11 October 2011

Furness pair pay visit to scrapped HMS Invincible:

A FORMER shipyard worker who helped build a scrapped aircraft carrier made a pilgrimage to its final resting place.

Paul Askew, a former fitter and turner who worked on HMS Invincible in Barrow, celebrated his 62nd birthday by visiting the scrapyard where the remainder of the ship stands .

Mr Askew’s friend and travelling companion, Maureen Wells, discovered the ship was being dismantled in Aliaga – within driving distance from where they were holidaying in Cesme, Turkey last month.

Mr Askew, of Highfield Road, Barrow, has followed the progress of the ship since it was first launched in 1977.

HMS Invincible, which played a crucial part in victory in the Falklands War in 1982, was decommissioned in 2005, at which point its fate became a hot topic in the maritime world.

A campaign to return it to Barrow, called Bring Invincible Home, was unsuccessful and the ship was eventually sold for scrap to Turkish shipbreakers Leyal Ship Dismantling and Recycling Ltd

A digger helps move some of the parts stripped from the ship HMS Invincible at Aliaga, Turkey

When the holidaying pair found out they were close to Aliaga, Ms Wells set about arranging a visit.

She said: “They welcomed us and we sat and had Turkish tea with the people from Leyal. I understand that a lot of the ships that are scrapped there are used for razor blades, but I think they are using other parts for other things.

“It was quite emotional, seeing how beautiful she was and then seeing the little bit that is left of her. It was quite upsetting because it was such a beautiful ship.

“The place was lined with ships for scrapping.

“They were dismantling her while we were there.”

Mr Askew, who served in the shipyard for more than two decades, took along a picture of the HMS Invincible from 1979 to Leyal staff, who in turn presented him with a commemorative book.

Ms Wells, of Fenman Close, Barrow, said: “The communication was not great because of the language barrier but the staff understood what our visit was all about.

“It was a very memorable day and we want to thank everyone involved who made it happen.

“Paul said it was the best birthday he’d ever had.”

Source: North West Evening Mail. 6 October 2011

No comments: