HMS Belfast & Churchill War Rooms (London - England)

Indian Navy had a aircraft carrier ship named INS Vikrant which played a crucial role in Indo-Pak war of 1971. It was built for WWII by British but was never completed. Post Indian-Independance, India purchased this ship. A very similar ship which played a crucial role in WWII on behalf of Britain was HMS Belfast.
Today HMS Belfast is a museum and is standing in River Thames. To begin with its a huuuuge ship and in several floors. After seeing the maritime ship which was easy to navigate through, this was very complicated! There are 9 decks to begin the complexity - with 5 upper decks above and 3 lower decks below the main deck! The entrance is through this floor. Here are also a couple of exhibitions which has life size dolls that depict the life in sea, incl their mess desk, work and leisure, incl inhouse surgeons, dentists, tailors, cooks and many more!!! 

Deck 1 is where there are 4 quick firing twin 4-inch mountings, complete with its shells. This floor also holds the 16 ft Fast Motorboat. It is indeed a bit confusing to navigate through the ship and for quite sometime whichever staircase I went to, said 'No Entry'. 
However somehow I managed to reach the deck above. In this deck was the huge anchors and the majestic 40mm Bofors anti aircraft guns in open air! This deck also has some cabins incl the Captain's.

The deck above is where the EWO or Electronic Warfare Office is. This is where are the radars, radios and transmitters where located. This was also used to intercept enemy transmission as well as confuse them! Of the several ones here today, the Type 603 was from INS Delhi! The topmost deck was ofcourse the Flag deck which was used to hoist flags, flash morse code etc. This also has the gun direction platform which controls all the 6 inch guns. There is also a fabulous telescope here from which I could spot the files in the building opposite.

The decks below where all the storage were kept incl clothing, tobacco, shells etc as well as the boiler room, engine room etc. 2 important places are the shell room where the arms where kept and fed from and foward steering position from where the ship was steered. 

The Churchill War Rooms was the secret underground headquarters. As expected just across St.James Park, this place has only its entrance above and rest all under ground. This place has an office for the PM, a room for his lady and rooms dedicated to several of his officers like his detectives, army majors, secretaries etc who practically lived inside this space. 
A weather indicator there told them the situation outside like Fine when it was ok and Windy when there's Air Raid outside! 
There were also official rooms like a couple of meeting rooms, map rooms, typing rooms, radio rooms etc. Everything is till date maintained as it is which some life size dolls that depict the way of life then.
An exhibition room with interviews of old people who were a part of the wars was the most touching part. One of the rooms that looks like the toilet of the PM from outside, was actually a radio room where Churchill spoke with Roosevelt!

Another separate exhibition room behind told the about the life of Churchill in a timeline. One small thing that totally attracted me where these cartoons that were dropped in India by Japan. These contain Anti-British slogans as India was under British Raj then, in an effort to prevent Indian soldiers from participating in the war on behalf of Britain. 
The displays were good with sensors that activate the voice over of the displayed imageries and products incl rare photographs, original maps used, letters written to Churchill by his wife etc. 
Though I knew of Churchill as a war leader, I didn't know all these days that he won Nobel prize for literature and was also an painter and sculptor!!! 



To Get There:
Nearest railway station: London Bridge and Westminster
Entry Ticket to HMS Belfast & Churchill War Rooms: £14.50 & £17.25
Available to buy online on their website.

P.S: I was invited by Imperial War Museums to visit HMS Belfast & Churchill War Rooms for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Recently Aamir Khan bought a Bajaj bike made from the real iron of the Vikrant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful tour to take! War ships have always fascinated me with their intricacies. This is something I would love to take my son to. He would freak!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I saw this ship when I was on my Thames River Cruise and wanted to pay it a visit. The next time we make it to London, I'm definitely doing this. So glad to hear that you did it and thanks for sharing it with us here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really find it amazing how people truly gives value to things that have played a major role in the past. I am always amaze with this kind of whole idea. Keeping and preserving what has been left in the past will always have a huge space in my heart. I really want to go there someday and share my experiences with my offspring in the future so they'll visit it soon too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's great that HMS Belfast has been converted into a museum. History has been preserved and can be appreciated by future generations. Touring the ship must have been an awesome experience for you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The ship is like a museum in itself. There are so many rooms and decks and it will be interesting to navigate it without a guide. It's like discovering treasure waiting to be found.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I find the WWII very interesting and I love reading about it, or going to museums that feature WWII memorabilia. This is definitely a place that I would love to tour.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is just a great thing to value such a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing, you can also visit www.sabtrends.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. It does give you a feel of the war era. It would be an excellent place to visit and revisit those war days.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It reminded me of the INS KurUsura submarine museum in Visakhapatnam. It feels great to visit this kind of places and remember how tough it would have been for people in there. Nice post :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. These are places that are eerie to visit. I am reminded of our visit to Pearl Harbor and the feeling of thankfulness that we did not live through those war years.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really enjoy reading about your adventures in the UK! I really felt like I was there with you :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amazing history! I didn't know that INS Vikrant was built by the British.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Uk has actually got some lovely tours to show the history and others stories attached to it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, this will be something nice to visit, to learn about the WWII in London. I'm always more familiar with the WWII in South East Asia, so this is definitely something different.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is such a great day out in London, I am glad to got to experience it and share it for everyone else to see. I love seeing all the tobacco shells, so interesting.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...!
Why not leave a comment.?
And tell your friends..!!!

cookieassistant.com