Don’t sink the Caroline!

The indefatigable David Silbey has posted Military History Carnival #26 at Cliopatria. The link which inspired this post's title is at Military Times and concerns the fate of HMS Caroline, a light cruiser which was commissioned in 1914 and remains in service as a floating (albeit permanently moored) headquarters and training ship in Belfast. She is due to be decommissioned at the end of this month, and, if no home is found for her, she will be scrapped (admittedly more likely than being sunk, as per my title, though old warships are sometimes turned into artificial reefs and the like). This is a pretty sad end for the last survivor of Jutland, but unfortunately it's about par for Britain when it comes to preserving its naval heritage. The nation which dominated the seas during the eras of the ironclad and the dreadnoughts has none left (bar, quite remarkably, the Royal Navy's first example of the former, HMS Warrior). Britain invented the flat-deck aircraft carrier, but without exception has scrapped or sold off every one it ever built (well, except for those sunk by other causes). There is the odd submarine or cruiser still around from the World Wars period, but very, very few. If Caroline does go down at last -- in the interim she has been offered to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, but funding is still needed -- it will be a crying shame.

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54 thoughts on “Don’t sink the Caroline!

  1. Post author


    Thanks for the update, that's great news! Looks like they still need to find more money, fingers crossed for that. Good on Belfast for deciding to hang on to her. Also a couple of interesting photos in that link of some of the surviving features, including the turbines. (Though despite what the article suggests, she was built in Merseyside, not Belfast!)

  2. Good news from my friend and colleague Matt Willis on visiting HMS Caroline. (Link below.)

    Which is terrific, given it's better than I dared hope for this ship. Certainly it's (in a sense) still early days, but it's a great start, and people are showing what can be done rather than arguing with those who'll tell them it can't or shouldn't. In the very long run it's all futile, but here and now, good job.

  3. Thanks, much appreciated James. I don't think I said Caroline was built in Belfast, did I? (Though she spent the vast majority of her life there so it's appropriate she stays there). She does feel very original and it's worth remembering that even the drill hall is of 1920s vintage. Well worth a visit, and it's wonderful to see what can be done when the effort and money is committed. She's going to be drydocked next month, so check the NMRN website if planning a visit

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