In the March edition of the Semaphore Circular, S/M Daisley launched an appeal to any RNA Branch or CONA Association seeking anyone who would be able to place a model of HMS Bluebell (a Flower Class Corvette) model on permanent display in their local area. After representations by John Soanes (TCA & RNA Torbay) on behalf of the Marshlands Maritime Museum in Kings Lynn, and Robert Fosterjohn (RNA Petersfield) on behalf of the Petersfield Town Museum, the final resting place for the Bluebell was to be with the Runcorn RNA Branch in Cheshire, at the Runcorn Royal British Legion Museum.
Shipmate Gary Daisley (left) from Rayleigh Branch RNA presenting the Arctic Convoy diorama of the Flower Class Corvette HMS Bluebell to Shipmate Dave Wright (RNA Runcorn & Area 10 Secretary) under the watchful eye of Chris Dovey (RNA National Chairman).
The “permanent loan” exchange took place at the Nautical Club in Birmingham on Saturday 21st March 2015 during the Area 08 AGM. The venue was chosen as the ideal location halfway between Essex and Cheshire, where S/M Brian Goodwin made everyone welcome on behalf of the Nautical Club.
The model itself has taken ‘roughly two years and hundreds of man-hours to complete’ said S/M Gary Daisley, and it is ‘only fitting that she now has a permanent place on display as my tribute to those who served and suffered during the Arctic Convoys’. Launched in April 1940, the real ship served in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Arctic campaigns, escorting several convoys to Russia, and also took part in the invasions of Sicily and France. She was torpedoed and sunk by U-711 in the Kola Inlet in February 1945 while escorting the convoy RA-64 from Murmansk. Only one member of her crew survived.