That Sinking Feeling: The Inspiration Behind ‘She Will Never Die’ By Dee Chilton

*** Possible Spoiler Alert ***
(Strongly advise reading this only after reading the story in Twisted 50: Evil Little Sister)

One of my screenplays is based on an horrific incident that happened on a warship while I was serving in the Royal Navy. Severe damage and loss of life were involved. A ship is like a living breathing animal. She will look after you if you look after her, but she could also kill you if you’re not careful. You have to respect her.

As you spend long, often tedious months in the cramped, windowless tin box floating across vast empty oceans or moored alongside in often less than exotic ports, you come to love her and hate her at the same time but no matter what, she’s your home and forever has a place in your heart when you leave her for the last time.  When she’s deemed no longer of any use and treated badly, despite all she’s done in the past, you feel sad for her and you mourn her loss.

In August 2014, I saw a photograph of HMS Plymouth, upon which Argentinian forces surrendered during the Falklands War, being towed out of Liverpool’s river Mersey; the city where I grew up. The ship was taken to Turkey to be “recycled”. In the past, other warships have been used for target practice, sunk as reefs or ended up as razor blades.

The ship was part owned by a passionate trust fund who wanted to save her as a museum piece, but the other owner’s heartless accountants sold it for scrap. A sad reflection on our time where money often rules over passion and ambition.

I never served on her during my Service, but most of my ships have gone the same way now. A case of ‘rose-tinted spectacle’ nostalgia perhaps, but that picture brought a tear to my eye reminding me of them. How did these ships feel about their demise? Would they have fought to survive if they could or at least taken their ‘murderers’ with them?

That was the seed that grew into ‘She Will Never Die’.

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