M33 in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, April 2010, restored into dazzle camouflage
|Ordered:||15 March 1915|
|Launched:||22 May 1915|
|Commissioned:||24 June 1915|
|Renamed:||HMS Minerva (1925)
Hulk C23 (1939)
HMS M33 (1990s)
|Fate:||Museum ship, Portsmouth|
|Class & type:||M29-class monitor|
|Displacement:||580 tons deep load|
|Length:||177 ft 3 in (54.03 m)|
|Beam:||31 ft (9.4 m)|
|Draught:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Installed power:||400 hp (300 kW)|
|Speed:||9.6 knots (18 km/h)|
|Range:||1,440 nautical miles (2,670 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h)|
HMS M33 is an M29-class monitor of the Royal Navy built in 1915. She saw active service in the Mediterranean during World War I and in Russia during the Allied Intervention in 1919. She was used subsequently as a mine-laying training ship, fuelling hulk, boom defence workshop and floating office, being renamed HMS Minerva and Hulk C23 during her long life. She passed to Hampshire County Council in the 1980s and was restored to original condition and is now located at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. She is one of only three surviving Royal Navy warships of the First World War, along with the 1914 Light cruiser HMS Caroline in Belfast, and the Flower class sloop HMS President (1918), (originally HMS Saxifrage) moored on the Thames at Blackfriars.
M33 was built as part of the rapid ship construction campaign following the outbreak of World War I. Ordered in March 1915, she was launched in May and commissioned in June; an impressive shipbuilding feat especially considering that numerous other ships of her type were being built in the same period.
World War I
Armed with a pair of 6-inch (152 mm) guns and having a shallow draught, M33 was designed for coastal bombardment. Commanded by Lieutenant Commander Preston-Thomas, her first active operation was the support of the British landings at Suvla during the Battle of Gallipoli in August 1915. She remained stationed at Gallipoli until the evacuation in January, 1916. For the remainder of the war she served in the Mediterranean and was involved in the seizure of the Greek fleet at Salamis Bay on 1 September 1916.
M33 next saw service, along with five other monitors (M23, M25, M27, M31 and HMS Humber), which were sent to Murmansk in 1919 to relieve the North Russian Expeditionary Force. In June, M33 moved to Archangel and her shallow draught enabled her to travel up the Dvina River to cover the withdrawal of British and White Russian forces. At one time the river level was so low the ship's guns had to be removed and transported by cart. M25 and M27 were not so fortunate and were scuttled on 16 September 1919 after running aground. M33 safely returned to Chatham in October.
Harbour service and restoration
In 1925 M33 became a mine-laying training ship and was renamed HMS Minerva on 3 February 1925. She went through a number of roles for the remainder of her career including fuelling hulk and boom defence workshop. Her name was changed again in 1939, this time to Hulk C23. In 1946 she became a floating office at the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard at Gosport. Put up for sale in 1984, she eventually passed to Hampshire County Council. Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, she is now located at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, close to HMS Victory.
- "M33 (Minerva) at the National Historic Ships Register". Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Dittmar, F. J. & Colledge, J. J., "British Warships 1914-1919", (Ian Allen, London, 1972), ISBN 0-7110-0380-7
- Gray, Randal (ed), "Conway's All The Worlds Fighting Ships, 1906-1921", (Conway Maritime Press, London, 1985), ISBN 0-85177-245-5
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to HMS M33 (ship, 1915).|
- Monitor M33 - Hampshire County Council
- Monitor M33 - History
- National Historic Ships Committee listing for M33