HMS Belfast: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the HMS Belfast.

  • She was launched in 1938 and was originally part of the British Naval blockade against Germany during World War II. Towards the end of the war she saw service in the Far East.
  • The ship was 187 metres long, had a width of 19 metres and could travel at about 60 kmh. She carried over 12 large guns, as well as torpedoes and depth charges.
  • During World War II, she was the most powerful Navy cruiser. She intercepted a German battleship disguised as a neutral ship, and sunk the German battleship Scharnhorst in the freezing Arctic.
  • HMS Belfast is one of only three surviving bombardment ships which supported the D-Day Normandy Landings in 1944. The two other ships are museum ships in the United States.

HMS Belfast

  • During the D-day Landings, she spent a month in the area, firing over 5,000 shells. The vibrations from firing the guns cracked some of the toilets on board the ship.
  • The ship carried two Supermarine Walrus biplanes. They were launched from the deck by a large catapult and picked up out of the water with a large crane.
  • HMS Belfast became part of the United Nations naval forces during the Korean War. During this time she sailed over 130,000 km and was hit by enemy fire only once.
  • In 1956 HMS Belfast was modernized, including added defenses against nuclear or chemical weapons. In 1961 she took part in independence celebrations for the African country of Tanganyika.
  • HMS Belfast opened as a museum in 1971 and over one and a half million people had visited by 1975. She became part of the Imperial War Museum in 1978.
  • Controversially, the HMS Belfast was airbrushed out of a 2012 London Olympics poster. The poster showed an aerial view of the River Thames, but the famous battleship was missing.

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