Historic Warships - Birkenhead - Great Britain


Address: East Float, Dock Road (See map)
Telephone: +44 (0)151-6501573
Website: http://www.historicwarships.org

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2003
Overall rating:

Description: Travelling from Liverpool, the Historic Warships, lying at Birkenhead on the other side of the river Mersey, were a bit difficult to reach. Nevertheless our efforts definitely proved to be worthwhile. A standard visit to this museum consists of access to the three warships H.M.S. Bronington, H.M.S. Plymouth and the submarine H.M.S. Onyx. For the real submarine enthusiast it's also possible to book a tour on the German U-boat U 534 (this costs extra).

The 'museum tour' starts in a small barrack. In this barrack a lot of original items from the U 534 (lying outside, next to the museum) are on display. Apart from that there are information panels on the walls giving a good insight in the technical operations behind minesweeping as well as an interesting overview of Liverpool as one of Britain's most important (sea) ports during WW II. With London being more vulnerable to German air raids, Liverpool became a good alternative to provide Britain with hundreds of thousands of tons of necessities (military equipment, oil) from America.

The minehunter Bronington is the smallest of the ships. It was originally built for the opposite task: laying mines! On one of the decks at the stern of the Bronington there's a nice exhibition on the history of minesweeping and the different techniques used.

The H.M.S. Plymouth is a bit more impressive to see. The visitor is welcomed by the ships triple barrelled anti-sub mortar (MK 10) and the Wasp helicopter on the stern side of the ship. Interesting things to see inside the ship of course are the different (living)quarters of the crewmembers, the caboose, the engine room and the handling carrousel (used to transport shells to the guns) and a video presentation about the Plymouth's service during the Falklands War (in which the ship was hit by an Argentinean shell).

The H.M.S. Onyx can only be accessed via the Plymouth. Like with other submarines, one of the most distinguishing features of the Onyx is the fact that every single bit of space is used and all quarters are very crammed and narrow. Altogether walking through this maze of corridors filled with tubes is an interesting experience. Well worth the expensive entrance fee!

Landingcraft from H.M.S. Intrepid, used to land troops at Ajax-bay during the Falklands war.

The Ton Class HMS Bronington Minehunter, with, as famous captain Prince Charles.

Gangboard to the H.M.S. Plymouth, welcoming visitors to its vast system of rooms and corridors.

Triple barrelled anti-submarine mortar MK10 with allround firing capability, mounted on the deck of the H.M.S. Plymouth.

Wasp helicopter armed with torpedos and depth charges for destroying submarines.

The Mk6 twin 4.5"/45 DP gun on the front of the H.M.S. Plymouth.

The heart of the ship: the operations room.

The H.M.S. Onyx, an "Oberon" Class Submarine.

21inch Torpedo tubes in the forward section of the submarine.

English joke using the famous song from the musical Evita (titled "Don't cry for me Argentina").