Mar 31 2012 by John Sutton, Liverpool Echo
HMS Liverpool formally bowed out of service yesterday with an emotional ceremony celebrating her 30-year career.
The Cammell Laird-built ship played a vital role in the ousting of Libyan tyrant Colonel Gaddafi last summer when she became the first ship of the Royal Navy to be fired upon since the Falklands conflict.
The Type-42 Destroyer made her way into Portsmouth harbour earlier this week for the final time ahead of the decommissioning ceremony attended by the crew, members of the admiralty and Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Councillor Frank Prendergast.
The service was conducted by the ship’s chaplain, The Reverend Charles Bruzon, with musical accompaniment by the band of the Royal Marines School of Music.
Following the dockside farewell a ball was held for the company as one final goodbye before they are separated and move to other postings within the Royal Navy.
Hms Liverpool’s Comm anding Officer, Commander Colin Williams, said: “In the 18 months since I assumed command HMS Liverpool and her ship’s company have achieved some of the highest accolades a Royal Navy warship could hope for.Š
“We have grown and faced challenges together from operations off Libya to exercises in Norway, including sea training, high seas firings and escorting a Russian task group.Š
“We have achieved a great deal in a short time and continued the long-standing, hard working tradition of the Type 42 destroyer.Š”
HMS Liverpool has clocked up more than 921,700 nautical miles in operations across the world and at the start of the month made an emotional last visit to the Liverpool and the River Mersey, where on leaving she fired a salute to the Birkenhead yard where she first came off the slipway.
The Lord Mayor told the ECHO the service was “emotional and moving” with many of the crew and their families visibly upset at parting from the vessel nicknamed the Crazy Red Chick.
He added: “Everything went very well, the crew were immaculately turned out, the ship was sparking and to have had such a close association between the ship and the city is something I’ll always remember and treasure.”