Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Save HMS Caroline

I urge and implore the Royal Navy to keep HMS Caroline in the Port of Belfast.

In an article by the BBC, moving the last remaining navy warship of the 1916 Battle of Jutland to Portsmouth is one of the options being considered for saving the vessel. HMS Caroline, based in Belfast, was recently decommissioned and has been taken over by the Portsmouth-based National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard already holds 400 of the ship's artefacts. The museum's Dr Dominic Tweddle said: "The emphasis is being placed on saving the ship rather than her location".

In an attempt to find a "long term suitable and sustainable" option for the ship, the museum is developing a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid and will continue to examine any solution for her staying in Belfast.

The light cruiser has been in the city's Alexandra Dock for more than 80 years and was a floating base for the Royal Navy Reserve. Around 80% of the ship is original and it has what are thought to be the only surviving in-situ World War I turbines in the world.

Built in 1914 in Birkenhead, HMS Caroline was one of the fastest warships of the time and went on to serve through both world wars.

Dr Tweddle said: "Saving historic ships is never easy, and raising money in the current economic conditions is doubly difficult. But to fail in this endeavour cannot be contemplated. HMS Caroline is the equal of one of our great cathedrals," he added.

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