Friday, September 21, 2007

Why raise "U" boat 778?


Derry Journal
By Malcolm Tattersall
September 21, 2007

Having read the article on the City Council's ambitious plan to raise a W/W2 German "U" Boat No 778 from the seabed to display it as a static exhibit in the City I feel I must ask why?

It would seem that this submarine has NO links with the city and didn't even surrender in the city. However, this huge project and its vast cost would make more sense if it where a British submarine that was based in the city attached to the former Naval Base HMS Sea Eagle.

There is no denying that the city was an important command post for British Naval Forces during W/W2 and beyond. But perhaps the council should, before committing itself and vast amounts of public money to this project, consider the following:

• Is this project going to provide long term employment for local people?

• Will it be used as an educational tool by allowing people to see the conditions that these submariners lived in?

• Will people be allowed walk onboard including the inside of the vessel?

• Will this vessel give people who visit it the chance to operate some of its machinery?

• Can this vessel provide exhibition space for Community and Business based projects?

• Will this project help to attract investment within the City from outside Big Businesses?

• Could this project help to raise the profile of the City as an International City of the future?

• Can this project raise the numbers of tourists to the City and thus, increase the tourist industry that exists within it?

I am afraid the answer is a resounding NO!!

So would it not make more financial and economic sense for the council to support a project that not only promotes the Cities Maritime Heritage as a Military Port but can also fulfil ALL of the above? A project that involves the restoration of a vessel that was actually based in the City and that during her time there provided local people with jobs?

There is such a project one that ALL councillors are aware of, a project that the council have already stated they would be prepared to support in principle. It is the project to restore the former landing ship tank, HMS Stalker 3515, locally known by those who remember her as HMS Never Budge or 3515 London Road.

I would therefore, urge the council to 'Fully support' this project to restore this vessel and use a project that can bring a community together as a "Common Ground" project, a project that has more to offer the cities communities and their residents than a "Static" exhibit that nobody will be able to use of even walk round!

Malcolm Tattersall (Chairman)
Maritime Steam Restoration Trust
39 Fairfield
West Yorkshire



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