TV historian Dan Snow joins campaign for HMS President to be moved to Tower Hamlets
PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:07 14 June 2018
PA/Press Association Images
TV historian Dan Snow has joined Michael Heseltine in the fight to save one of Britain’s last remaining First World War ships from the scrapheap and have towed it back to London.
Campaigners have called for HMS President to be moved to east London and turned into an event space or floating school on the river in Tower Hamlets.
The 100-year-old submarine hunter survived the Atlantic campaign during the Great War and the destruction of the Blitz but now faces being scrapped after she was moved from her mooring in Blackfriars to Chatham, Kent, to make way for the Thames “super-sewer”.
But plans to move the UK’s last Q-Ship to a mooring opposite HMS Belfast near London Bridge in time for this year’s centenary commemoration of the end of the First World War have fallen through, and campaigners fear they are running out of time before the saltwater in Chatham docks rots the hull.
Mr Snow said: “HMS President is the last of her kind. I am astonished that a resolution has not been found to protect this important piece of naval heritage.
“It is sadly poignant that in the year that we mark the centenary of the end of the Great War we may also say goodbye to this great ship. I can only hope a solution is found urgently.”
Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine added: “The HMS President is an important part of British history. We should do everything we can to save her from the scrapheap.”
Paul Williams, of the HMS President 1918 Preservation Trust, said “I am heartbroken that 100 years on from her launch, having dodged U-Boat torpedoes and Luftwaffe bombs, she could be holed below the waterline.
“We will have no choice but to proceed with the scrapping process, unless further lifeline funding or a new home is found. I urge anyone who takes pride in our naval history to come forward to offer any assistance they can.
“We really are about to lose a piece of history.”
Visit hmspresident.com for more details and to offer help.