The television star, who visited Northern Ireland recently for his Dig WWII series, spoke out after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the 98-year-old Battle of Jutland survivor could be scrapped if the Department of Enterprise (DETI) does not step in.
On Twitter he wrote: “What?! HMS Caroline, last veteran of Jutland (where she was straddled), is to be scrapped. Not bound for @pompeydockyard?”.
Coast presenter and archaeologist Neil Oliver also posted: “HMS Caroline, last surviving ship from the Battle of Jutland (moored in Belfast) is to be scrapped in August,” he said.
Meanwhile, a former Royal Navy seaman who worked aboard HMS Caroline has said it is a “shame” to see the ship rotting away in Belfast Harbour.
Peter Cochrane was a Petty Officer on the light-cruiser between 1985 and 2008, but is “embarrassed” by its current condition and has called for the DETI to stump up cash to help save it.
“We used to spend days trying to get the boat shipshape,” Mr Cochrane, who runs the group Caroline’s Comrades, said.
“I am actually gutted to see her now. It is a bit of an embarrassment really.
“The resources have not been there to maintain her properly.
“It is a real shame that we have such an important ship on our back doorstep and we are letting it rot away. I would like to see it given the recognition and treatment it deserves.”
Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph revealed how campaigners are battling to save HMS Caroline from being scrapped and turned into razor blades or being transferred to Portsmouth.
A deadline of August 1 has been earmarked for a decision on HMS Caroline’s future. Options include restoring and retaining it in Belfast; scrapping the ship or transferring it to the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth.
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