Bring back HMS Sheffield: 'My pride at role in city's last warship'

A proud grandfather has backed the campaign for a new HMS Sheffield to honour the city's naval heritage.

Monday, 30th October 2017, 13:42 pm
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 21:23 pm
Bob Frith aboard the third HMS Sheffield with his grandson Ben McNally, now aged 18

Bob Frith spent most of his working life as an engineer at the Sheffield manufacturer Frank Cobb & Co, which he said produced cutlery and silverware for the last ship to bear the city's name.

He shared this photo of him and grandson Ben McNally, now aged 18, aboard the third HMS Sheffield during a visit to Plymouth in around 2000.

How the next HMS Sheffield could look if one of the new Royal Navy warships being built is named after the city

The 74-year-old, of Norton Lees, described seeing items he had helped produce gracing the captain's table that day as one of his proudest moments.

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He believes getting a fourth HMS Sheffield would be a huge boon to the city, especially to manufacturing workers past and present who have played such a crucial role in equipping the Royal Navy.

"It was fantastic to step aboard the last HMS Sheffield and see some of the items we had helped make," he said.

"That gave me a lot of pride, and I think getting a new HMS Sheffield would bring a lot of pride to the city because our links to the Navy are really valued here.

How the next HMS Sheffield could look if one of the new Royal Navy warships being built is named after the city

"I definitely think there should definitely be another HMS Sheffield because there's no city where the honour would be more greatly appreciated."

As well as producing tableware for the last HMS Sheffield, which was decommissioned in 2002 before being sold to Chile, Mr Frith believes his former employer was responsible for engraving the bell his young grandson can be seen admiring in the photo.

The Star last week threw its weight behind the campaign for a fourth HMS Sheffield, which is being led by the city's lord mayor, Councillor Anne Murphy.

The Ministry of Defence is getting eight new Type 23 frigates, which will be named after UK cities, to protect its fleet from submarine attacks.

Two have already been named after Glasgow and Belfast, but naming rights for the remaining six are still available and leading figures within Sheffield believe it has a strong case.

The first HMS Sheffield, dubbed the Shiny Sheff, amassed 12 battle honours during the Second World War and helped to sink the German battleships Bismarck and Scharnhorst.

The second sank after being hit during the Falklands War in 1982, with 20 people on board losing their lives.