THE First World War’s last surviving warship is on course for a major transformation after provisionally securing a £12m lottery funding boost.
The Portsmouth-based National Museum of the Royal Navy says it is confident HMS Caroline will be opened as a world-class visitor attraction ahead of the centenary of the 1916 Battle of Jutland.
The derelict vessel, which is docked in Belfast, was in danger of rusting away before moves to restore her started to build up steam last year.
At one point it was hoped the light cruiser could be moved to Portsmouth, but it was eventually decided to keep her in Belfast.
The Heritage Lottery Fund today gave initial approval to a £12.2 million funding application to finance the restoration.
It has pledged £845,000 in first stage development funding and, if that work is completed as planned, the remainder of the money will then be released.
Six years after the war ended HMS Caroline was moved from Portsmouth to Belfast to become a training vessel for local Royal Navy Reserves.