HMS Colchester idea is sunk

A CAMPAIGN to give one of the Royal Navy's two biggest warships the name of Army garrison town Colchester has been sunk.On the recommendation of the Ministry of Defence, the Queen has given royal approval for the naming of the two aircraft carriers, due in service from 2012, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

By Graham Dines

A CAMPAIGN to give one of the Royal Navy's two biggest warships the name of Army garrison town Colchester has been sunk.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of Defence, the Queen has given royal approval for the naming of the two aircraft carriers, due in service from 2012, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The idea to try to give one of the aircraft carriers the name Colchester came from the town's Conservative Parliamentary candidate Kevin Bentley, who believed it would greatly increase the public awareness of Colchester.


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Mr Bentley said Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales were proud, historic names befitting the Navy's traditions.

"However, I will persevere and press Colchester's case for a future destroyer, frigate or minesweeper to carry Colchester's name around the world," he added.

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There has not been a warship Colchester since the 17th century when it was sunk in the North Sea. Scores of cities and towns across the UK have given their names in the past 100 years to Royal Navy vessels – some more than once – including Lowestoft, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Berwick, Liverpool, Sheffield, London, Southampton, Plymouth Rhyl, and Cardiff.

Hundreds of names were submitted to the Warship Names Committee at the MoD. Many were traditional Navy names, but among the more unconventional would have been more at home in a Star Wars movie – HMS Death Star and HMS Galaxy Blaster.

The two 50,000 to 60,000-tonne aircraft carriers – much larger than the three current carriers HM Ships Invincible, Indomitable and Ark Royal – will be continuing a proud naval tradition.

A former HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by the Japanese off Singapore in December 1941 with the loss of 327 men. A former HMS Queen Elizabeth fought at Jutland in the World War I and was severely damaged in the 1939-45 conflict by an Italian commando raid at Alexandria. She survived, was repaired and eventually sold and dismantled in 1948.

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