The Royal Navy cruiser HMS Belfast is one of two ships of the Edinburgh class. After her launch in 1938, she played an important role throughout the Second World War, as a member of the 18th Cruiser Squadron based at Scapa Flow in Orkney. One of her most successful engagements was during the Battle of the North Cape against the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst. She was also involved in the Normandy Landings.
HMS Belfast remained in service until 1963, during which time she was involved in the Korean War and other peacekeeping missions in the Far East and the Mediterranean.
After her decommission, it was decided that she should be saved rather than scrapped. Her former captain, Rear Admiral Sir Morgan Morgan-Giles, led a campaign to save HMS Belfast as a historic monument to the Royal Navy. In 1971, she was permanently moored in the Upper Pool and opened to the public.
· One of two vessels of the Edinburgh class (sister ship is HMS Edinburgh 1936) · The planned cost was £2,141,514 · Built at the Harland & Wolf Shipyard, Belfast · Displacement: 11,553 tons (standard) · Length: 187 metres (613 feet 6 inches) · Beam length: 21 metres (69 feet) · Draught: 6.1 metres (19 feet 9 inches) · 4 steam powered Parsons geared turbines · 4 Admiralty 3-drum boilers · Maximum speed: 32 knots · Armament: twelve 6 inch guns, eight 4 inch guns, twelve Bofors · Full complement of 850 men
The keel is laid down on 10 December
HMS 'Belfast' is launched
Sent to the Home Fleet’s base at Scapa Flow, Orkney
9 Oct 1939
HMS 'Belfast' intercepts the disguised German liner SS 'Cap'
21 Nov 1939
HMS 'Belfast' is mined by a magnetic mine in the Firth of Forth
After extensive repairs, HMS 'Belfast' returns to the Home Fleet
Damaged in bad weather on 21 February en route to the port of Murmansk
26 Dec 1943
Involved in attack on the German battle cruiser 'Scharnhorst'
30 Mar 1944
Involved in action against the German battleship 'Tirpitz'
6 Jun 1944
HMS 'Belfast' was involved in the D-Day landings
HMS 'Belfast' is stationed in the Far East and transports liberated prisoners from Japanese PoW camps
HMS 'Belfast' returns to the Far East as flagship of the Fifth Cruiser Squadron
HMS 'Belfast' is involved in the Korean War
She left Far East for Britain on 27 September
24 Aug 1963
Paid off in Devonport and is decommissioned from the Royal Navy
21 Oct 1971
HMS 'Belfast' now permanently moored near London Bridge City Pier, was opened to the public