After work today I managed to clock off early and dash down to the Round Tower with my camera to catch HMS Liverpool ‘leaving’ the Dockyard.
Liverpool is a Batch 2 Type 42 Destroyer, otherwise known as the Sheffield class. 2 of these ships were sunk in the Falklands War, HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry, both Portsmouth ships. The early ships of the class were known for having bad seakeeping, and the third and last batch were given extended bows with a strengthened beam, and as a result have much better stability at sea.
The Type 42’s were designed as air defence ships, and as they have the Sea Dart long range Anti-Air and anti-missile system, along with powerful radars, they were often used as radar pickets, well in advance of the rest of the task force to pick up enemy aircraft and take them out. They are also fitted with a 4.5 inch gun for engaging other ships and bombarding shore targets in support of troops ashore.
They’re getting rather old now, and are gradually being phased out in favour of the brand new Type 45 Destroyers. Unfortunately we’re only going to have 6 of them, so they’re going to be very stretched indeed.
All of the Type 42’s are Portsmouth based, and in their early days my dad – an electrical fitter in the Dockyard – even worked on a couple of them (he assures me that he connected all the cables properly!). You can quite often see them going in and out of the harbour, from the usual viewpoint of the Round Tower.
This time however, the black and buff Navy tugs maneouvred Liverpool out from the dockside, and then back again! A quick call the to Harbour Master confirmed that she was unlikely to come out today, if at all this weekend. She obviously had some sort of fault, as she has just come out of refit and is working up to full readiness once again.
Never mind, I still managed to take a few pics!