Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Memories of "HMS Belfast" to go into print


Navy News

The last reminder of the classic days of the ‘big gun’ Navy will be immortalised in print – but this time it is the men of HMS Belfast, not the ship herself, which will be honoured.

The cruiser, today a museum piece on the Thames near Tower Bridge – and a significant reminder of the presence of the Royal Navy in the capital – served the Fleet from 1939 until the early 1970s.

Her career – she fought at North Cape in 1943, the Normandy landings in 1944, and in Korea, among other duties – has been well documented by historians.

But this time the HMS Belfast Association wants to focus on the men who lived and fought in the ship.

To that end, the Association has been given a grant by the Ministry of Defence Veterans Challenge Fund to record their stories in a book.

“Many technical books have been written about this wonderful ship, but none about the 12,000 men who served and fought in her through her 25 years of active service,” said Ernest Smith, who will write the book.

“This book will be about as many of these men that can be contacted, who are not already members of the Association.”

Admiral Sir Jeremy Black, President of the HMS Belfast Association, said: “The Belfast is a very special ship to all who ever served in her and I know that they will want to be part of this latest chapter in her history.”

Beyond serving as a memorial to Belfast’s ship’s company, it will be used as an educational tool for the 50,000 children who tour the cruiser annually.

The Association is keen to get in touch with as many of the former ship’s companies as possible so that details of Belfast and life aboard the cruiser can be recorded. If you served in her, or know of someone who did, contact the Association honorary secretary, Ted Hill, on 01708 341803.

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