appeal account, which currently stands at £3,166 after a couple of months.

‘When we reach £5,000 the trust will be applying for charitable status, which will open up more donation opportunities.’

Mr McBride said they had received a ‘good level of publicity’ from various media outlets and were continuing with their push.

The trust has not ruled out an approach to BAE Systems as an alternative to Cammell Laird.

The project has been welcomed by Prince Charles, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and Flick Drummond, the Conservative MP for the Meon Valley.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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