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

HMS Belfast

Armchair General

Main Armament

HMS Belfast mounts four main turrets, each containing three 6 inch guns.

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From the bow of the ship, one can look back at the forward guns raised triumphantly to the skies.

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I can just imagine the flames spitting from these monstrous weapons – luckily, there wasn’t a war on when I visited and I was able to pose with my ACG once again

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The view of the forward turrets inside is quite nice from the inside too – here are two shots from the main Bridge and the Admiral’s Bridge.

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As you can probably tell, I was rather taken with these guns, hence the large number of pictures I took of them from every angle.

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But, even better, it’s even possible to go inside the turrets for a closer look at the workings of these complex mechanisms. A link at the end of this article will take you to some moving footage which includes a look inside one of these turrets.

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The turrets are cramped and unforgiving inside, with protruding pieces of equipment ready to catch the unwary. I do not envy those men who had to work inside these structures, especially during battle.

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Below decks, handling carousels containing row upon row of shells ready to fire form an essential part of the ammunition supply process – mechanical hoists transfer take shells up to the turrets above deck in a constant stream, whilst massed crates of other shells stand ready to be loaded into the carousels – the potential firepower is staggering.

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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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