Heritage Lottery Fund announces details of £1.79 million earmarked to restore Gallipoli gunboat

Posted on centenarynews.com on 02 October 2013
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The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced that it has earmarked £1.79 million for the restoration of HMS Monitor M33, one of the UK's last surviving First World War warships.

Minister for Tourism, Hugh Robertson welcomed the "great news", describing the ship as having "a distinguished history" and as providing "a tangible and compelling link to the First World War for people today". 

The ship was built in 1915 and saw service in the Dardanelles Campaign, between 1915-1918.

In 1919, HMS Monitor was refitted and was involved in the Russian Civil War covering the withdrawal of Allied and White Russian troops from North Russia during the Dvina River Campaign.

Following her return from Russia, she spent the rest of her active life in Portsmouth Harbour.

The funding provided by Heritage Lottery Fund will allow Hampshire County Council and the National Museum of the Royal Navy to "develop detailed plans which will see HMS M33 brought back to life in time to be a part of the Centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli Campaign in 2015".

Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and the Countryside, Councillor Keith Chapman, said: “We are absolutely delighted by this fantastic news. We have long-known this warship is of national and international significance".

Professor Dominic Tweddle of the Natioanal Museum of the Royal Navy added: “This is a great example of a successful partnership coming together to save a precious part of our national naval heritage. We’re absolutely thrilled. We’ve long seen M33 as both culturally and historically important, and this symbolises the start of a new era for her.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund's Chief Executive, Carole Souter, said that the warship "provides a fascinating insight into the role the Navy played in the First World War", and that the restoration project will "enable visitors to go aboard the historic warship for the first time and explore the stories of those who fought on board".

A final bid will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund early next year, which if successful, will allow the physical restoration to begin.

Currently owned by Hampshire County Council, the aim is to transfer ownership of HMS M33 to the NMRN by 2015.

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund press release

Date of press release publication: 30/09/2013

Images courtesy of the Heritage Lottery Fund

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News