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Posted on Jun 11, 2006 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

HMS Belfast

Armchair General

Maps showing the extent and responsibilities of the mighty British Empire bring home the reality of war on a global scale – the Royal Navy was tasked with defending not only the home islands, but the trade routes that kept the lifeblood of the Empire flowing. This was no mean feat.

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A selection of wartime propaganda and recruiting posters forms one part of the display.

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Models depict warships from the era, as well as showing the layout of certain sections of the ship, such as this turret cutaway. The adjoining picture shows a lifejacket as worn by a crewman from the German Battlecruiser Scharnhorst.

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The first of these pictures shows a splinter from one of two 28 cm shells fired by the Scharnhorst at HMS Norfolk, temporarily knocking her out of the battle. Next to it, a captured Enigma coding machine, no less a weapon of war, but in the long run, equally ineffective.

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Here, we see displayed a section of a briefing model prepared for the D-Day landings. The model depicts the French village of Bernieres-sur-Mer and part of Juno beach, one of the sections of Normandy coastline assigned for bombardment by HMS Belfast. The next picture is a painting showing the ship in action on the day itself.

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All around the ship, helpful cutaway diagrams and maps show visitors the parts of the ship open for viewing, and help you ensure that you cover all there is to see without getting lost.

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10 Comments

  1. Belfast has been altered a heckuva lot since I was on it. The superstructure has been changed but I can’t find a good photo of the side view to see exactly what has been altered.
    I was a RM telegraphist – using morse code in those days – and my usual post was the “Bridge Wireless Office” just aft of the bridge. My “out of watch” post was the Upper Transmitting Room.

  2. I could be wrong on this but I understood that one of the for’ard gun turrets was a ‘dummy’ so Belfast had only nine 6″ guns and not twelve.

    • Hi Vic,
      I served on HMS Belfast also, from January 1950, all through the Korean war until she was delivered to Devonport for the alterations you mention (some 3yrs & 3months) I do not remember you, but you may remember me because I used to run the Cinema.
      I am sorry to have to tell you, that whoever told you she only had nine 6″ guns and that one turret was a dummy, has given you false information. I have photographs that will disprove that theory.
      Best Regards,
      Tony Gatton.
      ex LEM.

  3. My ‘oppo’ on boardwas “Paddy Eagleson” – Robert Stewart Eagleson – also a RM signals operator.

    The captain during the Korean campaign was Le Messurier.

    • Hi Vic, me again,
      Le Mesurier was Captain of Belfast when I joined her, and he did the first stint in Korea, and left the ship when she returned to Singapore for re-fit. I am fairly sure that he was replaced by Sir Aubrey St Clair Ford, known affectionately as ‘Strawberry’ (now deceased). During the 2nd World War, he was the skipper of the Kimberley, who picked up the survivors of the Kelly (Mountbatten’s famous ship).
      The one person killed on the Belfast you mention, was a Chinese Messman or Laundryman who was killed when an 80mm shell came through the ships starboard side into the Chinese Mess. We were going through between an island and the mainland at the time, and ‘Strawberry’ just turned the ship round and came back through again, giving the cliff face broadsides as we traversed. That night and next day, Kenya and an American rocket ship pounded that cliff face. They never got that gun, he was on railway lines we were told afterwards, and they just used to pop out from this cave, have a go at somebody, and pull back out of sight.
      Regards,
      Tony.

  4. Are you SURE that one person was killed on board Belfast during the Korean campaign? I don’t remember that but certainly HMS Jamaica had one person killed.

  5. My uncle, Leslie Richard Winkett (also known as Les Wynne) recentl passed away. I am the proud recipient of his green beret and campaign medals for Korea, the Canal Zone and Malaya. I would be most grateful to receive memories and photos from these times.

  6. Regarding Tony Gatton`s reply (3.1). During ww2 SIr Aubrey ST Clair Ford was the Captain of H.M.S. Kipling not Kimberley. Next April 2012, we will be holding our annual Kipling reunion at Ringwood. Out of a handful of survivors now,only one attends this reunion. Kipling`s motto was `keep on` and in memory of all those who served aboard her we will.

  7. I don’t know if this will get to anyone but my father served on the Belfast and was on it during the Korean War his name was Fred Shaw (Frederick William) and he told us he was on the guns, he helped in the cinema and he played the drums as entertainment, now if this was all on this ship or not I don’t know. I am trying to find out about my fathers time on the Belfast as well as seeing any photos others might have. We did have some photos of him on board but they have been lost but we still have his discharge certificate which he framed. We had his ashes scattered from the Belfast when he died and I am sure he would have been pleased about that. If anyone could contact me I would be grateful.

  8. I have an original Belfast crest and would like to know its heraldic data..(ex chief bosun RAN)

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