FAREWELL FROM ITS BIRTHPLACERoyal navy destroyer takes leave of the mersey – saluted by the men who built her
A BIRKENHEAD-built warship sailed into the history books with a five-cannon salute from Fort Perch Rock.
Mayor of Wirral Moira McLaughlin gave the signal for the special tribute as HMS Liverpool left the River Mersey for the final time.
Despite being named after the city, HMS Liverpool was built by Wirral engineers at Cammell Laird.
The destroyer returned to its roots for a six-day visit to mark the end of an illustrious career promoting and protecting Britain’s interests around the world.
Many former Lairdsmen were in New Brighton to see the final farewell.
Ex-ships manager Harry McLeish, 90, joked: “HMS Liverpool! We need an HMS Everton!”
Mr McLeish, affectionately described as ‘Mr. Cammell Laird’ by former shipbuilders, worked there for over 40 years. “I feel proud to be a Lairdsman and proud that I helped put the ship together.
“Building HMS Liverpool is something I remember very clearly. I was on board when we were conducting sea trials in the basin on how the ship rolls, and my heart was in my mouth.
“I was working on a submarine at the time as well – the yard was very busy back then. A manager is only as good as his team, and I had the best team in the world.”
Steve Holden, 71, of New Brighton was an electrician and he too had mixed emotions.
He said: “I thought the Liverpool was the best ship that Cammell Laird ever built.
“It’s sad to see it go, watching it go by reminded me of all the fellas that we used to work with who are no longer here.”
After being cheered by well-wishers as she left Liverpool Cruise Terminal, two tugs gently guided HMS Liverpool up river for the five- gun salute to her Cammell Laird birthplace.
Further five-gun salutes were given at the Pier Head again and finally at Fort Perch Rock.
During the weekend more than 6,000 people visited HMS Liverpool while it was berthed in Liverpool.
Mayor of Wirral Moira McLaughlin, who attended a parade by the ship’s crew in Liverpool during the visit, said: “I helped fire some shots to salute and they fired back.
“It’s a sad day in a way, but also a very happy one.”