Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Veteran of Gallipoli at the Portsmouth Naval Yard

HMS M.33

HMS M.33 is a unique survivor.  Launched in May 1915 she is the sole remaining British veteran of that year’s bloody Gallipoli Campaign and the only British warship from the First World War that will be open to the public during the centenary year.

With the help of a grant of £1.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) the ship is now physically and intellectually open to all for the first time. The ship sits in No.1 Dock alongside HMS Victory in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and visitors start with a 6-metre descent into the bottom of the dock before stepping aboard. New interpretation, including an immersive battle experience, stories of the men who served on board, and the history of the Gallipoli Campaign are presented to help bring alive HMS M.33’s history. 

This little survivor, a "Monitor" of 568 tons with a shallow draft allowing it to get close in to shore and fire at targets on land, carried two powerful and oversize 6-inch guns, but was a basic metal box lacking in comforts. The 72 officers and men who sailed for the Gallipoli Campaign were crammed inside and away from home for over three years. HMS M.33 stayed in the Aegean for the Salonika campaign, was sent to Northern Russia in 1919 to support anti-bolshevik forces, and was later converted into a minelayer.

It was this "constant recycling" that ensured her survival. The "Monitor" ended her service as a floating workshop in Portsmouth Harbour in the 1980s.

Source:  Portsmouth National Royal Navy Museum

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