First World War warship HMS M.33 opens to public

Credit: The National Museum of the Royal Navy

A small ship with a big history, this unique warship will offer a taste of the ill-fated Gallipoli with an immersive battle experience.

Credit: The National Museum of the Royal Navy
HMS M.33 will be open to the public on 7 August at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Credit: The National Museum of the Royal Navy

The only First World War Navy warship to survive the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign will open to the public for the first time next week offering a unique immersive battle experience.

On 7 August The National Museum of the Royal Navy will open HMS M.33 after a distinctive and extensive conservation project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It will be the only First World War warship to allow visitors to walk her decks this year in its position in No.1 Dry Dock at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, alongside HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum.

HMS M.33 is of great historic importance, despite the fact she was constructed and sent into service so speedily that she did not even warrant a name.

Although the Gallipoli campaign claimed 100,000 lives of personnel from all round the world, M.33 was considered a lucky ship. Despite being showered by shell splinters, she suffered no casualties.

In the unadorned interior of the ship, visitors will enter an immersive battle experience. The cavernous Engine Room will house a digital projection of the Gallipoli campaign unfolding which is projected onto the historic hull, alongside restored areas that evoke 1915 allowing visitors to engage with the history of the vessel, as well as the stories of those who lived on board.

Matthew Sheldon, project director, said: “HMS M.33 is a small ship but has a big history. It will be wonderful to open the ship to visitors this year on her centenary. Finally we’ll be able to share the story of her part in the Gallipoli campaign, and reveal what it was like for the 72 crew who were crammed on board.”

The opening launch on August 6 is free to ticket holders. A large scale community event, local schools will be making sculptures to represent the fleet that served at Gallipoli.

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