HMS Caroline is the sole survivor of the Battle of Jutland and will be restored in time for a centenary celebration
A 100-year-old warship once dubbed ‘the greyhound of the seas’ will be restored at a cost of £11.5million, following a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
HMS Caroline was the sole survivor of the Battle of Jutland and the project aims to have her ready for public viewings in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter by May 2016.
Described as a ‘light cruiser’ when she was built on Merseyside in 1914, the 446ft ship weighs 3,750 tons and has a top speed close to 30 knots.
It is hoped that the restoration will be complete in time for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, which was the only time when the full might of the German and British navies were directly engaged during World War One.
Historic elements that have been preserved on board include the original compasses and telegraphs, four of the turbines, and many of the living quarters.
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Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: “HMS Caroline is quite simply one of the world’s most significant historic fighting ships.
“To conserve the ship and open it to the public as a shared space, museum and cultural hub in Belfast is hugely significant to the people of all Ireland.”
Following her successful tour of duty, HMS Caroline returned to Belfast in 1924, where she served as a Royal Naval Reserve drill ship and later acted as a command centre during World War Two.
When she was decommissioned in 2011, HMS Caroline was recognised as the second-longest serving ship in British naval history, behind HMS Victory.