HMS Belfast: Cruiser 1939 Book Review


HMS Belfast: Cruiser 1939

Seaforth Historic Ships Series

By Richard Johnstone-Bryden

Paperback, 128 pages, indexed

Published by Seaforth Publishing, 2013

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1848321554

ISBN-13: 978-1848321557

Dimensions: 6.8 x 9.7 inches

HMS Belfast was a Town-class light cruiser, armed with twelve 6 inch guns and designed with the Washington Naval Treaty’s 10,000 ton limit.  She had an active career, intercepting German blockade runners until she was mined on 21NOV39.  After repairs she escorted Arctic convoys to Russia and fought in the Battle of North Cape against the Scharnhorst.  She supported the Normandy landings, and was sent to the Pacific at the end of WWII.  She provided naval gunfire support for UN troops during the Korean War, and was finally decommissioned in 1963.  She is currently preserved as a museum and is moored in the Thames in London.

Much of the interior of the ship has been restored and is open to the public.  The ship is also used to host various banquets, receptions, and meetings which increase her utility and help fund her upkeep.  I was surprised at how much of the ship can be seen and at the quality of the displays.  The book contains several hundred sharp color photographs, well reproduced on glossy paper, a quality effort.  Captions are informative and well written.  The overall impression is similar to the Aero Detail series of books.

A detailed photographic essay is always valuable to modelers and historians, especially to those of us on the wrong side of the pond who may never have the opportunity to see her in person.  This is a particularly well done walk through, recommended to anyone interested in ships or museums.  The only room for improvement would be to produce the book in a larger format to better enjoy the photography.

I stumbled across this volume at Half Price Books for a pittance and immediately put it into the basket.  The series was new to me, they detail museum ships in England.  Other books in the series are HMS Victory, SS Great Britain, HMS Warrior, HMS Cavalier, and HMS Trincomalee.  Recommended, pick this one up!