Crowdfunding bid to complete restoration of WWI veteran HMS M.33 for Gallipoli centenary

By Culture24 Reporter | 13 February 2015

The little ship with a big history, HMS M.33, now has a crowdfunding campaign to help her restoration for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign

a photo of a battleship in dry dock
First World War veteran vessel HMS M.33 © National Museum of the Royal Navy
The National Museum of the Royal Navy is venturing into the world of crowdfunding as it launches a final bid to restore a First World War veteran in time for her anniversary year.

HMS M.33 is the sole surviving Royal Navy vessel from the Gallipoli campaign, fought between April 1915 and January 1916 in what is now modern day Turkey.

Over 100,000 personnel from around the world lost their lives during the fierce campaign and the museum wants the ship to be the backdrop to one of three events being commemorated nationally to mark the centenary when she opens on August 6 2015.

A target of £19,150 has been set for the online campaign as a nod to her service at Gallipoli in 1915.

HMS M.33 is a sole surviving coastal bombardment ‘Monitor’ of 568 tons, boasting a shallow draft that enabled her to get close to shore and bombard targets inland. At Gallipoli she brought her two powerful 6 inch guns to bear on the enemy trenches.

Essentially a “metal box” without the usual comforts of battleships of the period, the 72 officers and men who served aboard her were cramped together in primitive conditions, away from home for three years.

a photo of the empty interior of a ship with girders and planking
Inside HMS M.33 © National Museum of the Royal Navy
The M33 restoration project is part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s wider Great War At Sea 1914 – 1918 programme marking the Royal Navy’s role in the First World War.

Accompanying the reopening will be a special exhibition, Gallipoli: Myth and Memory, which opens on March 28 2015.

Matthew Sheldon, Project Director for the M33 launch said people donating to the crowdfunding campaign would receive a number of benefits ranging from social media “shout outs” and free tickets to limited edition postcards and special tours of the ship with an experienced curator.

“Most importantly though," he added, "those donating have the unique opportunity to contribute to saving a fantastic piece of our naval heritage that will be open to visitors for many, many years.

“We describe her as a little ship with a big history and the beauty of crowdfunding is that you don’t need to contribute large amounts to ensure she is safe for the future.”

The target of £19,150 represents just under 10% of the remaining amount of £250,000 to be raised by the Museum for the completion of the fundraising campaign.

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More from Culture24's First World War section.

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