Appeal to safeguard the very
last British, Commonwealth and
South American Second World War Aircraft Carrier
Preservando a História da Naval Aviação Brasileira
PRESS RELEASE: 18 July 2002
TODAY IS D-DAY FOR SAVING BRITAIN'S LAST WW2 AIRCRAFT CARRIER
Opening of bids on the sale of HMS VENGEANCE, the last British WW2 aircraft carrier, once the pride of the Royal Navy will be carried out at 2pm Brazilian time today. HMS Vengeance is about to be scrapped unless she can be rescued and Save the Vengeance appeal has received sufficient commercial backing to submit a bid to the Brazilian Admiralty today. The offer will be hand delivered today on behalf of the Save the Vengeance Appeal by our Rio de Janeiro representative.
Exactly 60 years ago HMS Vengeance was launched to lead the fight against the terrors of the Nazis and Japanese evils in the Pacific. Today, she lies forgotten in South America awaiting her fate and eventual scrapping unless the British Nation can respond to today's deadline of 18 July 2002 to raise initial finance to purchase the ship from the Brazilian Navy. If all goes well the ship will sail back to the UK and be berthed in the Fal Estuary between Falmouth and Truro. Discussions have been made by the Appeal co-ordinators Graham Falkner-Drucker and Martin Hill for the ship to be ultimately berthed in Southampton Water although others offers are now coming in for her to be moored in the North.
HMS VENGEANCE is of unique historic, educational, touristic and commercial value. She was commissioned in the Royal Navy and served in the Mediterranean and Pacific in WW2, she was subsequently loaned to Australia as HMAS Vengeance during the Korean war and finally sold to the Brazilian government where she served in the Brazilian Navy as NAeL MINAS GERAIS during the Cold War. She subsequently remained there until she was finally decommissioned on 16th October 2001 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry, her fate unknown.
Save the Vengeance Appeal spokesman Graham Falkner Drucker stated that "the mission we made to Brazil last month was an important occasion that helped to cement goodwill with the Brazilian Navy and its department selling the ship, EMGEPRON. They confirmed that they would be delighted to offer the ship to us for preservation as a heritage museum. All we have to do now is await today's opening of the formal tender bids. If we are succesful with the bid, we will go into superdrive to ready the ship to return her to the UK in less than 6 months from now. A berth has already been offered by the Port of Truro, and the Harbour Master is very excited to see the ship there. If we fail in the tender bid HMS Vengeance may be lost forever".
The plan is to rescue the ship and bring her back to the UK and turn her into one of the world's largest floating education centre, naval aviation museum, trade exhibition area and tourist attraction. Displays will illustrate the leading role that Britain took in the development of ship borne naval aviation, as well as to provide opportunity for training schemes with local industry, engineering firms and universities, and show her long history with the Royal Navy, Australia and Brazil. In addition to displaying historic naval aircraft on her flight deck, she will have a cinema and theatre, and provide attractive venues for conferences and trade fairs. She will also come alive as the flagship for boat shows and tall ship races as well as provide a unique focus in the UK for airshows, and as a magnet attracting film producers and documentaries.
The Appeal website can be found at http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/vengeance
Here again we appeal for any help from the business community, private sponsorship, or the public. If you wish to contribute to saving the ship or require information please contact:
Save the Vengeance Appeal.
HMS Vengeance in 1946 (Photo courtesy of the HMS Vengeance Veterans association)
NAeL Minas Gerais (ex HMS Vengeance) in late 1990s after
refit (Photo courtesy of HMS Vengeance website)