15 October 2015

Navy shouldn't be so hasty in scrapping its warships

I FIND the letters and articles by Michael Burt very interesting and informative. In his letter of September 30 he questions the premature scrapping of so many of the Royal Navy ships so soon after decommissioning, and I am sure many people echo his views on the severe reduction of the Royal Navy.

Some of these ships have a lot of useful life left in them, all be it in a reduced combat role, but would be expensive to keep on the trot in maintenance and manpower. Even so we would still have them to upgrade if an emergency arose.

I have an undated picture of an unnamed cruiser leaving Plymouth Sound. It has an air defence radar which dates it to late 1950s or 1960s. Using Janes Fighting Ships and the internet I believe it to be HNLMS De Ruyter, pennant number C801, but I cannot confirm it. The keel of this ship was laid down in 1939 at Schiedam near Rotterdam, but due to the German occupation was not launched until 1944, finally being put into commission by the Dutch Navy in 1953 with Home Port at Dan Helder. In 1973 after a period of modernisation she was sold to Peru and renamed Admirante Grau. This ship is still in commission with the Peruvian Navy, the last gun cruiser in any navy in the world, although useless in conflict due to being so obsolete.

The point I make is that ships can have an extended life and this Cruiser proves it. I think she deserves to be preserved somewhere when finally decommissioned. I hope readers find this of interest.

Source: Plymouth herald. 12 October 2015

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