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Belfast may lose First World War ship


Lantern Swinger
SoylentGreen said:

Thanks SG, at least this news is a relief. 'The 95-year-old warship is likely to remain in commission until at least 2011' Only the RNR are moving out to Lisburn and the RN C/O Cdr Quinn is staying put for the time being.


No probs. This link tells something of the work going on behind the scenes to arrive at a - hopefully local - solution.

The decommissioning ceremony went off well - nobody happy about it but at least satisfaction can be taken that we did our jobs well.


Lantern Swinger
From what I can gather, many people in NI know very little about HMS Caroline, myself included until I made a point of going down to see her and finding out more about her. The one upside of the media attention she has been getting recently, such as in the Belfast Telegraph, is that more people are becoming aware if her. (Although, I was told by somebody last week that the ship itself was being moved to Theipval Barracks...)

Does anyone know if there is any chance of being able to see around her as a member of the public, or as somebody currently in the recruitment process?


There'll be no access after the 11th at all except by certain personnel. There is of course a load of elf'n'safety involved.

Given the security states during the past 25 years odd, it is of course entirely natural that many people in NI know little of Caroline. Although people elsewhere may wonder how this is possible, it's not as if she's sat in a dock right in the centre of Belfast where all and sundry can see her.

If there's any fans of Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, think of her as being surrounded by a SEP invisibility field (Somebody Else's Problem). See here. As this object raises too many questions people just don't see it :lol: as evidenced by the gent who wandered up to the front gate and asked a guard "Here mate.. my son says there's some WW1 warship around here... do you know where it is?" "Ummm... just look over my left shoulder..." :roll:

There was talk of normalisation up until the Massereene killings, then of course security became the priority again.

Hopefully now the security implications will dissolve, her cause can be widely publicised and maybe even this gift of a ship can become the centre of some maritime heritage museum. You wouldn't believe the amount of tourists walk the two miles up Queen's Island to look at the Thompson dry dock where Titanic was outfitted and don't see the real history floating 100 yards away. Given all the unrealistic and expensive ideas that have come and gone from Belfast council about how to go about creating a tourist attraction - and feck knows there's chuff all else to see in Belfast unless you're into murals or tattooed idiots rioting - with some luck they'll keep her right where she is (between the Titanic slip and the dry dock - ideal) refit her (estimated half the price of the pitiful Nomadic enterprise, which is dogged by conflicting interest groups) and hey presto - at last a genuine tourist attraction, something unique that anyone daft enough to come here for tourism purposes will want to see and not go away feeling short changed.


Lantern Swinger
BreathingOutOnTheWayUp said:
<<<....Campaigners in Belfast are fighting to keep Caroline there once she is decommissioned in 2011.
But naval heritage officials are keen to bring the old C-class light cruiser to Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy. Talks are at an early stage between the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and Portsmouth City Council.....>>

Saved from the breakers yard, excellent news at least now the ship will be seen by millions of visitors every year. Staying in Belfast would have been a total nonsense. Not only would the half hearted City Council not been able to restore her cost wise, most of the Unionist councillors are only interested in Army history in Northern Ireland and have never given a fiddlers for RN history in the past.

Along with HMS Victory, an 18/19th century Battle of Trafalgar ship of line, HMS Warrior a later 19th century (steam/sail) battleship, HMS Caroline an early 20th century warship and Battle of Jutland cruiser will add to the already tremendous collection. I couldn't think of a better resting place for HMS Caroline to end up after she is decommissioned later this year.


Lantern Swinger
'A spokeswoman for the National Museum of the Royal Navy confirmed it had put in a bid to bring HMS Caroline to Portsmouth. She added: 'It is far too early for any decisions and all options still remain open.'
First World War ship could be our latest attraction - Portsmouth Today

Ex matlot friend of mine visited Pompey and Gosport recently. He was shocked to pay £35 to visit the naval Museums while he was there. Maybe this is the way the National Museum of the Royal Navy is collecting money to pay for HMS Caroline.

It is now january 2011 and no more news on the future of HMS Caroline.


