Monday 13th December 2021

Members of the Trust met at the ship with representatives of Peel Ports and Cammell Laird to discuss the possibilities. It was a very constructive meeting and CL are very interested in the project. So much so, that they are going to put together a feasibility study to see what can be done.

Tuesday 8th February 2022

A meeting was held alongside the ship.

Those present were Martin Slater and Ben Williamson from the Trust, Matt Slater and Peter Edwards from Cammell Laird, John Pope from ABL (AqualisBraemar LOC Group) and Brian Gilgeous of Gilgeous Diving and Marine Services.

Brian Gilgeous will conduct the dive survey with John Pope assisting with pumping out. Once completed, we will know whether we are able to continue with her recovery. Cammell Laird have agreed that they will then take her into their dry-dock for restoration which will be under their apprenticeship scheme. They will provide costing for this which will be undertaken in stages.

The Trust’s primary hope is that Bronington will become a ‘working’ vessel able to conduct RYA courses; diving courses; hire for fishing/diving; navigation; survival courses; Prince’s Trust; hire for filming; sea days for cadets etc. If due to cost and the unavailability of equipment, then it is envisaged that Bronington will become a static display alongside or in a dry dock and open to the public, similar to her successful years as a museum ship on the Manchester Ship Canal.

All this of course will depend on the results of the dive survey. This will cost between £3,000-£5,000 and we are hoping to raise this sum via our GoFundMe page which currently stands at £3,166.

It remains the Trusts intention that should this attempt to save Bronington fail, then all money donated on the GoFundMe page will be further donated to a Royal Navy Charity.

All artefacts and equipment that was removed from Bronington under the stewardship of National Historic Ship UK (NHSUK) for safekeeping during her demise at Birkenhead is being sought by the Trust. If this project is successful, a pledge that all articles held by museums will be returned to Bronington has been requested from NHSUK.

Once we have attained the figure of £5,000, we will be able to apply for charitable status which will enable us to apply for grants, so any donations from your members at this stage will be very gratefully received. We have also been contacted by the Executive Officer of UKNEST (United Kingdom Naval Engineering, Science & Technology) who may be able to help us with funding or providing professional and technical expertise. Also, the Chief Engineer for DE&S (Defence Equipment & Support for the Ministry of Defence) has also contacted us and again may be able to give assistance with the dive survey and recovery.

2nd March 2022

Meeting alongside with members of SALMO (Mark Deans and Iain Gray) for them to have a look at the ship in her current condition. Others in attendance were Peel Ports, Gilgeous Diving and Marine Services, ABL and members of the Trust. A very good meeting at which Mark and Iain said that SALMO were ‘raring to go’ with the survey. An ‘above water’ report was subsequently submitted by them confirming that they would carry out the survey free of charge as part of their training period in June.

8th April 2022

An extraordinarily successful meeting was held alongside, attended by Paul Kirby (Peel Ports), Brian Gilgeous (Gilgeous Diving and Marine Services), John Pope (ABL), Martin Barnes and Mark Phillips (Ambipar Environmental Management and Waste Recovery for the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency (MCA)) and Martin Slater, Alan Jackson and Ben Williamson (HMS Bronington Preservation Trust).

The purpose of the meeting was so that the Ambipar representatives could have a close-up look at the project and see what they could offer the Trust. On conclusion of the meeting they confirmed, that following a successful dive survey, the MCA will provide pumping equipment, fenders and ancillary salvage kit for use in the salvage, which would be provided free of charge. Also, a small team will be provided to operate the equipment during the salvage operation. There is also the possibility of them providing a 350t capacity crane, although this has to be confirmed. Ambipar Response will also provide Cammell Laird assurances for any disposal costs should Bronington fail during the first or second phase of the operation.

These phases are as laid out in Cammell Laird’s Feasibility Study Proposal and are as follows:

1. Vessel salvage and recovery

2. Vessel Delivery to Cammell Laird

3. Vessel Landing or docking at Cammell Laird

4. Stabilisation of the vessel’s condition and removal of toxic/polluting materials

5. Restoration to a defined state

6. Vessel handover to customer

As you will see from this and previous updates, things are coming together very successfully, with many of those involved giving their services free of charge.