World War One Gallipoli Campaign Ship HMS M33 to Regain Its Glory

The Gallipoli Campaign from World War One is set to be brought back to its old glory as the sum of £1.75m has been made available to start renovation work on it. The ship, which is the only surviving one from the First World War, will be accessible to visitors after its overhaul.

The total estimated cost of restoring the ship is £2.4m and £1.75m was received as a lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The remaining part of the budget will be taken care of by the Hampshire County Council who has given a grant to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Parked on dock number one at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Hampshire, the HMS M33 monitor vessel is sitting beside the HMS Victory.

The ship is anticipated to be completed next year. Just in time to be used for next year’s centenary celebrations.

Describing the ship’s importance, Matthew Sheldon, the project director said it was small but its history was big. According to him, restoring the ship will give them the opportunity to demonstrate the story behind the 72 aircrew that were jam-packed on board on the ship to battle in the Gallipoli Campaign of World War One.

With a 568-tonne M29-class monitor, HMS M33’s hull is shallow and as such, it made it easy for the ship to get closer to shore and shoot at their land based targets.

Between April 1915 and January 1916, over 100,000 service men’s lives were taken in the Gallipoli Campaign battle of World War One.

Apart from the Gallipoli Campaign, the M33 was used during the Russian Civil War to pull troops out of northern Russia between 1918 and 1919 when the Dvina River Campaign was ongoing.

After the battle, the remaining active service years of the ship were spent in Portsmouth – where it still resides.

Expressing joy over the grants the National Museum of the Royal Navy received from the Heritage Lottery Fund to perform restoration work on the ship, Professor Dominic Tweddle, the museum’s director said it will enable them use it as an enduring remembrance to let people know World War One was fought both on sea and on land.

According to Tweddle, after the renovation, there’ll be a new entrance for guests to enter and experience the ship’s history as well as its importance in the Gallipoli campaign, the BBC News reports.

Speaking about the Royal Navy’s role in the various First World War battles, HLF chief executive Carole Souter said it is important to make sure the populace are much more aware of their efforts.

Applauding the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing the money to restore the M33, Souter said the guest that will be visiting the ship when it’s completed will have the opportunity to learn about the role it played during the Great War and the Gallipoli Campaign in particular. In addition, visitors will have first-hand experience of the conditions the sailors were faced with while battling their enemies during World War One.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE