Angela calls for a new HMS Sheffield
Following her oral question to the Defense Minister in October last year asking for a 4th HMS Sheffield, Angela has today joined with other civic leaders in writing to the Secretary of State asking he use his influence with the Royal Naval ‘Ship Naming Committee’ to ask that one of the 3 remaining type 26 ships be named after the city.
In her letter, Angela, says;
“Given the fine history and the city’s close connections with previous ships, I believe it would be appropriate if one of the remaining 3 remaining vessels of the ‘City Class’ be given the name Sheffield. I know the whole city is united in calling for another Sheffield and I cannot emphasis enough how pleased the city would be to have a 4th Sheffield.”
She also comments on how the first ship gained the nickname the ‘Shiny Sheff’ because of her stainless steel fixtures made in the city, including the ship's bell, made by Hadfield's.
Commenting, further, Angela, said;
The city and the Royal Navy has always enjoyed a close association. With a new class of ships now being named after the principle cities of the UK, it would be an honour for the city to have its name once again associated with a ship of the fleet. This is why I have joined with others in asking the Secretary of State to ask the navy’s ‘Naming Committee’ to consider using the name Sheffield for one these ships.
A ngela Smith full letter to the Secretary of State is below
I write further to follow up on my topical question of 23rd October 2017 to Harriett Baldwin MP, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence, when I asked the following:
`It is 35 years since HMS Sheffield was sunk in the Falklands war, and my constituents believe it is about time that another Royal Navy ship was named after our great city. Will the Secretary of State ensure that the relevant committee gives full consideration to ensuring that we can enjoy 4th HMS Sheffield?’
As I am sure you are aware, the Royal Navy has given the names Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff to the first 3 ships of the new Type 26 City class frigates. I understand in total it is planned to build 6 of these ships, meaning therefore 3 are yet to be named.
Given the importance to the future of the Royal Navy and the defence of the UK of these state of the art vessels I consider it very appropriate these ships are named after the principal cities of the UK and I am delighted the names so far chosen not only represent the three cities of the home countries but also all three are synonymous with the great traditions of the Royal Navy.
Of course one of the proudest names associated the Royal Navy is the name Sheffield, a city I am proud to represent in Parliament. Not only is the city the 3rd largest outside London, it is a city with fine traditions of service with our armed forces, both in respect of men and women giving service and in relation to the city’s place in the supply chain for manufacturing military hardware.
As we know the first HMS Sheffield was a Town-class light cruiser which was commissioned in 1936 and saw action in the Artic, the Mediterranean and Atlantic. She had a hand in protecting British conveys to Russia, helping sink the pocket battleship Scharnhorst. In the Mediterranean she was of course part of Admiral Summerville’s force H, and with HMS Ark Royal took part in Operation White, an attempt to deliver 14 aircraft to the besieged Island of Malta. As part this force she also took part operations in the Atlantic, one of which led to the sinking of the German Battleship Bismarck.
This ship gained the nickname the ‘Shiny Sheff’ because of her stainless steel fixtures made in the city, including the ship's bell, made by Hadfield's of Sheffield and which today hangs in Sheffield Cathedral along with this ship’s battle ensign.
Due to the close connections between the city and the Royal Navy a new ship was commissioned in 1975, the first of a new generation of destroyer. This ship as we know was badly damaged by Argentinian forces on 4 May 1982 during the Falklands War and was scuttled in deep a few days later. As a mark of respect to the 20 men who lost their lives on the vessel a new ship was commissioned as the 3rd “Sheffield” in 1986. This ship served until 2003.
Of course it is not just naval traditions that are important when naming a ship. For a city such as Sheffield, land locked as it is, it is the connections the city and the Royal Navy gain from such an association that are just as important.
For instance Sheffield and wider South Yorkshire has and remains a good recruiting ground for all three armed services. All the previous Sheffield’s have enjoyed a close relationship with the City, with many Sheffielders serving on board the vessels. On a regular basis the crews of all three vessels have participated in Civic Parades and worked with local charities and many institutions in the city. A classic example of this civic role was the granting of the Freedom of the City and the Honorary Freedom of the Cutlers’ Company to previous vessels.
As a city Sheffield is proud that many of its companies have been closely linked to the RN’s supply chain, from providing the tools used to make the wooden ships such as HMS Victory to manufacturing the armour plate for the battleships of the 20th century, to supplying many pieces of equipment on today’s modern sea platforms.
Very importantly, having ships named after the city has also allowed various groups and individuals to be hosted on board, which has helped foster an understanding of the role our armed forces play in defending our country. I can testify to the success of these initiatives, as my husband once spent 5 days on board the 2nd HMS Sheffield to witness the Spithead review in 1977, a treasured memory and one which led him to join the Royal Navy in 1979.
Given this fine history and the city’s close connections with previous ships, I believe it would be appropriate if one of the remaining 3 remaining vessels of the ‘City Class’ be given the name Sheffield. I know the whole city is united in calling for another Sheffield and I cannot emphasis enough how pleased the city would be to have a 4th Sheffield. Already the Cutlers’ Company, the Chamber of Commerce, the two Universities, the AMRC, Sheffield Sea Cadets, and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield amongst other have indicated support for the naming of the one of these vessels after the city.
While I understand the naming of ships is not straightforward, with the Controller of the Navy being ultimately responsible and the `Ships' Names and Badges Committee’ acting in an advisory role, I would appreciate in your capacity of Secretary of State for Defence if you could pass on our ambition to have another ship named after our famous city. I am sure Sheffielders would be honoured to have a 4th HMS Sheffield which could follow in the greatest traditions of the previous vessels and of the Royal Navy. I look forward to hearing from you.