Restored Gallipoli warship opens at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth
In August 2015, The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) will open the warship HMS M.33 to the public for the first time, following an extensive conservation project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
On the centenary of HMS M.33’s first active operation, it will be open to visitors in No.1 Dry Dock at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, alongside HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum.
HMS M.33 is the only surviving Navy ship from the Gallipoli Campaign, and as such, holds great historic importance. Built in just seven weeks, HMS M.33 was one of nearly 40 “monitors” made in a rapid construction campaign following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Although the Gallipoli Campaign claimed thousands of lives, M.33 was considered a lucky ship and, despite being showered by shell splinters, it suffered no casualties.
Whilst in service, HMS M.33 housed 67 men and 5 officers for over 3 years. HMS M.33 was not built for comfort or speed but to be able to get close-in to shore and fire at targets on land.
Visitors to HMS M.33 will descend six metres to the bottom of the dock, before stepping aboard the ship. The platform at the base of the dock will allow a viewpoint of HMS M.33’s bow, flat bottom and the dry dock itself.
The NMRN commissioned Ian Clark Restoration to conserve the ship. Clark and the NMRN agreed that their mission must be to accentuate what is original, so that visitors can see the hull and paint that went to Gallipoli.
Within the ship, visitors will be able to see an audio-visual exhibition about the Gallipoli Campaign and the men who lived on board HMS M.33 during the First World War.
The NMRN and Hampshire County Council have worked as partners to develop the £2.5 million ‘Commemorating Gallipoli – the HMS M.33 Project’, part of the NMRN’s wider ‘Great War At Sea 1914-1918’ programme to mark the Royal Navy’s First World War.
Visit the NMRN website for more details.