Royal Navy and Maritime Book Reviews PROVIDED BY - Rob Jerrard
HMS Belfast
H.M.S. Belfast
Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamas - For so much, how shall we repay?" - The motto of HMS Belfast and of the City of Belfast

I served in Her when known as HMS BELLEROPHON, Reserve Ships Portsmouth, HMS Belfast - Cruiser. Now in The Pool of London on Display to the Public.
My Service was 12th June 1967 to 13th June 1968.
Photographed in Hong Kong 1950

H.M.S. Belfast is certainly a Ship that deserves to be Remembered.

HMS Belfast was an IMPROVED Southampton Class Cruiser. Her Sister Ship HMS Edinburgh was lost in action. The original Class consisted of HM Ships Newcastle, Sheffield, Birmingham, Glasgow & Liverpool and the War Losses, Gloucester, Manchester & Southampton. Any Photographs would be welcome.

H.M.S. Belfast Some History

Built by Harland & Wolff at Belfast. Launched 17th March 1938 & completed 3rd August 1939. In November 1939 she was serverly damaged by a mine in the Firth of Forth. She took part in the Sinking of the German Battlecruiser SCHARNHORST & the invasion of Normandy. She saw action in the Korean War.

Korean War September 1951 to November 1952

A Cold Country Leaving Belfast the easy way High Speed Make and Mend

The above 5 photographs were supplied by Chris Prescott who's father served on HMS Belfast from 1950-1953. His name was Ken Prescott he was a Telegraphist. His father took these Photographs which are copyright

H.M.S. "BELFAST" 1950- 1952

PRO TANTO QUID RETRIBUAMUS (Roughly: "We'll give as good as we get")


Captain Sir Aubrey St. Clair Ford Bart, D.S.O. & BAR R.N.

(July 1950-November 1951)

Captain A. C. Duckworth, D.S.O. D.S.C. (November 1951-To date)


Harland & Wolff, Belfast. 10th December 1936.

3rd August 1939. 11,550 tons.

23 feet. 950.

Builders: Laid Down: Completed: Displacement: Draught: Complement: Guns:   12-6 inch, 8-4 inch A.A., 32-2 pdr. Pom

Poms, 9-40 m.m. A.A.

Tubes: 6-21 inch.

Machinery: Parson's geared turbines: 4 shafts.

Horse Power: 80,000.

Speed: 32 Knots.

General Notes: Improved Liverpool type. Largest cruiser in  the Royal Navy. Mined off Rosyth 21st November 1939. Broke her back and was practically rebuilt.    External bulges fitted adding 2 feet to beam.           

Sister ship Edinburgh lost in action.

With her on service in Korea at that time was HMS Kenya, show here May 1952 at Sasebo Japan

I would welcome any Photographs of her taken by Crew members at any stage of her career.

Do you have a story to tell about the Belfast, Her sister ship the Edinburgh, or any of the Class. Please write and tell me.

·         Royal Navy opening page

All Photographs are copyright and should not be reproduced without permission


HMS Belfast was built at Harland & Wolff Shipyard. Below is a Review of "From Belfast Lough to D-Day" a booklet Published by the North Down Heritage Centre.

From Belfast Lough to D-Day

A booklet published by North Down Heritage Centre

North Down Borough Council, Town Hall

Bangor Castle, Bangor, Co. Down

Northern Ireland. BT20 4BT

ISBN 0 9511562 17

This very interesting booklet, (64 pages, including many photographs), was first published in 1994 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of D-Day.

On the back cover of the booklet is a photograph of a plaque which is on the North Breakwater at Bangor in Co. Down. The plaque reads, "From here started the long hard march to allied victory - Dwight D Eisenhower.  Opposite this point was the gathering area for a massive convoy of mixed ships which sailed to arrive at the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, 6th, June 1944".

Ask most people what the Harland and Wolff  shipyard in Belfast  (Harland and Wolff was formed in1861 by Edward James Harland (1831-1895) and Hamburg-born Gustav Wilhelm Wolff (1834-1913 ) is famous for, and they will reply that it is where the Titanic was built.   True, but it should also be famous for its contribution to the war effort between 1939 and 1945 when its workforce of 30,000 delivered some 30 new ships each and every year of the war, as well as undertaking countless repair jobs.

I always knew that Northern Ireland had played a significant role in the Second World War, but it was not until I read this booklet that I realised how important that role was.

Northern Ireland was, of course, and still is, a part of the United Kingdom, and occupied a crucial geographical and strategic position, with Atlantic ports denied to Britain because the Irish Republic, (Eire), remained ‘neutral’ throughout the war.

Belfast Lough and indeed Londonderry, (Lough Foyle), became important rendezvous points for convoys.

This excellent booklet also mentions the many new airfields - a dozen or more, that were built in Northern Ireland to provide air cover and reconnaissance out over the Atlantic. In addition, Lough Erne had several bases equipped for flying boats, and it was in fact a Catalina from Lough Erne that spotted and reported the position of the ‘Bismark’.

The importance of Belfast, the shipyards and the nearby Shorts aircraft factories was not lost on the Germans who launched many air raids on the area. On Easter Tuesday 1941 two hundred tons of bombs and eight hundred incendiaries were dropped causing the most costly air raid in the U.K. in human terms, outside London, of the entire war.

Much of the booklet is taken up with personal stories from local people, naval ratings from both sides of the Atlantic, and other memories. They are all extremely interesting, and I am so pleased that they were included.

Once America had joined the war the build up of strength in Northern Ireland really took off with an estimated 300,000 U.S. servicemen passing through, and with a pre D-Day peak of 120,000 stationed at one time.

As the build up to D-Day progressed, the scene in Belfast Lough must have been inspiring. At the end of May 1944, the following ships, (amongst others), were moored in readiness:- U.S.S. Battleships Texas, Nevada, and Arkansas. U.S.S. Cruisers Tuscaloosa and Quincy, the Royal Navy Cruisers Glasgow, Bellona, Black Prince, Enterprise and Hawkins, and the Free French Cruisers Montcalm and Georges Leygues.

The booklet then describes the roles that these various ships and their crews undertook during D-Day and afterwards.  In my view this book is a mine of information for anyone interested in naval history of the Second World War. Long may it remain in print.

Andy Day. 2007.