Those who are from, or have visited the beaches at Llanerch-y-Mor in North Wales will have been greeted with the sight of a stunning cruise liner ship. However few people know the true story behind the ship, why it came to be built and why it ended up on the North Wales Coastline…
That is until now.
A series of top secret government papers have been leaked to a far left wing anti-establishment group. The papers date back to the late 1940s, right through until the mid-1950s, during the height of the Cold War.
The story is now finally in the public domain…
The year is 1950. Britain is in a time of political uncertainty; having conquered the Nazi’s several years before, Britain is faced with yet another war. This time on a whole different battle ground. One that involves Nuclear weapons. What the government kept secret, however, as they prepared to take Britain into war, was their real thoughts on the fate of the nation. What is clear from the secret papers is that they expected to lose, and to not only lose, but for the entire population to be wiped out. They were out-classed in terms of weaponry and saw that defeat would not simply be a possibility, but a certainty.
Discussion was not an option and they were set to lead the country into battle – like a lamb to the slaughter. After bringing victory home when conquering Hitler in World War 2, Britain was not a country that would back down – no matter what the outcome. With this fate already mapped out in their eyes, they begun to look at ways they could protect themselves, the Royal Family and those in high standing in society.
After much research by some of the top minds in the UK, a design for a ship was created. The enormous cruise liner would be big enough to hold 100s of passengers and take them secretly to a safe hide away. The liner was built in Belfast using the best ship builders in the world – those who built the Titanic; Harland and Wolff. At the same time the ship builders were also secretly working on two vessels of similar standing for the USA: USS Northampton and USS Wright, which would be used for communication as well as for protection from fall out. The purpose of this ship, however, was clear – protection and survival.
The ship was a ground breaking design that would protect passengers on-board from any kind of nuclear weapons, with interior spaces capable of pressurisation to prevent contamination from nuclear fallout. Passengers were to be taken into hiding out onto the ocean until the war was over and they could return safely and start society again.
The ship included: sleeping quarters, war rooms, amphitheatres, kitchens, dining areas, infirmaries, brigs, psychiatric cells, barbershops, storage rooms, sewage treatment facilities, body storage/disposal areas, gun ranges, and decontamination showers. Most importantly, she had the most elaborate and powerful communications equipment ever installed aboard a ship, at that time.
The ship was fitted out with the most luxurious features available, as she was destined to service Royalty and only the Royal Yacht Britannia could come close with regards to fixtures and fittings, and more importantly speed.
The Cover Story:
In order to create a cover story to avoid raising alarm to the public, it was used as a relief ship for a normal ferry service whilst she was made seaworthy. She was frequently taken out of service to be secretly tested, for a few weeks each year and the appropriate dignitaries and the Royal family would be on board during these times.
With such a precious cargo destined to be on board, the government would only entrust the vessel to the best Captain the country had to offer; a man who was not only a qualified pilot, but a man who had a distinguished career in the navy during the Second World War. He was the highest ranked commander the Navy had to available to them, John Irwin.
When the authorities were certain the ship was capable to assume the role she was moved to a secret location at Llanerch-y-Mor and given a new identify as The Funship.
The expectation was high that the ship would be called into action at any time but…someone forgot to tell Delyn Borough Council
Keeping the ship secret was of paramount importance for a number of reasons. She was not only to be kept secret from enemies, but also allies, who were sure to want to call on her services. At no time was this more likely that during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when likelihood of Nuclear war was at its highest – as the Soviet threatened Cuba with medium-range, nuclear armed ballistic missiles. The USA threatened to sink any Soviet ships that approached Cuba without permitting their cargo’s to be searched.
Had the Americans known that Harland and Wolff had been working on a third ship – one that was capable of truly protecting them from nuclear war heads, they would have called on the government and asked to use the ship. This would have been a double edged sword – had Britain let them use the ship, they would clearly be siding with the US and this would leave us open to new threats from the Soviets – at a time when the animosity between Great Britain and the Soviets had calmed. Further to this, it left Britain more defenseless without the comfort of the ship as somewhere they could retreat to for survival. If they refused they would then be gaining another enemy in the US.
With its ground-breaking design the ship also clearly needed to be kept secret from enemies, who were struggling with their own designs…
Spies and Secrets:
The boat was decommissioned in 1984 when Soviet submarines vastly improved and made escape in this way no longer a possibility. It is clear from the leaked documents that one of the reasons for the advance in the Soviets’ submarine building capabilities was down to a British Spy who had passed information about the engineering of the boat to the Russians. In fact the secrets that were passed to the Soviets led to their first successful nuclear submarine, until that time only their weapons programme had been superior.
The spy who is suspected to have been the one who passed the information was denounced as a soviet spy in the late 70’s by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, following many leaks of information over many years in service. He was stripped of his knighthood for these crimes.
The boat has sat on the North Wales coastline ever since being abandoned. It has been left to waste away and go derelict. Some of the boats rooms are still sealed and it is clear now from the ship’s plans these were the decontamination rooms that have been sealed to protect their secret. However there are still some clear clues as to the ship’s real purpose, for those with an understanding of ship design. For example, she has a “destroyer” type hull rather than the typical cruise-liner hull of the day
At the time she was built, she was a beautiful creation and a real engineering break through.
At a time when the country is once again in turmoil and we are involved with a number of wars, the streets have decided it’s time to take the boat back.
“Your Ship looked shit so we painted it”