Armed Forces Weekend 2013 - Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

A day at the dockyard supporting HMS M33
Saturday 29 June 2013

I attended the National Armed Forces Day celebrations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as a member of The Bluejackets re-enactment Group.

In addition to The Bluejackets I was joined by members of the Staffordshire Living History group.

A variety of activities were taking place, including tours of HMS Westminster and HMS Defender, with various demonstrations, displays and re-enactments.

Our main activity during the day was to publicise and promote Monitor M33 which is in dry dock at Portsmouth, adjacent to HMS Victory.

M33 is one of only two surviving British warships from World War One.

A brief history and details of the ship and her restoration can be found on the Hampshire County Council website:

We spent the day on the quay next to M33 talking to members of the public about the ship.

We also displayed items of kit and some of the weapons that would have been used aboard during the Great War.

The gas-powered Lewis Gun proved to be a popular exhibit, especially with children who were allowed to fire it in return for a donation to the restoration fund.




Currently M33 is part-way through restoration and conservation, with the exterior restoration well advanced, including the "dazzle" paintwork pattern on her hull.

It is hoped that funding will become available to enable the interior of the vessel to be restored and opened to the public in time for her centenary celebrations in 2015.
Although HMS M33 is not open to the public at the moment we were given a tour of the decks and interior of the vessel to view the progress of the restoration work.