H.M.S. Plymouth was the last of the Type 12 'Rothesay' class anti-submarine frigates
in service with the Royal navy. Launched in July 1959 she was finally decommissioned
on 28th April 1988. She played a major part in the Falklands War and was one of the
few ships to be involved in every action of the campaign.
In June 1988, the Ministry of Defence loaned her to the Warship Preservation Trust,
and she was opened to the public that summer in Plymouth. At the end of the 1989
season it looked as though she was heading for a watery grave as a missile target,
unless £205,000 could be raised to save her. Following a fund raising campaign,
aided by a great response from the British public, the Trust finally managed to
purchase her, and in June 1990 she was towed to Glasgow to be placed on
display on the River Clyde as a high profile feature of the Glasgow 1990 celebrations.
Following Glasgow 1990, a number of port and local authorities approached the Trust
to relocate Plymouth to their waterfront. It was eventually decided to take up the offer
of the Wirral Borough Council and move to Birkenhead. After the winter of 1991/92
spent at Cammell Laird shipyard where she undertook essential maintenance, the ship
moved to East Float Dock at Birkenhead and was opened to the public in May 1992.
Other vessels under the 'command' of the Warship Preservation Trust, include another
Falklands veteran, HMS/M ONYX, the former mersey light vessel Planet, LCT 7074
(Landfall), a WWII German U-boat (U534) and more recently, the former command of
H.R.H. The Price of Wales, the minesweeper H.M.S. Bronington.
The Trust went into voluntary liquidation and the ships were closed to visitors on the 5th
February 2006. On the 2ndJune 2006, it was reported that HM S/M Onyx had been
sold to Cumbrian businessman Joe Mullen. New owner Mr Mullen said: "I propose
to establish the Submarine Heritage Centre within a hotel complex I am developing
and HMS Onyx will be the icing on the cake."
HMS Plymouth is currently berthed in Vittoria Dock, Birkenhead where she awaits her fate