HMS M.33 is not only the sole remaining British veteran of the bloody Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-1916, but also of the Russian Civil War which followed. The ship is one of just three British warships from World War I still in existence.
HMS M.33 was built in 1915 on the orders of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. She was a floating gun platform designed to bombard coastal positions from the sea. 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. She served in the Mediterranean for the remainder of the War and was involved in the seizure of the Greek fleet at Salamis Bay in 1916.
After the War, M.33 was sent to Murmansk in Russia to relieve the North Russian Expeditionary Force before returning to Portsmouth to become a mine-laying training ship. She was renamed HMS Minerva.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy and Hampshire County Council have partnered to develop an exciting project to conserve, restore and interpret M.33 in time for her centenary in 2015. With Heritage Lottery Fund support this has allowed the public onboard for the very first time, making HMS M.33 the only warship from World War I open to visitors.