National Museum of the Royal Navy appeals for oral histories of WWI ship HMS Caroline

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 November 2012
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a photo of a large grey ship in a dock
HMS Caroline, the last survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland© Courtesy NMRN

The National Museum of the Royal Navy has launched an appeal for anyone connected to the World War One ship HMS Caroline to make contact.

The ship is the last remaining floating survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland, and the museum is currently compiling an oral history reflecting its many different functions and duties during its 99 years in service.

Originally launched in 1914, Caroline went on to serve throughout the war, both in the North Sea and the East Indies, before settling in Belfast in the 1920s as a training ship.

a photo of three ships wheels in an engine room
Much of HMS Caroline's machinery is intact.© NRNM
During World War II she was pressed into service as the Royal Navy's HQ in Belfast Harbour, before returning to duty as a training ship for the Royal Naval Reserve until her decomissioning in 2009.

Caroline received a stay of execution in October 2012 when the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the Northern Ireland Department for Enterprise Trade and Investment agreed a plan to restore, preserve and exhibit her in time for the 100th anniversary of Jutland.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, the Director General of the museum said the new project would help “bring Caroline back to life”. He said that he hoped staff would be able to “collect as many stories from relatives of those who served on her and possibly actual veterans themselves.”

A distinctive part of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and maritime history, it is hoped that people who have had a connection with the ship will come forward so their memories can be recorded.

  • Anyone with any relevant information is invited to contact the National Museum of the Royal Navy through the Friends of Caroline organisation led by Pete Bleakley: email: pete@bigdukesix.co.uk
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