The First World War monitor HMS M33 is the latest addition to the collection of warships on display at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
Restored at a cost of £2.5m, largely paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the vessel saw service at Gallipoli in 1915, when her guns bombarded Turkish defensive positions in support of British and Commonwealth infantry offensives.
Essentially a floating gun platform with a shallow keel, M33 was far from being the most comfortable vessel in the First World War Royal Navy and creature comforts were decidedly limited for her crew of sailors and marines.
That workaday aspect of the vessel has been carefully preserved, adds project director Matthew Sheldon: ‘We want that impression of a real working ship to come across. ‘I think she is a wonderful contrast to Victory, to Mary Rose, to Warrior and to our own national museum. She is that piece of the First World War history that nobody has been able to see before so I really hope people will come and enjoy seeing her.’
‘Flirting with danger’
Following her service in the Dardanelles, M33 sailed to northern Russia during the British campaign against the Bolshevik forces, at which time she was given the distinctive ‘dazzle’ paint scheme that she exhibits today.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, added: ‘Flirting with danger, but never hit, she lost not a single man. She was indeed a lucky ship.
‘Beautifully restored by a dedicated team she reminds of the sacrifice and bravery of those on all sides.’
To find out more about the restored First World War monitor M33 click here.