Book Reviewer
I'm sure the Caroline was a night club in the sixties, it was just down the road (at the end of the cul-de-sac) as you went past the Stella Maris club.
Anyone else do a tour there late 60's early 70's when you could still have a run ashore without getting shot. 8O

I was on HMS Caroline for a spell in the summer of 72/73, not sure which. Set up an armed security guard on the upper deck. There was another IRA threat. I have written a chapter in my memoirs dealing with this time, but it's rather long. Will it be of any interest do you think ?


I was on HMS Caroline for a spell in the summer of 72/73, not sure which. Set up an armed security guard on the upper deck. There was another IRA threat. I have written a chapter in my memoirs dealing with this time, but it's rather long. Will it be of any interest do you think ?
was there late 70s many a young lady was given a private viewing of the golden rivit
you would have been surprised how many young ladys from west belfast would be there to get a little bit of ulster in them


War Hero
I getting f*cking sick of this!

What the f*ck is wrong with this country!

A nation built on its proud maritime history can't put it's hand in it's pocket to save the ships that helped make it what it is today!

I'm not one for saving things for the sake of saving them but for heavens sake! This ship is the only surviving ship from Jutland. The surrender of South Georgia was signed on the Plymouth and we cant find a few hundred meters of real estate to put them in.

Portsmouth is f*cking empty. The only ships you see there these days are those waiting to be cut up and you're telling me that they don't have room in pompy for these two lasses.

Makes me wanna boo!

(edited because I just looked at the basin behind the Victory on Google earth and it may be a tight squeeze)
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War Hero
The problem is that museum ships are expensive to run and rarely turn a profit. The history of museum ships worldwide is of limited success.


War Hero
As I understand it the Plymouth was turning a profit.

Pinot has the space sat there doing nothing. They already have the infrastructure in place with all the other exhibits - to have both ships there would surely be the cheapest option.


War Hero
The problem is that its just too damn expensive to keep museum ships going. You have to take an object made and designed to be regularly maintained and drydocked and which is designed for work, and not tourists. Find a quayside with good access, publicise it, pay for all the shore support etc. Convert the ship into something that is accessible and which may if lucky get funding from the Lottery or something else. Add to this the requirements to keep it open, keep it compliant with H&S regulations and also keep it afloat. Very few museum ships succeed, not because people dont want to make it a success, but because its extremely expensive to run the vessels and the public interest simply isnt there to make it happen. The only ones that do work tend to be so heavily subsidised as not to be private museums. I'm sad if CAROLINE goes, but equally she's not really got any place in the national conciousness, and I dont think she'd get anywhere near as many visitors as some people imagine.


Lantern Swinger
Perhaps the problem is the seeming desire to spread museum ships across the country? Britannia certainly has space next to it in Leith and doesn't take all day to go around. Perhaps the combination of a ship that does draw visitors with one that can't draw enough in and of itself but would persuade many to go round as well while they are already there could work.
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Ambitious plan to make HMS Caroline another tourist must-see - Northern Ireland, Local & National -
As someone who is involved in the campaign to keep HMS Caroline in Belfast, an additional 1 million pounds has been secured from the NMRN to start the restoration of the ship. A lottery grant has been applied for which hopefully wwill cover the costs of bringing her up to the standard required to allow visitors onboard. It is planned to integrate Caroline into the Titanic project in Belfast. Around 64 million was spent on the Titanic project which is about a ship that sank. Caroline is 98 years old and the only survivor of the battle of Jutland, and is in remarkable condition given her age, and still afloat. She has started to deteriorate since being decommissioned in 2011. I was a serving member of the Ulster Division RNR for 25 years, and HMS Caroline was our base. Due to the troubles she was mostly hidden from the public for over 30 years, but considerable interest has been shown by the public, so hopefully she will be preserved for years to come. The NMRN initially wanted to tow her to Portsmouth, to be part of the historic dockyard, but we successfully managed to keep her in Belfast. The following youtube link shows what she was like prior to decommissioning

HMS Caroline.wmv - YouTube
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