Former Royal Navy submarine HMS Onyx towed to scrapyard

HMS Onyx has left Barrow-in-Furness and is on her way to the ship breakers at Helensburgh. If nobody could raise the funds to preserve her as a museum ship during the last eight years, then it’s unlikely that anyone is going to step in at the last minute and save her.

Story from the North West Evening Mail follows:

Falklands veteran sub leaves Barrow and embarks on her final voyage
Thursday, 01 May 2014

A SUBMARINE left rusting in docks has been towed away after eight years.

HMS Onyx, an Oberon-class vessel which saw service in the Falklands War, was brought to Barrow in 2006 by businessman Joe Mullen as part of plans to use it as a museum.

Mr Mullen paid £117,000 for the sub after an idea by the Barrow branch of the Submariners Association, led by Terry Spurling, that it could become an interactive centrepiece at a submarine heritage centre.

Yesterday HMS Onyx was towed from Buccleuch Dock, in Barrow.

Mr Spurling said: “It is a hope more than anything that she is saved but at the moment she is going to Helensburgh for scrap.

“I happen to know there are people in Helensburgh trying to do what we tried to do here.

“It would be a tragedy if she was to be scrapped, she’s in such good condition internally and she is one of the Falklands boats.

“She’s one of the last O-boats available for a heritage centre, I do hope she is not scrapped.”

HMS Onyx (S21) was built at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1967. She served throughout the Cold War and saw honourable service during the Falklands War, landing special forces along the coast. Decomissioned in 1991, Onyx was placed on display in Birkenhead by the Warship Preservation Trust. In 2006, the trust went into liquidation and Onyx was sold to Barrow businessman Joe Mullen for £100,000. Funds to preserve Onyx as a museum ship were not forthcoming… and so we reach the end of her story.

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It would be great to save HMS Onyx, but…

1. It would be great to save Onyx, but…
2. You can’t save everything.
3. Nine of the class are preserved as museums (Ocelot, Otus, Ovens, Onslow, Otama, Onondaga, Ojibwa, Riachuelo and O’Brien).
4. If we’re going to try to save something, let’s save something unique and channel our limited resources there.
5. Let it be Dreadnaught. The US Navy has preserved the Nautilus. Let Britain preserve the Dreadnaught.

Falklands War: The Untold Story (1987)