Global celebrations for historic ship

David Mc Knight pictured opposite one of the framed prints telling the story of the USS Constitution and HMS Java in the Trincomalee visitor centre.
David Mc Knight pictured opposite one of the framed prints telling the story of the USS Constitution and HMS Java in the Trincomalee visitor centre.
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A HISTORIC ship’s 200th anniversary celebrations are set to be so big they will be a global attraction.

Talks will start in January on how best to celebrate HMS Trincomalee’s landmark anniversary.

Ship’s bosses have yet to decide how they will mark the big day for the Royal Navy Leda-class frigate which is now a floating tourist attraction in Hartlepool.

But David McKnight, the general manager of the HMS Trincomalee Trust, told the Hartlepool Mail: “It will be so big it will draw people into the town.

“The idea is that Trincomalee will have a worldwide focus of attention. It will be a major draw for Hartlepool and the town will benefit.

“We are starting in January to discuss what is going to happen for the anniversary.”

It’s still four years to the big day. Trincomalee was first launched on October 12, 1817.

Yet her story started long before that. The first big anniversary to note arrives on December 29 this year.

That is when the 200th anniversary is reached of a ship called HMS Java being attacked and defeated by an American ship USS Constitution.

At the time, HMS Java was carrying set of plans for two new Leda Class Frigates including Trincomalee to be built in Bombay from teak.

Further plans were subsequently dispatched by the Admiralty, but only after several months delay.

A series of four paintings depicting HMS Java’s attack by USS Constitution now stand on display at the Historic Quay within the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.

Ironically, HMS Trincomalee remains the second oldest warship afloat in the world and the only one which is older is the USS Constitution.

Mr McKnight said: “The story of Trincomalee started 200 years ago this year. The paintings of the engagement of HMS Java by USS Constitution were bought and donated to us by Captain David Smith, the president of the HMS Trincomalee Trust.

“The anniversary celebrations will be a major draw for Hartlepool. I see them very much part of our work in town to bring people in to Hartlepool.”