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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast was cruiser built for the Royal Navy that is now permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London. Belfast was the first ship in the Royal Navy to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland, and one of ten Town-class cruisers began construction in 1936. She was commissioned in 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany, however in she was struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Belfast returned to action in 1942 and saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and she played an essential role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst.

In June 1944, Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945, Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and after some additional overseas commissions before she entered reserve in 1963.

In 1971 the government transferred the ship to a Trust, and she was brought to London, to be moored near Tower Bridge. The Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. Today nine decks are open to the public and access to the ship is via a walkway which connects the quarterdeck with the pedestrian footpath on the south bank of the River Thames.

Highlights of the HMS Belfast

  • “A” turret of Belfast
  • The bridge
  • Twin 40 mm Bofors mountings
  • Arctic messdeck

HMS Belfast

  • Museum:    HMS Belfast
  • City:            London
  • Country:      United Kingdom
  • Built:          1936
  • Museum:    1971
  • Type:          Museum Ship
  • Location:    The Queen’s Walk, London, United Kingdom

Explore London’s Museums and Heritage Sites

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“There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” 
– Joseph Conrad

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Photo Credit: JOM

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