Belfast; HMS Caroline

by Veronica

Did you know that 1 of the last surviving World War 1 battleships stands in Belfast harbour as a floating museum and tribute to the Battle Of Jutland 1916 ? I flew there yesterday.

It is easy for us to fly to Ireland and back in a day. The flight took 35 minutes!
I have been keen to see HMS Caroline since it opened after a 15 million pound restoration last year.

The Battle of Jutland 1916 is still regarded as one of the greatest in British naval history. HMS Caroline is a decommissioned cruiser which was on active service in World War 1. It was unsuitable for service in World War 2 but was used for administrative purposes.

During Belfast's recent transformation as a tourist destination, HMS Caroline has been transformed into a floating museum in the Alexandra Dock, in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast.

It opened to the public for the centenary of the Battle of Jutland 2016 but closed again for further restoration and is now fully open to the pubic. It is a real bargain at only £7.50 for me to visit and took about an hour and half to view properly.

HMS Caroline is the last surviving warship of the Battle of Jutland.

You can see why I was keen to visit.

HMS Caroline

- a grey relic of Battle of Jutland
HMS Caroline
HMS Caroline

Battle of Jutland May 1916

Quote from William Crick HMS Caroline

" ... the water for miles was oily and a filthy colour and the ship seemed to be ploughing her way through a mass of wreckage and mangled bodies.....

Very sad day in the fleet . Almost every ship has got dead laying on the quarter deck and the hospital ship is very busy. "

On entrance

There can only be losers in such a conflict. The survivors are left with terrible memories for life.

The Caroline experience is cleverly done. As we walked through the door, a film reconstruction of the battle was taking place and we walked straight into the full sensory of a naval battle, sight and sounds. The noise was staggering and it was all a bit frightening to think what those sailors experienced.

Tour of the ship

Among the ranks

I have decided to look at some of the differences in ship life to put a slightly different slant on the visit.

The captain's table
The captain's table
The sailors' table
The sailors' table
We all have to go!  The captain's lavatory
We all have to go! The captain's lavatory
 
The crew's washroom.
The crew's washroom.
The captain had a bath
An officer's tin bath
An officer's tin bath
An officier's bedroom
An officier's bedroom
.... and the crew's
.... and the crew's

Continuing the tour

I really liked this record player because it adds a human perspective to the dehumanisation of war. This of course was for the captain's and officers' recreation not he crew's.

The record player
The record player

Missiles and bells

The ship's bell is a lovely addition to the boat and again, I think it adds a human element to the visit. I am fairly intuitive and could visualise someone standing there and ringing it.  

HMS Caroline bell
HMS Caroline bell
Mock up missiles on deck
Mock up missiles on deck

The kitchen

As a keen cook, I am always fascinated by kitchens in such places as these. I could clearly visualise though, cooking a meal for a few hundred people under sea battle conditions. Horrendous!  AND..... treacherously cold NORTH SEA battles at that.

The kitchen
The kitchen

The guns

And finally what it is all about unfortunately. The guns...

The guns have been restored and stand on deck.

The big guns
The big guns

To conclude.

I am a great believer in the concept that we should never forget. Forgive yes... forget no. If we forget these things, it may all happen once more.

Keeping these events  in our consciousness through exhibits such as these is a good way hopefully to prevent these things happening again. They are also a tribute to those who have given their lives.

Rest in peace to the men of both sides.

If you are in Belfast, please do visit HMS Caroline at the Alexandra Dock.

Updated: 11/25/2017, Veronica
 
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Veronica 17 days ago

BSG
It has been beautifully restored and I too like the "human" statements ( such as beds and table settings ) of the display/ It brings to life that real people 100 years ago were experiencing these horrors.

blackspanielgallery 17 days ago

It appears to be well preserved. The detail of having a set table is quite a bit.

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