HMS Vanguard 1944-1960

The Ship

Sold for Scrap 9 August 1960

HMS Vanguard, built by John Brown,launched 30/11/1944. Arrived at Faslane for breaking up,9/8/1960.

She was commissioned for trials on 25th April 1946 under the command of Captain W. C. Agnew, C.B., C.V.O., D.S.O. The first few months of the newly commissioned Vanguard were very quiet until it was announced that the ship would be used to take the Royal Family to South Africa in early 1947. As the Vanguard was to be used as a 'Royal Yacht' the voyage required some considerable alterations to the accommodation for the Royal Family and their retinue.

A further quiet period in Plymouth ensued until the summer of 1948 when it was announced that another Royal Tour would be made from January to July 1949 ; this time to Australia and New Zealand. After spending sometime in the Mediterranean, Vanguard returned home to Plymouth to prepare for the journey and shortly after her arrival received the news that in view of the King's health the proposed tour had been cancelled.

In February 1949 Vanguard joined the Mediterranean Fleet and visited a number of ports including:- Algiers, Toulon, Naples, Malta, Tripoli, Venice, Palermo, Famagusta, Port Said, Beirut and Athens. A lengthy period followed during which time Vanguard changed between being the Flagship of the Training Squadron and Flagship of the Home Fleet a number of times. In between times Vanguard performed all manner of duties from 'showing the flag' to escorting various Royalty and Heads of State. Finally in 1951 it was announced that Vanguard would be Flagship of the Home Fleet.

At the end of 1954 Vanguard went into Devonport for a refit and on completion, at the end of 1955, was placed in reserve instead of returning to the Home Fleet as anticipated. In October 1956 Vanguard became flagship of the Reserve Fleet. During her time in the reserve fleet moored in Fareham Creek, scenes for the film " Sink the Bismarck", were filmed on board. Also during this time there was controversy over her future. It came on 9th October, 1959 when it was announced that the Vanguard would be scrapped the following year. Vanguard was sold for scrap for 560,000.

When the day came, 4 August, 1960, for her to be towed from Portsmouth to the breakersyard at Faslane, Scotland, the whole of Southsea sea front was packed with people to see her leave port. However, she did not go quietly. As she was being towed towards the harbour entrance, she slewed across the harbour to the Still & West public house and went aground. She was eventually pulled off by tugs and finally and made her exit from Portsmouth. Five days later she arrived at Faslane and by the spring of 1962 Vanguard ceased to exist.

Sorry, no postcards for this ship.

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