Wednesday, 7 August 2019

H.M.S. Belfast... again.

Morrissey Girls aboard HMS Belfast, The Unfinished City
Erin and Keilyn standing by 'B' Turret. 
The guns of 'A' and 'B' turrets are both elevated and targeted on the M1 Gateway Services, some 12.5 miles away.
This is well within reach of these 6-inch guns.
Way back on August 4, 2010, I took my eldest daughter, Alysha, aboard H.M.S. Belfast. She was 14 at the time. We had a great time exploring the ship and taking in the views.

This past Sunday, August 4, 2019, I took my two youngest daughters, Erin (7) and Keilyn (6), aboard. We climbed up ladders, clambered through watertight doors and edged our way along narrow gangways, taking in all nine decks.
(I am unsure as to why August 4th has played a part in both visits).

We began our exploration on the Quarterdeck, before heading inside and into the Laundry. Then off to the Sound Reproduction Room, Chapel and Mail Room, before heading down the first of many ladders to the Boiler and Engine Rooms.

A set of ladders brought us back up to the quarterdeck, where we saw the Messdeck, Bakery and Food Stores. We then carried on passed the  Galley, NAAFI, Provision Stores, the Dentist, Dispensary and Sick Bay. This brought  us to the Arctic Messdeck and the Brig.

We then doubled back and headed down more ladders to the Forward Steering Position. Then up some ladders only to go down some more, a few moments later, as we entered the Shell Room and Magazine for 'B' Turret.


Lots more ladders took us up until we were on deck, near 'B' Turret and the Fo'c'sle. A look in 'B' Turret before heading to the Fo'c'sle, where the girls stood by the anchor for a photo. We then stopped for a break, on the Boat Deck, where we waved at all the passing boats, with many of their passengers waving back, much to the delight of my girls.

Fully rested we headed up to the Admiral's Bridge. After sitting in the Admiral's chair we headed off to see the Sea Cabins that were used by the Captain and Admiral. Then we headed into the Bridge Wireless Office and the Electronic Warfare Office. It was in the latter that the girls could interact with various Radar and Echo Location displays, as they tried to guide their ships to find a missing aeroplane.

Up we went, again, to the next deck, where we sat in the Navigating Officer's chair and the Captain's chair. Into the Operations Room and the Compass Platform, before we headed to the top deck and the Gun Direction Platform.

Down some stairs and ladders, to the Boat Deck and, finally, back down to the Quarterdeck. As we made our way down the last of the steps, Keilyn noticed that Tower Bridge was opening, so we made our way starboard, to get a clearer view. We then made our way to the stern, where we sat and had another break.

After a good ten minutes of sitting and eating, we headed up to the Gun Turret Experience. This was in the 'Y' 6-inch Gun Turret. Dark curtains stopped sunlight illuminating the dark interior, which had footage from WWII projected onto its walls, while voice overs clued you in as to what was happening. Suddenly we were back in the 1943. Over the intercom came the order to 'Shoot'. Pyrotechnics and loud bangs echoed around the small turret, as smoke began to fill the claustrophobic space. The footage showed the Scharnhorst in flames, before showing to Royal Navy vessels helping the survivors. With the Experience ended, we made our back down to the Quarterdeck, disembarked and went for some lunch on dry land.


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