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Thousands Pack HMS Belfast for her 75th birthday bash on the Thames

PUBLISHED: 18:49 18 March 2013 | UPDATED: 18:49 18 March 2013

Lord Mayor Belfast Gavin Robinson meets City of London Sea Cadets

Lord Mayor Belfast Gavin Robinson meets City of London Sea Cadets

IWM

Even the rain couldn’t keep the veterans or the crowds away from HMS Belfast’s birthday bash when the historic Second World War battle cruiser celebrated her 75th anniversary.

Veteran John Harrison, 98, and comrades from Second World WarVeteran John Harrison, 98, and comrades from Second World War

Those who served on the vessel during the Arctic convoys, D-Day Landings and Korean conflict returned to the Pool of London where the vessel is now permanently moored as a floating Naval museum.

The 20 veterans saw the alderman Lord Mayor of Belfast, Gavin Robinson, present a shipbuilder’s plate from Harland & Wolff who launched the Belfast on St Patrick’s Day in 1938 in the city that bears its name.

Sailors from HMS Westminster and Yeoman from the Tower of London and City of London Sea Cadets also filled the decks.

The Mayor then broke a traditional bottle of bubbly over the side to launch a weekend of celebrations through to St Patrick’s Day itself on Sunday.

HMS Belfast by The TowerHMS Belfast by The Tower

The Belfast had 2,000 visitors—twice as many as expected—to tour the ship and watch presentations like the simulated firing of her four inch guns in battle.

The veterans entertained youngsters with their seafaring tales of what it was like at sea.

The rain just added a touch of reality to the tough conditions when Britain was at war.

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