Prince Charles is still in touch with his former Royal Navy comrades.
The Prince of Wales is "delighted" to hear there are new efforts underway to salvage HMS Bronington - which sank at its moorings in Birkenhead in 2016 following years of deterioration - because he has "many fond memories" of his time commanding the vessel for 10 months during his final year of service.
He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “I was delighted to learn about the renewed efforts to salvage my old ship from her moorings in Birkenhead. I have many fond memories of my time in HMS Bronington in 1976 and it is a particular pleasure to keep in touch with those who served onboard under my command. I wish the Preservation Trust every success in the endeavour.”
The Bronington's condition had been deteriorating for some time after the charity maintaining it folded, but a new preservation trust has been set up, which hopes to refloat the ship and return it to sailing condition.
Mike McBride, of the HMS Bronington Preservation Trust, said he was “absolutely chuffed” by Charles’s support for the project.
Enough money has been raised from public donations for a commerical dive team to assess the state of the ship, but further action is dependent on their findings.
The survey is expected soon and will be followed up by the Ministry of Defence, who are keen to take the opportunity to conduct a training session with a remote vehicle and an underwater drone. If both investigations find the vessel is salvageable, the trust will then set about raising further funds.
However, if reports come back negative, any remaining donations will be given to Royal Navy charities.
The trust doesn’t yet have charitable status and trustees are reluctant to launch any further fundraising efforts until it is confirmed the minehunter can be saved.
Mike added: "Once we know that she’s worthy of progressing, that’s when things are going to start sliding into place.”