HMS Bronington partially submerged and listing at her berth 27072022 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
HMS Bronington is partially submerged in a dock basin on Merseyside having sunk at her moorings six years ago (Picture: Royal Navy).
Navy

Campaign launched to save 'Prince Charles' warship'

The Prince of Wales said it was "truly humbling to learn of the efforts" volunteers are going to, to recover this historical naval vessel.

HMS Bronington partially submerged and listing at her berth 27072022 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
HMS Bronington is partially submerged in a dock basin on Merseyside having sunk at her moorings six years ago (Picture: Royal Navy).

Fundraising has now begun to try and raise a partially-sunk veteran minesweeper after a survey found that she could be saved.

HMS Bronington once skippered by Prince Charles during his final year in the Royal Navy in 1976 sunk at her moorings on Merseyside in 2016, but could yet become a museum.

A recent dive survey carried out by marine specialists has found that despite appearances, with some minor remedial work on the hull to make her watertight again, the minesweeper is in a satisfactory condition to be refloated.

The voluntary preservation trust formed to save the ship is hoping to raise £100,000 – not just to refloat and stabilise the veteran minesweeper, but also to transport her safely to a shipyard so the act of restoration can begin.

Ideally, the trust wants to see her as a working ship again, but if that proves much of a challenge, the volunteers have made it known they would be happy with turning the minesweeper into a museum ship.

Bronington is one of around 120 wooden-hulled Ton-class minesweepers built in the 1950s, serving for nearly 35 years until she was paid off in 1988.

The historic vessel is partially submerged in a dock basin on Merseyside having sunk at her moorings six years ago.

A dive survey said HMS Bronington can be saved 27072022 CREDIT Royal Navy
A dive survey said with some minor remedial work on the hull to make her watertight again, HMS Bronington is in a satisfactory condition to be refloated (Picture: Royal Navy).

Mike McBride of the Bronington Preservation Trust said there had been widespread interest in efforts to save and restore the ship, notably support from the Prince of Wales – Bronington's Commanding Officer for ten months in 1976.

HRH told the trust's volunteers he found it "truly humbling to learn of the efforts you are going to in order to recover this historical naval vessel".

The goal is to receive charitable status which will allow it to apply for grants and other funding, while simultaneously raising money for the salvage operation. So far their gofundme page has raised more than £9,000.

Shipbuilding company Cammell Laird has agreed to take Bronington into their dry dock for restoration under their apprenticeship scheme in stages if the funding can be found.

If the project should be abandoned, any money donated will go to Forces charities.