Dockyard’s new star is set to ‘dazzle’ in memory of conflict

  • Last surviving Gallipoli ship is about to opened for visitors
  • The ship has been restored at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard
  • Interior is a mixture of traditional restoration, conservation and audio-visual presentation
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SHE first hosted a company of sailors 100 years ago, and now she’s almost ready to finally host the public.

HMS M33, the only surviving ship that took part in the Gallipoli campaign in the First World War, is set to become the newest star attraction at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Project director Matthew Sheldon said he was delighted the ship was nearly finished after her £2.5m restoration, which started in October.

He said: ‘It’s fantastic. Having been on board through those long winter months when she got worse before she got 
better, it really does feel like a transformation.’

A gunship designed to sit close to the shore to bombard the enemy, M33 wears a coat of fresh ‘dazzle’ paint, originally added in 1918 to confuse enemy submarines.

Below decks, it’s a different story.

Matthew Sheldon, the M33 project director ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151238-009)

Matthew Sheldon, the M33 project director ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151238-009)

Original painted surfaces have been uncovered and contrast with mottled rust and metal.

The large engine room, long-since gutted, has been left an almost empty shell where visitors watch a presentation about Gallipoli, projected onto different surfaces and brought to life by sound and light effects.

Other spaces, including the ship’s mess, officers’ quarters and tiny bridge have been restored as they would have looked a century ago.

Mr Sheldon said: ‘She’s a permanent memorial to the Gallipoli campaign, and that involved hundreds of thousands of men drawn from across the globe.

She’s a permanent memorial to the Gallipoli campaign

Matthew Sheldon

‘We use audiovisual within her to tell the story of the ship and of Gallipoli and in a way that doesn’t alter her fabric.

‘I hope people will feel that this is a very different kind of presentation.’

Mr Sheldon said M33 continued the story of the Royal Navy on show at the dockyard, starting with the Mary Rose and continuing with HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.

He said: ‘I hope that a visit to her and a visit to Victory will really help people understand how things change, how technology moves and why ships are designed for particular purposes.’

The mess deck on M33 ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151238-922)

The mess deck on M33 ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151238-922)

There will be an opening ceremony and wreath laying at the ship on August 6, when Gallipoli will be commemorated across the country.

M33 will be open to visitors from August 7.

A gun barrel aboard M33 ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151238-967)

A gun barrel aboard M33 ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151238-967)