HMS Caroline, which is the last surviving warship from the greatest battle ever fought in European waters, is to be preserved for the nation in her native Belfast. It is hoped that she will be returned to her Great War glory.
The Jutland veteran, which served as the headquarters for naval reservists in Northern Ireland for more than eight decades, has been donated to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which means it can bid for funding to preserve and restore her. So, this is the start of an ambitious fund-raising project to restore her and make the 98-year-old warship one of the centrepieces of the city’s Titanic Quarter.
The Northern Ireland government has already set up to £100,000 aside to begin immediate remedial work with the aim ultimately of allowing the Belfast public to look around her as a tourist attraction – and a reminder of the age of dreadnoughts and the Grand Fleet.
Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Professor Dominic Tweddle, says, “We are grateful to the MOD for gifting the ship to us and to the Northern Ireland Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for the spirit of partnership, the enthusiasm it has shown and the commitment it has made to the vessel’s restoration and eventual presentation to the public.”