So, I’m sat there in my Mother’s new kitchen / dining / wildlife gawping area at her new house in Trawden – yes, of course it’s walking distance from my sister’s house – when I received an email from Deborah down at Butler Sheetmetal Towers that a guy from the BBC had been in touch wanting a quote about the impending scrapping and dismantling of the HMS Invincible – that’s a journalistic quote rather than for the job itself.

Just a couple of things:

  1. I didn’t know they were scrapping the HMS Invincible.
  2. Even if I had heard about HMS Invincible I’m no ship scrapping expert.

I had no intention of blagging this just for a mention on the Beeb. After all, the last time I spoke with them from behind the bar at the Shooters I inadvertently used the word ‘breasticles’.

Yes, quite.

Anyway, I rang the gentleman back from the BBC, and when he returned my call I very quickly and (hopefully) politely let him know that I was the last person he wanted to talk to.

If only we could’ve paired him up with Jasper.

But, as I’m sure you’re better aware than I, the thing was being flogged via some government clearing house site – with the dafter members of the press describing it as an eBay clone. If they mean it was up for auction on something that looked like some kids had rattled it together during lunch for their first school web project in 1999, then yes, it was an eBay clone.

But this is a captured screenshot of the page:
HMS Invincible Screenshot

And the following link takes you to some current auctions in the form of 5x Hercules (with wings and engines) and 3x Type 42 Destroyers (namely HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton and HMS Nottingham). Please note the ‘add to cart’ and ‘wishlist’ buttons – nice touch. Does PayPal need a verified merchant account before it’ll handle more than a million?

The Daily Mail article speculated more than £2 million as a scrap price for the 10,000 tonnes of mild steel it contained.

But, even £5 million and the chance of a retirement in China as an international school was finally beaten by an undisclosed offer by Leyal Ship Recycling who intend to tow it to Izmir in Turkey at the end of March prior to an eight month dismantling.

Which is almost as long as it takes me to deconstruct a blog post these days.

So, in the spirit of the original question posed by the chap at the BBC – what’s your take on this? Are you pleased Britain is flogging these bits of military history off for scrap to the highest bidder or should they have been turned into museums? Or something else?