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HMS Belfast was one of the most powerful large light cruisers ever built and is now the only surviving vessel of her type to have seen active service during the Second World War. HMS Belfast is now part of the Imperial War Museum and is the first ship to be preserved for the nation since Nelson’s Victory.
Construction of Belfast began in December 1936 and she was launched on St Patrick's Day (the patron saint of Ireland), 17 March 1938 as she was named after the capital city of Northern Ireland.
On the outbreak of war with Germany in September 1939, HMS Belfast formed part of the 18th Cruiser Squadron operating out the Home Fleet's main base at Scapa Flow in Orkney. HMS Belfast was one of the very first ships to open fire on German positions in Normandy on 6 June 1944 – D Day.
After the Second World War HMS Belfast was sent to the Far East as a flagship then became involved in the Korean War. In 1962 after extensive service she returned to the UK and made a final visit to the City of Belfast. She was decommissioned in 1963 and had earned her rest, having steamed nearly half a million miles during her operational life. She was brought to London by a former captain and opened to the public in 1971.
HMS Belfast receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year. Nine decks are now open to the public. To emphasise the range of the ship's armament, the forward six-inch guns of A and B Turrets are on the outskirts of London.
Contact details for HMS Belfast tel: 0207 940 6300 International: +44 (0)207 940 6300, fax: 0207 403 0719 International: +44 (0)207 403 0719.
1 March - 31 October: 10.00 am - 6.00 pm (last admission 5.00 pm)
1 November - 28 February: 10.00 am - 5.00 pm (last admission 4.00 pm)
Closed 24, 25 and 26 December
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