to bring a World War II aircraft carrier to Plymouth have run into
trouble because the vessel is too big.
Tyneside-built HMS Vengeance, which is currently in Brazil, was
bought by a British businessman with the intention of returning
it to Britain.
It is the last surviving British-built aircraft carrier from the
Second World War. A small Brazilian crew is still keeping her seaworthy,
and equipment on the bridge is intact.
room where pilots would have heard their last briefing before going
into combat more than 50 years ago has changed little. The
ship also still has the lifts for bringing the aircraft up onto
Campaigners had hoped the vessel would be brought to Devonport Naval
Base and turned into an education centre, including a museum, hotel
and conference facilities. But the base says it does not have room.
Brazilian navy says it cannot afford to keep HMS Vengeance
idle in Rio harbour for much longer
Vengeance has spent the last 56 years anchored off Rio de Janeiro.
After her launch in 1944, HMS Vengeance sailed to Asia to become
part of the British Pacific fleet and take part in the invasion
was later on loan to the Australian Royal Navy for the Korean War
before being transferred to become the flagship of the Brazilian
navy under the name the Minas Gerais.
Since being decommissioned by the Brazilians, a small crew has been
keeping her seaworthy.
The news there is not enough room at Devonport - the biggest working
base in Europe - is a blow to the Devon and Cornwall Business Council,
which was leading the campaign.
Tim Jones of the council said: "We are looking for anywhere else
in Plymouth Sound, or a possibility in Torquay has come up. But
it's going to be a struggle.
Vengeance's pilot briefing room
we want to make long-term use of it as a conference centre, then
it needs to be somewhere near a population centre."
in Cornwall has been described as a viable site.
In Torquay, some space could be made available if an MoD barge is
moved. But the vessel's size may cause some problems for the town's
Jones said: "Well, 14,000 tons is quite big, but we are hoping we
can persuade harbour authorities of the added value the ship would
bring, such as harbour fees."
Other bidders for the vessel since it was bought by businessman
Philip Best include the Chinese, the Dutch, plus several scrap breakers.
at Devonport said: "Although the base is supportive for what we
think is a worthwhile cause, we are unable to commit to it because
of other operational commitments."
That is a blow to a Devon man who has led the campaign to save the
Watling, from Sidmouth,
served on Vengeance and wants her to return home as a museum.
Watling wants to bring HMS Vengeance back to Britain and turn
her into a museum
Watling, who is chairman of the HMS Vengeance Association, said:
"She's very unique as the Japanese signed the surrender of Hong
Kong on her, which is very significant.
could be a living memorial to all those who served in the Fleet
Air Arm, not just on the Vengeance."
Former veterans like the first Brazilian captain of the ship, who
fought in World War II alongside Britain, would also like to see
Helios Leonicio Martins said: "She's operating like a new ship.
After 50 years this is the only one. All of them are destroyed.
think the Vengeance deserves to be a sort of example."
time is running out. The Brazilian navy says it cannot afford to
keep her idle in Rio harbour for much longer.
campaigners have been looking to raise hundeds of thousands of pounds
in the bid to bring the Vengeance back to Britain.
But if a new base isn't found soon, this sea-faring war survivor
will end up being turned into scrap.
you want to find out more about the campaign to save HMS
Vengeance, check out the website at: www.fleetairarmarchive.net
OR write to:
Save the Vengeance
C/O East Lea, Main Road, Burton Agnes, Driffield, East Yorkshire
BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites)