Preservation in Action!
This Autumn a four-inch drill round was transported from the main high angle magazine on five deck to the boat deck, using the newly restored shell hoist. Electrical power has been replaced by manpower, with the machine now being driven using emergency hand turning gear.
The project to bring the gun hoist back to working order was carried out by Mr Peter Motton, one of HMS Belfast’s dedicated volunteers. Peter’s work on this project has been carried out over an 18 month period, and has been a real feat of skill and effort much appreciated by everyone at HMS Belfast from her Director, Brad King to the 600 strong HMS Belfast Veterans’ Association.
When Peter took over this project, the hoist headgear had been heavily painted and corrosion was breaking through in several places. All of the seals on various openings, which were perished to some extent, have now been replaced with new rubbers to ensure that water cannot get inside the hoist, ensuring that we can preserve it for the medium-term.
The internal hoisting gear was covered in very thick preservative grease, which was probably applied by dockyard staff when the ship was finally retired to the docks in 1964. This grease has ensured that the chain mechanism has been protected. The loading bay in the magazine was also found to be in good condition, helping the project to move along with limited surprises and with few unforeseen costs.
Once the finishes are complete, we hope to use the hoist in conjunction with a four-inch gun mounting to carry out demonstrations run by the Wavy Navy Re-enactment Group, Naval enthusiasts who visit HMS Belfast to help bring her history to life for her visitors. You will be able to see how rounds were brought up from the magazine, loaded into the gun and fired.