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HMS 'Belfast' (1932 – present)
Royal Navy cruiser in the Second World War*

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Known for

HMS Belfast berthed at Symon's Wharf.
View full size imageHMS Belfast berthed at Symon's Wharf. © NMM
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.

Port Connection

Danmark, Leeds Castle and Belfast.
View full size imageBelfast moored in the Upper Pool. © NMM
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

Life Story

1936The keel is laid down on 10 December
1938HMS 'Belfast' is launched
Sept 1939Sent to the Home Fleet’s base at Scapa Flow, Orkney
9 Oct 1939HMS 'Belfast' intercepts the disguised German liner SS 'Cap'
21 Nov 1939HMS 'Belfast' is mined by a magnetic mine in the Firth of Forth
1942After extensive repairs, HMS 'Belfast' returns to the Home Fleet
1943Damaged in bad weather on 21 February en route to the port of Murmansk
26 Dec 1943Involved in attack on the German battle cruiser 'Scharnhorst'
30 Mar 1944Involved in action against the German battleship 'Tirpitz'
6 Jun 1944HMS 'Belfast' was involved in the D-Day landings
1945HMS 'Belfast' is stationed in the Far East and transports liberated prisoners from Japanese PoW camps
1948HMS 'Belfast' returns to the Far East as flagship of the Fifth Cruiser Squadron
1951HMS 'Belfast' is involved in the Korean War
1952She left Far East for Britain on 27 September
24 Aug 1963Paid off in Devonport and is decommissioned from the Royal Navy
21 Oct 1971HMS 'Belfast' now permanently moored near London Bridge City Pier, was opened to the public

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