HMS Caroline will not be coming to Portsmouth

HMS Caroline  Picture: David Fitzgerald
HMS Caroline Picture: David Fitzgerald
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A HISTORIC warship will now not be found a new berth at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Plans had been laid for the dockyard to be the new home of HMS Caroline, the last floating survivor of the Battle of Jutland in the First World War. She has been in Belfast since the 1920s.

The Portsmouth-based National Museum of the Royal Navy was asked by the MoD in 2009 to work out a way of saving the ship, which was built in 1914 and decommissioned last year, and hoped to bring the ship to the city.

Ministers in Stormont, the Northern Irish Parliament, had been unsure whether they could afford to pledge money to convert Caroline into a tourist attraction, but now a grant of £1m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will safeguard the ship’s future.

A joint statement from MoD Minister Mark Francois, Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and NMRN Chairman Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, said: ’We are very pleased and relieved that the Caroline’s position has been secured for future generations.

‘This is one of the most historic fighting ships in the world, one which played a decisive role in the outcome of the First World War. It was critical that the ship was preserved and made accessible to the public.’

The National Museum’s director general Professor Dominic Tweddle said: ‘While Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is the home of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, has the facilities for restoring vessels of such immense historic significance, we are very pleased that Belfast, to which the ship moved to from Portsmouth in 1924, will now provide a mooring in perpetuity for the much-loved Caroline.’