Derry bid for veteran war ship

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland  - 30th November 2009  - Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye - HMS Caroline set to decommission.  HMS Caroline is a C-class light cruiser of the British Royal Navy (RN). Caroline was launched and commissioned in 1914, making her the second-oldest ship in RN service, after HMS Victory. She acts as a static headquarters and training ship for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), based in Alexandra Dock, Belfast. She is the last remaining British World War I light cruiser in service, and the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland still afloat.  General views of HMS Caroline.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th November 2009 - Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye - HMS Caroline set to decommission. HMS Caroline is a C-class light cruiser of the British Royal Navy (RN). Caroline was launched and commissioned in 1914, making her the second-oldest ship in RN service, after HMS Victory. She acts as a static headquarters and training ship for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), based in Alexandra Dock, Belfast. She is the last remaining British World War I light cruiser in service, and the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland still afloat. General views of HMS Caroline.
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A Derry businessman wants a 100 year-old Royal Navy cruiser moored on the River Foyle.

Tom Bradley, of Derry City Scientific Ltd., has written to Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster suggesting that HMS Caroline could be located at either Fort George or the Peace Bridge.

The ship served during both world wars and is currently docked in Belfast.

Following the vessel’s decommissioning in March last year, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) agreed in principle to gift HMS Caroline to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, has also held discussions about HMS Caroline with Arlene Foster but, to date, all talk has been of retaining the ship in Belfast.

Last month, Mrs Foster stated: “I have been working for some time now to find the best solution for HMS Caroline and have met with various stakeholders who are also keen to have HMS Caroline retained in Belfast.”

However, Tom Bradley has come up with a novel idea suggesting the ship should be relocated to Derry to highlight the north west’s unique naval heritage.

He said: “From Newbuildings to Culmore Point, there is nothing we can put our boots on that marks our impressive maritime heritage. Compare this to the millions spent on Belfast’s maritime heritage which is the proper way and rightly so.

“Being able to put our boots on the boards of the Caroline docked at the Fort George jetty would remedy this - not to mention the millions the city would earn from maritime heritage tourism.”

Mr Bradley is adamant Derry would be the ideal location for the ship. In his letter to the Minister, he says: “Because of the city’s strong but unsung naval history and the massive tourism spin off, may I suggest letting us adopt this recently decommissioned warship on completion of your talks with the navy folk.”