Belfast Telegraph

1938 apprentice back on HMS Belfast

A 90-year-old who helped to build HMS Belfast has set foot on the ship for the first time in seven decades.

Cec George believes he is last surviving man who worked on the warship, constructed in his home city of Belfast by Harland and Woolff.

Mr George visited London, where the HMS Belfast is now one of the city's landmarks, with his family as part of a trip to mark his 91st birthday next week.

He said the ship had changed beyond recognition since he spent four months working on it in 1938 as a teenage apprentice engineer, carrying out a variety of jobs including running cables from the engine room to the bridge, and screwing on name plates.

Mr George, whose son Gary and late father also worked for Harland and Woolff, said on board the ship: "It was nostalgia that made me want to come back. It was actually my granddaughter who arranged the trip.

"The things I remember the most is playing deck quoits, on the wooden deck, and having my photograph taken astride the central gun. The ship's seen a lot of action since then. It's also a lot more cramped than I remember.

"I think I must be the last man standing - everyone else who worked on it has gone now, as far as I know."

He worked at Harland and Woolff for more than 12 years before moving to Stockport. He moved back to Belfast in the 1970s, and worked as a project engineer until his retirement.

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