HMS Caroline at Harland and Wolff - 1982
Making a voyage from the Milewater Basin on the West side of the Harbour to the Hamilton Dock on the East side may not seem much an event, but if you're a 62 year old cruiser, with no engines or propellers, and haven't been to sea for 52 years even a 100 yard tow across the Lagan can set problems.
Fortunately when H.M.S. "Caroline" made the journey in June the only problem which arose was how to get the 446 foot long Ship into a 457 foot long dock without the aid of a tug. The answer was a simple one for Ship Repair Department - you borrow Transport Department's Volvo tractor and pull her in.
In the event everything went according to plan and the largest ship ever to be docked in the Hamilton Dock was set down on the keel blocks with out incident.
'Caroline" was built in 1914 by Cammell Lairds at Birkenhead. Although she had torpedoes fired at her during the, Battle Of Jutland in 1916 she came through the First World War unscathed. 'After the war she served in the East Indies station but was paid off in 1922. Two years later she was moved to Belfast to become the headquarters ship for the Ulster Division Of the Royal Navy Reserve. She has been here ever since, and once every five years comes across the Lagan for a wash and brush-up.
Apart from her engines, which have not been used for over 50 years, she is in very good condition and still retains her armour plating - some of it 4 inches thick. Her deck has been completely rebuilt to accommodate a large training hall which acts as a gunnery school and assembly, point for the ship's company. Many of the cabins below deck have been converted into classrooms and living accommodation for the ship's permanent staff.
Scraping off the marine growth which had accummulated under the waterline.
After her dry-docking "Caroline" was moved to the Alexandra Wharf while a survey was made of her original mooring to see if she could be put back there safely.
All is "Ship-shape and Bristol fashion as HMS Caroline prepares to leave dock.
HMS Caroline at Harland and Wolff - 2016
October 2016, the 3,700-ton veteran light cruiser, sailed to Harland and Wolff Ship Repair's Belfast Dock for a scheduled hull inspection and repair.
The dry dock work included removal of the marine growth, stripping paint from the hull, ultra-sonic testing to check for areas of weakness and repairs to the fabric of the hull.
Harland and Wolff's love affair with the Caroline goes back to 1924, on her arrival in Belfast the ship was handed over to Harland and Wolff to convert her into a Depot and Training Ship. Her boilers were removed and the space converted into workshops and classrooms. Also, a superstructure was built aft of the funnels to provide the Drill Space, on completion of this work Caroline was moored in Musgrave Channel.