80th anniversary celebrations on HMS Belfast


21 February 2018
8977-69108.jpg Arctic Convoys Ice on the superstructure of HMS Belfast, November 1943
HMS Belfast will celebrate its 80th anniversary in style, with family activities and a nine-tiered cake created by Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo.

HMS Belfast will celebrate its 80th anniversary in style, with family activities and a nine-tiered cake created by Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo.

The celebrations will take place on 17 and 18 March 2018 with free on-board events and activities. To mark the anniversary weekend, HMS Belfast has commissioned Sophie Faldo, the winner of last year's Great British Bake Off, to create a spectacular nine-tiered cake inspired by the ship’s nine decks. 

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Visitors can enjoy a free slice of Sophie’s cake before climbing ladders, ducking through hatches and exploring the real decks of HMS Belfast.

HMS Belfast is the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship, with a history that extends to the Arctic Convoys, D-Day, the Cold War, Korea and beyond. Moored on the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast tells the story of life on board and explores how war affects and impacts on the morale, resilience and determination of a ship’s community.

The attraction takes visitors on a journey though the ship’s nine decks and show them what life was like for the 950-strong company, through the real life stories of the people who served on her. 

On 17 March, visitors will also have the chance to meet surviving veterans from the ship's 80-year history and learn what life was like serving on board the historic warship that saw action at The Battle of North Cape, D-Day and in Korea. The veterans, who will be stationed in key areas relating to their active service, will be on board for 80 minutes to share their stories.

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Event highlights

Throughout the weekend, a number of free nautical themed activities will be taking place. During Signals at Sea workshops, families will discover how the Royal Navy sent messages from one ship to another using lights, radios, codes and flags. As well as learning how to send their own names in Morse Code, families will learn about a new signal, especially created for HMS Belfast’s anniversary. Additional on board activities on both Saturday and Sunday will include:

  • nautical temporary tattooing
  • a photo booth
  • a competition to win a HMS Belfast construction set

 For visitors over the age of 18, a free rum punch inspired by the ‘tots, sippers and gulpers’ enjoyed by HMS Belfast’s crew will be available.

Sophie Faldo said: ‘I am truly honoured to have been asked to make the cake to support the celebrations for the 80th anniversary of HMS Belfast. Being a serving officer in the Army, I relish the opportunity to mix my military background with my interest in baking, so I've put my heart and soul into making this nine-tiered cake, which I hope people will come along and enjoy on the anniversary weekend.’

HMS Belfast, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2JH; tel: 0207 940 6300; website.

Images copyright Imperial War Museum/ HMS Belfast