Monday, March 07, 2005


Veteran destroyer could return to the UK


Navy News
March 03, 2005

Images Crown Copyright - courtesy BAe Systems plc. Whimbrel on the Clyde.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West called in on one of the few surviving ships from the Senior Service’s sternest test – the Battle of the Atlantic.

But this ship has been out of sight for British ship-spotters for some time, as HMS Whimbrel was sold to the Egyptians in 1949.

Whimbrel – now ENS Tariq – retains many of the features which helped her and the rest of the Black Swan class of sloops defeat the German U-boats in one of the crucial campaigns of World War II.

And now, six decades on, plans are in hand to return the 62-year-old warship to the UK as a permanent memorial.

Admiral West toured ship at the Egyptian fleet’s Mediterranean base in Alexandria – where Tariq remains an impressive sight, barely changed from her late wartime appearance – during a visit to the country to foster ties between the two navies and improve co-operation at sea.

Whimbrel was most recently used by the Egyptians as an accommodation vessel, until she was deleted from their fleet in 2002.

The intention is to return her to Liverpool, from where the Battle of the Atlantic was directed, as a museum ship in time for the city taking on the mantle as European Capital of Culture in 2008.Just as HMS Belfast symbolises the era of the ‘big gun’, Whimbrel epitomises the escort ships featured in films such as The Cruel Sea.

She served in the Atlantic, Arctic, at Normandy and the Far East, and was present at Tokyo Bay in 1945 when the Japanese officially surrendered.

She comes from a distinguished class; HMS Starling destroyed 16 U-boats during the war, while HMS Amethyst famously escaped battered and bruised from communist Chinese forces in 1949 in the ‘Yangtze Incident’.

Around £2m will be needed to bring Whimbrel home and turn her into a museum ship – and £300,000 has been collected to date.Details of the scheme are available from Conrad Waters at Two Beeches, Tilford Road, Hindhead, Surrey.

Know more about the project here.

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