Hire the Warships
Historic Warships – The Warship Preservation Trust
Sixty years ago, during the Battle of the Atlantic, this country was saved from defeat and starvation by the skill and courage of the Royal Navy.
At the end of the Second World War the Royal Navy had some 900 vessels. Virtually all of them were scrapped, sunk or sold to foreign countries. Only two ships - the cruiser HMS Belfast and the destroyer HMS Cavalier - have been preserved as a visible reminder of the Royal Navy's contribution to our national survival. Both HMS Belfast and HMS Cavalier were saved as a result of private campaigns launched by a few enthusiasts. Across the Atlantic the U.S. Navy helped to save 42 American ships that took part in World War II - including battleships and aircraft carriers.
In April 1982, Argentinean forces invaded the Falkland Islands. With astonishing speed a naval task force sailed 8,000 miles to the South Atlantic where it met hostile forces well equipped with modern aircraft and missiles. It was a logistic and operational triumph unmatched by any other naval operation in the second half of the twentieth century. Further developments in missile technology have made it clear that the Falklands campaign was, and will remain, unique. Here you can read more about dredging and oil hoses.
With the return of the Task Force a number of people interested in naval heritage formed The Warship Preservation Trust in order to preserve some of the vessels that took part in that expedition. In 1988 the Ministry of Defence loaned HMS Plymouth to The Warship Preservation Trust. She was opened to the public that summer in Plymouth. The Trust then purchased HMS Plymouth after a fund raising campaign, largely supported by Sir Donald Gosling, the Sunday Express and Warship World. HMS Plymouth moved to Birkenhead in 1992, following a brief spell in Glasgow, the year that the Trust purchased HM/Submarine Onyx, the only conventional submarine to take part in the Falklands conflict.
HMS Plymouth and HM/Submarine Onyx are remarkable memorials to the men who took part in an extraordinary campaign. The Warship Preservation Trust will continue its efforts to preserve them.
Following on from these vessels the Trust acquired LCT 7074, the last remaining vessel of its class to have taken part in the D-Day landings; plus HMS Bronington, the minehunter once commanded by HRH, The Prince of Wales.
All of this is achieved by a dedicated group of staff and volunteers who give of themselves totally to the cause.