The campaign to save the 'King's warship' has been given a boost as the trust seeking to restore her has been given charity status.
The HMS Bronington Preservation Trust has now got access to previously unavailable funding to rescue the deteriorating minesweeper from its a basin in Birkenhead, Merseyside, where she has been partially submerged since 2016.
2023 marks the 70th anniversary of her launch and the coronation year of her most famous Commanding Officer – King Charles III.
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The King spent 10 months as HMS Bronington's Commanding Officer as a then-Lieutenant Wales in 1976. He dealt with Second World War ordnance, monitored a Soviet submarine in UK waters, and welcomed most of his family aboard during a visit to London.
Royal duties were also performed regularly during his time in charge; every three days a large blue dispatch bag of letters and documents was delivered to the ship.
A dive survey of the wooden-hulled vessel, enabled by crowdfunding and the efforts of local veterans, has showed that she can be salvaged.
The trust, now a registered charity, is hoping to repeat the success it had in restoring D-Day landing craft LCT7074, which is now at the D-Day Museum in Southsea, Portsmouth.
Salvage equipment has been offered to the trust, whilst a leading UK shipbuilder has offered free services of a naval architect to help with the restoration process.
The aim is to turn HMS Bronington into a museum ship or potentially working vessel again, depending on her state and the cost of restoring her.
King Charles says he has "many fond memories" of his days onboard, keeping in touch with former shipmates and occasionally hosting reunions. He told the trust he finds their efforts to save Bronington "truly humbling".
The charity is moving ahead with their fundraising, with any donations going to forces charities if the restoration efforts fail – https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-restore-hms-bronington.