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NAME

HMS. BELFAST

CLASS

CRUISER

ENT/SERVICE 

AUGUST 3rd 1939

BUILT

HARLAND & WOLFF / BELFAST / IRELAND

WEIGHT

9,320 TONS

LENGTH

591 FEET

WIDTH

64 FEET

SPEED

31 KNOTS - GEARED TURBINES - FOUR PROPELLERS

GUNS

12 - 6 INCH / 8 - 4 INCH / 6 - 21 INCH TORPEDOES

ARMOR

5 INCH SIDE / 2 INCH DECK / 4 INCH TURRET FACES


Belfast was the second cruiser in this class built for the British Royal Navy, the first being HMS Edinburgh. Belfast joined the 18th Cruiser Squadron based at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands/Northern Scotland at the outbreak of World War Two. Her first success in the war came October 9th 1939 when she captured the German liner Cap Norte. The following month, November 21st, Belfast hit a magnetic mine when leaving the Firth of Fourth (North East Scotland). The blast injured 21 of her crew and repairs to the ship took almost two years to complete. Belfast was returned to service November 3rd 1942 as the flagship of the 10th Cruiser Squadron.

HMS Belfast

On December 26th 1943, Belfast was escorting a convoy of merchant ships to Russia when they came under attack by the German battleship Scharnhorst. The following battle saw Scharnhorst outnumbered by British warships and eventually sunk. With the German Navy defeated by early 1945, Belfast was transferred to the Pacific Fleet to take part in the war against Japan. The navy had her decommissioned in October 1947 and re-commissioned in November 1948 to serve as the flagship of the 5th Cruiser Squadron during the Korean War. The end of that war in July 1953 led to Belfast being placed in reserve. Her systems were upgraded between 1956 and 1959 before joining the British Far East Fleet. On Belfast’s return from the Far East, she was decommissioned for the final time August 24th 1963. She has served as museum moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge since October 21st 1971. Belfast is the only large European Second World War warship to have been preserved.

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