Sea vessels

HMS Bristol: Royal Navy Vessel Decommissioned After 47 Years

HMS Bristol was the Royal Navy's sole Type 82 destroyer, designed originally to defend a class of aircraft carriers that were never built.

The second oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Navy has been retired after 47 years in service.

HMS Bristol lowered its White Ensign for the final time at a decommissioning ceremony in Portsmouth on Wednesday.

Representatives of Navy Command, the HMS Bristol Association, youth organisations and ship's company were all in attendance for the small service on her upper deck.

Major Theo Hogg, of the Royal Marines and grandson of Lady Hogg who launched the ship in 1969, was also in attendance.

HMS Bristol's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander David Price, said: "We knew the day HMS Bristol decommissioned from the Fleet would come, so it is my privilege as her final Commanding Officer to lower the White Ensign for the last time on behalf of the thousands of sailors and cadets for whom this ship has been an invaluable training platform, and also for all those who served on board during her first commission."

The ceremony marked the end of a unique career for the Type 82 destroyer which started in March 1973.

Designed originally to defend a class of aircraft carriers that were never built, HMS Bristol was the sole Type 82 destroyer delivered to the Royal Navy.

The small decommissioning ceremony was held on HMS Bristol's upper deck (Picture: MOD).

She notably saw action in the Falklands during 1982, leading a group of two destroyers, five frigates and one RFA supply ship arriving as reinforcements.

The ship later joined the carrier battle task group to fulfill her role as an air-defence destroyer and then assumed flagship duties.

After nearly two decades at sea, HMS Bristol was re-commissioned and converted into a harbour training ship in 1993 at Whale Island, Portsmouth, where she has stayed ever since.

While there, the ship has provided a training environment for a variety of trainees, including engineers and medical personnel.

Although decommissioned from the fleet, the vessel will remain in Portsmouth harbour until her future is determined.

Her remaining Ship’s Company of about 20 will be redeployed in the New Year.

Cover image: HMS Bristol's decommissioning ceremony (Picture: Royal Navy).