HMS Belfast

22 January 2005

While Lucy was at the Manchester championship dog show, Stephen went for a visit to HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast at her permanent mooring just above Tower Bridge. Launched in 1938, the Town-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy served in World War II and the Korean War. She was retired from active service in 1965, saved for the nation in 1971 and towed to a new berth at Symon's Wharf in the Pool of London and opened to the public on Trafalgar Day that same year. She is now a museum in the care of the Imperial War Museum.

Looking aft along the anchor chains to the bridge and A and B turrets, two of HMS Belfast's four 6-inch Mark XXIII Triple Gun Turrets.

The port anchor stowed on deck, weighing 5.5 tonnes. The anchors were usually raised or lowered by electric power, but in an emergency could be hand operated - it took 144 men to raise the anchors by hand.

HMS Belfast's boatdeck seen from the port side of the bridge superstructure. To the left of picture is the Tower of London

A closer view of the Tower of London

One of the six 40mm Twin Bofors Mark V Mountings on HMS Belfast, fitted during her modernisation in 1956-59.

The A and B turrets again: they are trained on London Gateway service station on the M1 motorway near Edgware,
some 19 km away

The Operations Room as it might have appeared during the Battle of North Cape. Those on the left are wearing anti-flash hoods and gloves  to protect their faces and hands from the severe burns which could be caused by an enemy shell exploding on the bridge.

Hammocks are slung throughout the boat wherever there is room. Here they are slung in one of the messes.

And here slung above machinery

Interior of B turret shell room, showing the 6-inch projectiles lined up on the handling carousel which revolved around the mechanical hoists leading to the gun house above.

The projectiles and their storage bins behind

The engine room of HMS Belfast

I particularly like the "Stop making smoke" command!


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson