Monday, July 8, 2013

The waste of HMS Chrysanthemum

HMS Chrysanthemum

The loss of classic ships from the Thames in London has been sad for me but usually it's because they have gone on to better things. HMS Belfast seems there to stay, as does HMS President unless Cameron &Co interfere, the lovey RRS Discovery, the ship Captain Scott took on his first voyage to Antarctica was there for many years, briefly transferred to St. Katherine's dock where I took the opportunity to go aboard, then she was taken home to Dundee in Scotland where she is well placed and open to the public, admitably away from the greater draw of interest the Cutty Sark would have been taking away. The last sea going passenger paddle steamer Waverley is gone too...but back in service, good luck to her! The collection in St.Katherines dock has lost it's dumb (no engine) Lightship also.
But one loss that angered me is HMS Chrysanthemum, an Anchusa class sloop (Navy Sloops are different from sailing sloops) of 1917 vintage. After convoy escort duty the first world war, and her service in the Mediterranean  she was moored on the Thames from 1938 until 1988 and very much part of the river, and so should have been allowed to stay as such. The governor of Malta, General Sir Walter Norris Congreve VC, was buried at sea from her in February 1927 as he requested. She evacuated British people from Barcelona during Spanish civil war in 1938.
She went on to become a Royal Navy Reserve training ship pre-war and basic training base for the Royal Navy proper in the second world war, returned to the RNR after that conflict. In 1988 The RNR acquired a building down river to replace her and HMS President, a similar ship still there, with another HMS President, but a shore establishment (A building classes as a ship...Cutty Sark by the way is a ship classed as a building!).
She was sold to a charity called Inter Action, I don't know anything about them, but it turned out to be  a waste, she was scrapped soon after in 1995. There are just too few ships like this around the world to be scrapped!


  1. While it was serving as a RNR ship, it also, at least once, did duty as a wedding reception venue. My parents had their reception there in June 1963, having brought the guests from Wembley in a double-decker. My mum, who was a Wren, knew the caterring manager at the time.

    1. Thanks for this Peter, it's very interesting.

  2. My Grandfather served on Chrys from 1922 to 1925 as PO Telegraphist. He kept a detailed diary filled with photographs which he took. I still possess this diary. My hope is to make it available for publication one day in the meanwhile it is available for free consultation. Contact me on janek@zen.c.ouk

  3. I have recently come upon an on old book from Malta which has the following inscription written on it;

    "C. Smith L Sea
    H.M.S Chrysanthemum

    Thought it would be interesting to share

    1. Thanks for this. L Sea ? I'm sure that would mean Leading Seaman.