HMS Ledsham Gutted By Fire

Retired Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Ledsham has been gutted by a fire.

12 fire engines and 81 firefighters and officers were needed to tackle the blaze on the ship, which has been permanently moored in Deptford, London, since 2007, according to London Fire Brigade.

She was one of 93 Ham-class inshore minesweepers, serving between 1954 and 1971 before being sold and renamed Nipatina.

The class name was chosen because all its ships bore names of villages ending in -ham.

Some went on to serve with the Australian, French, Ghanaian, Libyan, Indian, Malaysian, and Saudi Arabian navies.

HMS Wexham As 'Armoise'
HMS Wexham in French service as 'Armoise'

Since moving to Deptford she had become the centre of artist's cooperative the Minesweeper Collective, housing a printing studio, and becoming a venue for art and music events.

The blaze, meanwhile, also spread to a neighbouring boat moored alongside it.

Members of the public called the Fire Brigade after hearing an explosion, which is thought to have been caused by a propane gas cylinder. 

One man left the boat before the arrival of the Brigade and another man on the neighbouring houseboat was led to safety by firefighters.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

Station Manager Norman Perry, who was at the scene, said:

"Crews worked extremely hard to extinguish the fire and safely remove around 10 other cylinders on the neighbouring boats to prevent the fire spreading further."

"Crews are using an aerial platform and water jets to extinguish the fire and steady progress was made."

Fire crews from Deptford, Greenwich, New Cross, Lewisham, Bethnal Green, East Greenwich, Lee Green, Peckham and Old Kent Road were at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Cover photo courtesy of James Turner.

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