Belt-ing gift from the old HMS Vanguard to the new

A lifebuoy from the Royal Navy’s last battleship has been presented to the crew of her modern-day successor.

The belt was saved from HMS Vanguard by Eddie Cantor shortly before the capital ship went to the breaker’s yard in 1960.

He held on to the memento until his recent passing, prompting his widow Jane to look for a fitting home for it.

There could more none more apt than today’s HMS Vanguard, undergoing her second refit in the specialist facility at Devonport.

It’s a great pleasure to bring the memories of Vanguard from the past to the present and it’s that spirit that keeps the name going into the future

Cdr Martin Gill RN

“My husband Eddie was stationed near to HMS Vanguard when she was being prepared for scrapping, and he salvaged the lifebuoy from her in an effort to keep it safe.

“I decided to present it to the present HMS Vanguard, because it belongs back with the Royal Navy and not in someone’s personal collection.

“The sailors today have shown a lot of interest in its history and where it came from; it really should be where it is now with this Vanguard.”

The battleship Vanguard was launched by then Princess Elizabeth but entered service too late to see action in WW2. Her active career was brief – by 1955 she was in reserve and by the autumn of 1960 she was being broken up at Faslane where today’s HMS Vanguard, one of Britain’s four nuclear deterrent submarines, is based when operational.

Cdr Martin Gill, Senior Officer Refitting Devonport and current Commanding Officer of HMS Vanguard said crew would find a fitting location to display the buoy.

“It’s a great pleasure to bring the memories of Vanguard from the past to the present and it’s that spirit that keeps the name going into the future,” he added.