• Belfast Between The Wars

FIRST SHIP IN ULSTER NAVY: ARRIVAL OF H.M.S. CAROLINE, STORMY TRIP FROM LIZARD

Belfast Telegraph , Thursday 7th February 1924


H.M.S. Caroline, the light cruiser which has been given to the Ulster Government for use as a training ship, berthed at the Musgrave Channel, Belfast, this morning.


The warship was brought by two Admiralty tugs from Portsmouth, where she has been lying up for the past two years. The vessel left Portsmouth last Saturday, and after a stormy passage reached Belfast Lough on Tuesday. The final stage of the trip from the Lizard was marked by a heavy gale, which made navigation a difficult task, especially as the warship was without steam. Owing to a variety of circumstances H.M.S. Caroline was not brought up until this morning, and this trip round, which was longer than expected, resulted in food being rather short for the crew of 70 men.


Without winches or other deck apparatus for bringing vessels alongside, it was a tedious job berthing H.M.S. Caroline. The crew had literally to pull her up alongside the jetty, although the tugs helped by pushing. Hauling up the wire hawsers in the biting cold was none too easy on the sailors’ hands.


Captain R. F. Hartland Mahon, R.N., who has been invited by the Ulster Government to arrange for the setting up of a division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in Ulster, was present at the quay, and welcomed Lieut.-Commander Laidlow, R.N., who brought the warship round.


COMPARATIVELY NEW SHIP


H.M.S. Caroline has a displacement of 3,750 tons. Badly in need of painting, she is otherwise in good order and has all her fighting equipment, except that the guns are dismantled. H.M.S. Caroline is a comparatively new ship, having been completed in 1915 [1914]. She took part in the Jutland fight and sank a submarine. Her armament comprises one 6 inch gun, three 4 inch guns, and two twelve-pounders, in addition to searchlights, torpedo tubes, etc., which will be of great service when training commences on 1st April next.


The warship is splendidly suited for use as a training ship, and the authorities are counted lucky in securing such an up-to-date and well-equipped vessel.


It has been decided to carry out alterations to the vessel. These include the building of a large deckhouse to enable drill to take place in all weathers. This will not interfere with the rig of the ship.


The crew which brought the vessel round return to England, and it is expected a caretaker will be put on board.


All those interested in the R.N.V.R. scheme are very pleased at the generous way in which the Admiralty have treated Ulster. A better ship for the purpose could hardly have been obtained. She is fitted with wireless and was on the sale list before it was decided to give her to Ulster. Thus she becomes the first ship in the Ulster Navy.


Read more about HMS Caroline here.


You can read the diaries of William Crick, who served on HMS Caroline during the Battle of Jutland, on Leeds University Library's website here.