On Friday morning we said goodbye to an old friend of ours... An old girl with a great big heart - and even bigger guns! HMS President built in 1918 has been moored permanently on the river Thames near Blackfriars Bridge since 1922 serving as a Royal Navy reserve drill ship. It has been a permanent fixture for generations, but on Friday 5th February 2016 in the midst of the night she was moved to her new home in Chatham. The new Thames Tideway will run 16 miles from Acton to Beckton intercepting foul water that runs into the river at times of heavy rainfall. One of the access tunnels will enter from Temple Avenue, next to where the ship has been moored hence the decision to move her on for the time being, keeping her safe and sound. Various plans exist for her return in 2018 for her centenary, but it is not currently known where she will finally be berthed, watch this space... In 2014, HMS President was painted by Tobias Rehberger to commemorate the use of dazzle camouflage in World War I. Although a design this elaborate would not have been used in practice, it still required more than a casual glance to work out which end of the ship was which. She is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels as part of the National Historic Fleet. The present owners plan to present her as an historical resource honouring the First World War centenary which began in 2014 and is set to continue throughout 2017 well into 2018.
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