UK: HMS Liverpool Bids Farewell to Namesake City
Veteran destroyer HMS Liverpool is saying an emotional six-day farewell to her namesake city as she prepares to bow out of front-line service after 30 years.
HMS Liverpool will take her bow in the city for which she is named as she pays her final visit to Merseyside after three decades’ sterling service.
The veteran destroyer will berth in Liverpool for the last time on Wednesday, beginning a six-day visit.
A series of high-profile events are planned once the Portsmouth based warship – billed the ‘Royal Navy’s queen of the recent Libyan conflict – arrives at the impressive Cruise Liner Terminal in the heart of the city at around 9.30am.
As well as holding a reception for invited guests during her stay, the ship’s company is also looking forward to hosting some 20 groups, schools/colleges and organisations on board.
A particular honour is bestowed upon them all on Friday when the crew will take to the streets of Liverpool to exercise their Freedom of the City for the last time.
HMS Liverpool was awarded this honour in 1982 and has exercised this ancient tradition on numerous occasions during her close affiliation with this great maritime city.
The parade will step off from Our Lady and St Nicholas’ Church at mid-day, after a celebratory service which will also be attended by the Lord Lieutenant Of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead and the Royal Navy’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Vice Admiral Philip Jones.
The route takes them east on Chapel Street and then east on Tithebarn Street, before turning south on Moorfields and west on Dale Street.
After turning north on to Exchange Street West, the parade will halt for inspections, and a salute will be taken by the Lord Mayor, before the parade falls out for a civic reception at Liverpool Town Hall.
But it is on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4pm that the ship and her crew will have a real opportunity to engage with the public of Merseyside, when she opens her gangway to the public.
HMS Liverpool will make her last journey down the Mersey on the morning of March 5, leaving the terminal at 11am and delivering a gun salute at the Cammell Laird yard, where fittingly she was built, shortly afterwards; she will then sail past the Royal Liver Building to deliver a second gun salute to the city with which she has been so proudly intertwined over the past 30 years.
HMS Liverpool’s Commanding Officer Cdr Colin Williams, said:
“This visit is one of celebration and appreciation of the sterling service which this exceptional ship has offered her country during her three decades at sea.
“To be bringing her back home to Liverpool is, without question, not only the absolute pinnacle of this celebration, but also a very poignant and dignified moment in her long and illustrious life.
“We have always enjoyed absolutely exceptional links with Liverpool. I know that my crew is honoured and excited to show off their ship once more to Merseysiders, who have always shown unparalleled hospitality and enthusiasm for this great ship.
“I am extremely proud to have commanded HMS Liverpool and her crew – there is obviously some sadness in bidding farewell to any ship, but, more than anything, this is a time to honour HMS Liverpool and her achievements, the most recent of which was outstanding and key support to the NATO operations off the coast of Libya.
“I sincerely hope that as many Merseysiders as possible will make the journey to the Cruise Liner Terminal to visit the ship on Saturday and Sunday when we open to the public. It allows us in our own small way to return the hospitality and affection shown over more than three decades before bidding our final fond farewell.”
A formal decommissioning ceremony for the ship will be held in her home base of Portsmouth at the end of March.
Naval Today Staff , February 28, 2012; Image: royalnavy