News that one of the Royal Navy’s new warships will be called HMS Sheffield has been greeted with delight within the city.
Business leaders, politicians and cadets within the city were among those who joined The Star in campaigning for a fourth HMS Sheffield.
They were all thrilled when defence minister Stuart Andrew last week confirmed one of the new fleet of eight submarine hunters being built will bear the city’s name.
Former Sheffield lord mayor Councillor Anne Murphy, who led the campaign, said: “It’s absolutely incredible. It’s fantastic news for the city and especially for the HMS Sheffield Association and the survivors and families of those killed when the D80 went down in the Falklands.
“It was a city-wide effort to get a fourth HMS Sheffield, with everyone coming together.
“This will bring employment to the region, with opportunities for local businesses to get involved, and it will continue the legacy and history of the HMS Sheffield.”
Businessman Christopher Jewitt, whose tool manufacturing firm Footprint Sheffield helped kit out the third HMS Sheffield, said: “This is excellent news and a very significant line to have crossed so I would like to thank all those who have supported the campaign either by writing letters of support or quietly lobbying in the corridors of power.
“It has involved many people one way or another and in a number of different ways so it is therefore very gratifying to have reached this point although, as we are all aware, there is still a way to go.
“Clearly the next challenge will be to turn a standard Type 26 into the “Shiny Sheff” which name came as a result of the stainless steel fittings which was throughout the first HMS Sheffield, a Town Class Cruiser similar to HMS Belfast which is decommissioned and moored near Tower Bridge.
Owing to the design and weight constraints of modern ships, the amount of additional kit which can be installed is limited but, as more details of the build programme become available, I am sure that there will be plenty of scope for the City and, importantly, the Sheffield City Region to adopt ‘our ship’ in tangible ways as we have the previous ones.
Sheffield deputy lord mayor, Councillor Tony Downing, said: “This is a very proud moment and a very great honour for the city of Sheffield, which once again shows our commitment to and proud affiliation with the Royal Navy.
“Our city’s world famous for its quality, strength and integrity, and this announcement is also a celebration of the contribution our city makes to the defence of the UK.”
Garry Chambers, commanding officer of Sheffield Sea Cadets, said members were ‘excited’ about the new ship.
“There’s been a close affiliation between the cadets and the HMS Sheffield and they’ve always supported the remembrance service for those killed on the second ship during the Falklands War,” he added.
“They’ve always had an affinity for the history of the Royal Navy, and this is history in the making for them.
“We're going to lobby to get them to see the new ship being built, and hopefully they can be there on the launch day with their flags too.”
The first three of the new Type 26 frigates, with a combined price tag of £3.7 billion, are already under construction and are due to enter service in the mid-2020s.
The remaining five – including the new HMS Sheffield – have yet to be ordered, and the Ministry of Defence says it is not able to give any timescale for when they might be completed.
Between them, the three HMS Sheffields to date have racked up an impressive 13 battle honours.
The first ship, nicknamed The Shiny Sheff, amassed 12 of them during the Second World War, when it was involved in the sinking of the famous German battleship Bismarck.
The second tragically sunk during the Falklands War after being hit by an Argentine missile, killing 20 people on board, and the third served with the Royal Navy from the 1980s to the early noughties, when it was decommissioned and sold to Chile.
The announcement that there will be a fourth HMS Sheffield was made at Chesterfield Special Cylinders, near Meadowhall, which as one of the suppliers for the new fleet is keeping alive the city’s tradition of using its manufacturing prowess to equip the armed forces.