Sunday, December 14, 2014

HMS Belfast: a survivor of Operation Neptune

1. HMS Belfast (C35) moored on the River Thames, London
(with Tower Bridge in the distance)
2. HMS Belfast (C35) from Tower Pier, River Thames, London
(with the lower part of the'Shard' behind)

During WW2 HMS Belfast (C35) was a Royal Navy cruiser, saw action on the Arctic convoys, took part in Operation Neptune (the seaborne element of Operation Overlord) and toward the end of the war was sent to the Far East shortly before the Japanese surrender. After decommissioning in 1963 HMS Belfast became a museum ship in 1971 since when she has been moored at London on the river Thames near Tower Bridge [Photographs No. 1 and 2]. Since 1978 she has been part of the 'museum family' of the Imperial War Museum.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Brief history of HMS Belfast (C35)

The Royal Navy cruiser, HMS Belfast (C35), was named after the city of Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland. Appropriately then, that she was launched on 17 March 1939, the feast day of Ireland's Patron Saint, St Patrick.

She entered service with the Royal Navy in August of the same year and almost immediately was put into service as part of the naval blockade of Germany. However, in November 1939 HMS Belfast struck a German mine and then had over two years undergoing extensive repairs. HMS Belfast was returned to active service in November 1942 and for over a year escorted the Arctic convoys taking essential supplies to the Soviet Union. At the end of 1943 she took part in the Battle of the North Cape during which the German battleship Scharnhorst was sunk.

HMS Belfast then took part in Operation Neptune, the seaborne part of Operation Overlord: the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. During this part of her service, she became the headquarters ship of Bombardment Force E and flew the flag of Rear-Admiral Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton. Her role was to support the British and Canadian landing beaches (Gold and Juno respectively). HMS Belfast spent 5 weeks off the Normandy coast, after which time the battle had moved too far inland for her guns to be effective in supporting the Allied troops inland. By the time of her departure in mid July 1944 HMS Belfast had fired 1,996 rounds from her six-inch guns.

Towards the end of the war, in June 1945, Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Fleet in their campaign against the Japanese, arriving just before the end of the war. After the Second World War she was involved in the Korean War after which she was sent for an extensive refit (1956 - 59). In 1963 HMS Belfast was mothballed (i.e. entered into the reserve).

Eventually, after a high level campaign to preserve HMS Belfast as a museum ship, in 1971 she was transferred to a private trust, the HMS Belfast Trust, and moved to a mooring near the Tower of London. The new museum ship was first opened to the public in October 1971 and became part of the Imperial War Museum 'family' in 1978. Since that time it has become a popular visitor attraction on the River Thames, situated close to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

Further information

For further details about the museum ship HMS Belfast, click on the following I.W.M. website page:

HMS Belfast (Imperial War Museum)

Sunday, 14 December, 2014  

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