There is always a feeling of sadness amongst a ship’s company when it is decommissioned and before the crew go their separate ways to new deployments a variety of commemorations, both official and unofficial, take place. Men will often come together to purchase small tokens to remind them of their time aboard the ship and as well as traditional engraved tankards, other items are also popular such as hip flasks. Today we are looking at one such hip flask commemorating the end of service for HMS Beaver:
HMS Beaver was a Type 22 frigate that was laid down in 1980 and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1984. Reflecting naval policy before the Falklands War, she was not equipped with a main gun, instead having a four Exocet missile launchers. The Falklands showed that , despite the effectiveness of the Exocet, the role of the main gun was not obsolete and they still had a myriad of roles, including shore bombardment, that could not be achieved through missiles alone. HMS Beaver was to have a relatively short operational life, lasting just 15 years before being decommissioned in 1999 and sold for scrap a couple of years later.
The hip flask was purchased by a member of the Stoker’s Mess and depicts the ship’s crest, together with her years of service and the name of the mess which was being commemorated:
These items were unofficial, being purchased privately from an engraving company and paid for by those who wanted them, but are very common features of service life and most former servicemen will have one or more such items sitting on their shelves as a memento of their service life.