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Great War vessel puts on a show

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 07/08/2015

The Belfast-built HMS M33 is officially opened to the public in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The Belfast-built HMS M33 is officially opened to the public in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Reg Hill in the uniform of a gunner and Steve Barnes in the uniform of a wireless operator
One of the ship’s guns
M33 in action in the Dardanelles in 1915

A Belfast-built warship, the only naval survivor from the disastrous First World War Gallipoli campaign, has reclaimed its place in history.

The M33 gunboat has opened to the public in its centenary year at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

She was built at Harland and Wolff at the outbreak of the war and is one of only three Royal Navy warships left from the conflict. The ship now sits alongside Lord Nelson's HMS Victory in the historic dockyard.

M33 was one of five 'monitor' vessels designed, legend has it, on the back of an envelope by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, and built in just seven weeks. One of the other Great War survivors is HMS Caroline, which is berthed in Belfast.

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