A Conversation for HMS Warrior
Uncle Ghengis Started conversation Aug 21, 2002
I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting HMS Warrior in Portsmouth recently. (I had been before, but I managed to take more time over the visit on this occasion.)
The story of Warriors survival to modern times surely warrants some discussion too. She was for a brief time an 'unsinkable warship' - or perhaps the closest there has ever been to one. Despite this, she was soon superceded and offered for scrap. But no-one wanted her.
Several times she was offered, but ended up being used as a floating oil-jetty in Pembroke Dock. Only relatively recently did someone realise what a remarkable piece of history she was and resolve to do something about it. And now, she has at last been restored to her former glory. (Despite the fact that the Royal Navy has scrapped every single Battleship built since then, including all the Dreadnoughts, leaving HMS Belfast (which is only a Cruiser) as a reminder of our naval heritage.)
Go and see HMS Warrior - a unique opportunity.
Howard (Uncle Genghis)
Bluebottle Posted Aug 24, 2002
It's true - the Navy's use of our Naval Heritage is terrible. That's why I have such high hopes for the "Save The Vengeance Appeal":
Essentially, the last British Second World War Aircraft Carrier, HMS Vengeance, was sold to the Brazilian Navy in 1956, who now have decided to scrap her. A group of British volunteers want to rescue her and preserve her as a museum in Southampton. It'd be a good scheme - but the main problem is of course the money behind it.
Uncle Ghengis Posted Aug 27, 2002
It would be great to save her.
It's a shame that there are no British battleships though. (But I have been on the USS Iowa - about 15 years ago.)
I also went to the RN Submarine museum in Gosport recently. I was quite impressed - it's not big, but the guide knew his subject - and it was very educational. I'd reccommend a visit.
Bluebottle Posted Aug 27, 2002
I went there once about 10 years ago - and I definately enjoyed it. But the sight of an Aircraft Carrier would be very impressive, wouldn't it?
Uncle Ghengis Posted Aug 28, 2002
It certainly would.
(Nice to have it in Southampton too, for a change.)
Bluebottle Posted Aug 28, 2002
I agree - I lived in Southampton for 4 years, you know.
Researcher 241333 Posted Sep 3, 2003
I think that someone at the Admiralty realized more than twenty years before that there was some historical merit in saving something from the Warrior prior to the first proposal to rescue it from its fate as an oiling jetty in Milford Haven in the late 60's. The figurehead was brought back to Portsmouth from Milford Haven in the mid 1940's for restoration. At this time I was an apprentice in the Dockyard. My instructor, a Mr Alf Newns and I proceded to remove all the rotten wood from the interior by scooping it out with shovels. This was before the advent of polymers and exotic glues, so we replaced the interior with the only means available at that time, a mixture of hide glue and sawdust. The exterior we faired and replaced with solid wood where necessary. Instead of the white paint on the current figurehead we painted the restored figurehead in black and yellow paint. The figurehead was never exhibited, it was immediately locked away in an alcove across from the Admiral Superintendent's house.
However some twenty years later, it was decided to exhibit it in the open air at the Fleet HQ in Northwood, Middlesex for a fund raising exercise, where, after a harsh winter, it fell to pieces. The fact that it was restored using a high content of hide glue means that it would have suffered the same fate following a normal English wet winter.
In your posting, you also mention the "Belfast". My father was an Ordnance Artificer during her building in the Harland & Woolf yard in Belfast, and was aboard when she was damaged in 1939 by a German magnetic mine. He told me that in less dire times she would have been scrapped, but the decision was made to tow her to Plymouh for extensive repairs - but I digress.
Bluebottle Posted Nov 1, 2003
No, feel free to let us know more as I didn't actually know what happened to the original figurehead - or indeed a lot of the rest of the ship's equipment etc.
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