- The ship was refurbished eight years ago but has undergone some further restoration over the past three years.
- The vessel, the sole surviving ship from the 1916 Battle of Jutland, had been due to reopen last summer but was pushed back to April 2023.
- The restored ship is considered one of Northern Ireland’s most historically important visitor attractions and is now open to the public.
The Princess Royal has reopened HMS Caroline following three years of closure due to the pandemic.
World war one ship reopens
Princess Anne is Patron of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which owns the World War One ship.
She told a small crowd onboard the vessel that it was a “pleasure” to be there as she toured its passages, living quarters and engine room.
The ship was refurbished eight years ago but has undergone some further restoration over the past three years.
At a plaque unveiling in the vessel’s drill room, Princess Anne commended the individuals who had been critical in “rejuvenating” HMS Caroline.
She also paid tribute to the condition of the ship and the fact it was “still afloat” more than 100 years after it was built, humorously comparing it to “other famous ships from the area that are not so afloat” – an apparent reference to the Titanic.
The vessel, the sole surviving ship from the 1916 Battle of Jutland, had been due to reopen last summer but was pushed back to April 2023.
The ship’s living quarters, engine room, sick bay and mess deck have all been restored to reflect what life was like for the original crew members in 1914.
Engineer John Taylor served on board for 29 years and said the ship meant a lot to him.
“You have the Titanic museum further on up the road and people don’t realise we are sitting here,” he told BBC News NI.
“If it wasn’t for Caroline I don’t know where I would be. I met my wife on board the ship – she was a serving wren,” he said.
His children were Christened on board the ship and one is called Caroline.
Only floating survivor
He said that while HMS Caroline’s role in World War One is well known “a lot of people don’t realize that in the Second World War she was a great communication ship”.
According to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, more than 90% of the ship’s original structures and fittings have been saved.
HMS Caroline is the only floating survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland.
It has been docked in Belfast since 1924, where it remained in full commission as a training vessel until 2011.
The restored ship is considered one of Northern Ireland’s most historically important visitor attractions and is now open to the public.
Did you subscribe to our Newsletter?
It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe.