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Posted on Feb 6, 2005 in Stuff We Like

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Armchair General

HMS Leeds Castle is one of two large Patrol Ships in service with the Royal Navy. She’s recently been refitted so she can provide more years of service.

Ship.

HMS Bristol, D23, was intended to be the first of an entire Class of large Destroyers designed to perform escort duties for Aircraft Carrier-led Task Forces. Unfortunately, due to Defence cuts in the 1970’s, she was the only ship of her type ever to be built. Subsequently decommissioned, she was destined for the scrap yard but now resides permanently in the harbour where she acts as an accommodation and training ship for Royal Naval Cadets.

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Ship.

Secure within her dry-dock, HMS Intrepid awaits sale along with her sister ship HMS Fearless. Designed to act as a floating dock to operate landing assault craft, the type saw service in the Falklands War of 1982.

Ship.

The pride of the Fleet – the Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal (R07) is currently undergoing routine maintenance in another dry-dock facility. HMS Ark Royal once served as the flagship of the Royal Navy. You can see the large "ski-jump" at the bow of the vessel, designed to assist her embarked Harrier VSTOL aircraft to shorten their conventional take-off distance.

Ship.

This ship, marked F222 is an old Royal Navy "Broadsword" Class Frigate. She no longer serves with the Royal Navy, having been sold to Rumania and now renamed Regina Maria.

Ship.

Here’s one of the "Sandown" Class mine-hunting vessels, HMS Bangor, M109. As we passed, it transpired she was engaged in the investigation of something unusual that had been picked up by SONAR on the seabed. Divers were underwater at that very moment in retrieving the object. With the bed of the harbour being so closely mapped, any unusual changes will always be investigated, especially during 2005 with many foreign warships expected to visit. The object eventually turned out to be an old boiler, presumably washed there with the tide.

Ship.

Another shot of HMS Victory as she came fully into view.

Ship.

The Royal Navy operates many "plastic" (fibreglass) ships as minesweepers. Here are two of these elements of the "Tupperware Fleet" (as such vessels are nicknamed) moored alongside the Dockyard.

Ship.

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This article and the accompanying pictures can only ever provide the reader with a flavour of the sights in and around the Dockyard. If you have even only a passing interest in Naval warfare and operations of any era, you simply must pay the Dockyard a visit, I promise that you will not regret it.

To view the complete set of images from my visit, go to the ACG image gallery here.

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Andrew Summersgill

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

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