This post was first published in the Bridport News.
Warships are dangerous things, they are after all meant to be.
Bridport has a long and noble history of involvement with the sea. The Salt house reminds us of the historic trade links with Newfoundland in Canada. Not only did nets made in Bridport go there to be used on the trawlers which fished the Grand Banks, the salt that was needed for preserving them in the days before refrigeration was brought to Bridport, stored in the house and exported.
Very sadly today the Grand Banks are so depleted of fish that even the local Canadian fishermen cannot make a living, let alone those who might sail from the United Kingdom.
One of the many privileged roles I have is to be the chaplain to the flourishing, energetic and fun-filled local branch of the Royal Naval Association. It still contains among its members veterans of the Second World War who served on the great ships of the era, but many of the younger members served more recently including the last independent action of the Royal Navy during the Falklands War.
I vividly remember the news of the loss of HMS Sheffield and in 2012 officiated at a quiet early morning service at the Memorial in South Street with family members as we remembered Mark Shambles who was killed aboard HMS Glamorgan.
One of my daughter’s and grandchildren and I were down at West Bay. She was on the beach playing with the eldest and I was with the baby in his pram on the prom. Into view came one of the new Daring class destroyers.
I was captivated by it. So too, I thought, was my daughter as she was waving and shouting ‘Dad, Dad!’ getting my attention in case I hadn’t seen it. It was only when the jogger brought the pram back from where it had rolled I realised she didn’t fully share my interest in Type 45’s.
To see her steaming toward me, decks cleared for action and battle colours flying was a truly awesome sight. As I said, warships are dangerous things …….