Tower Bridge Sunrise

Been a while since I took anything to post on here. Got loads of Family Snaps, plenty of the kids at the caravan but naff all else.
So I’ve had to resort to digging out one from a couple of years ago. This was taken when I worked in London, and was always up there early to get a head start on the day. During the Auumn, some of the sunrises are quite spectacular, so I took to breaking up the walk to the office by wandering off of the usual route with a coffee and the camera. One of the best places I found to clear my mind, watch the sun come up and just relax for 10 minutes was the middle of London Bridge, looking towards home some 30 odd miles away.¬† Unfortunately,¬† HMS Belfast was shrouded in scaffolding (again), and behind me there were hundreds of people scurrying like rats to their places of work, so it’s not quite a serene and peaceful as you may think from this picture.

Sunrise over Tower Bridge

HMS Belfast is a museum ship, permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum. Belfast was originally a Royal Navy light cruiser and served during the Second World War and Korean War.

Construction of Belfast, named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and one of ten Town class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939 Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Returning to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour, Belfast was the largest and arguably most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy at the time. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943 and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950-52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

Expected to be disposed of as scrap, in 1967 efforts were initiated to preserve Belfast as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence was established, and reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971 the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The Trust was successful in its efforts, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971 Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year. As a branch of a national museum, Belfast is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, by admissions income, and by the museum’s commercial activities.

Belfast is a cruiser of the second Town class. The Town class had originated in the early 1930s as the Admiralty’s response to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Mogami class cruiser, an 11,200 ton cruiser mounting fifteen 6-inch guns with a top speed exceeding 35 knots. The Admiralty’s requirement called for a 9,000 ton cruiser, sufficiently armoured to withstand a direct hit from an 8-inch shell, capable of 32 knots and mounting twelve 6-inch guns. The original proposal included sixteen 6-inch guns, in quadruple turrets, but an effective quadruple turret proved impossible to manufacture, and triple turrets were substituted.[2] Seaplanes carried aboard would enable shipping lanes to be patrolled over a wide area, and the class was also to be capable of its own anti-aircraft defence. The first of the Town class cruisers, the 9,100 ton HMS Southampton, was launched on 10 March 1936.

Construction of HMS Belfast began later that year, with her keel laid on 10 December 1936 at Harland and Wolff in Belfast. Her expected cost was ¬£2,141,514; of which the guns cost ¬£75,000 and the aircraft (two Supermarine Walruses) ¬£66,500. She was launched on Saint Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938 by Anne Chamberlain, the wife of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. By this point the Town class had evolved into three subgroups; Belfast and her sister ship HMS Edinburgh formed the final group with a displacement of 10,000 tons, the greater weight due to thicker armour.

(Image, copyright Dave Frost 2010, HMS Belfast Historical information from Wikipedia, the free encycolpedia