The plan for HMS Belfast was conceived in 1936 when the admiralty decided to build 2 "Southampton" class cruisers to boost their Naval fleet. Launched on 17th march 1938 HMS Belfast the Belfast became part of the Naval fleet in the following year. With the outbreak of War HMS Belfast was sent to patrol Northern waters where it secured the capture of SS Cap Norte- the largest vessel to be captured in naval history. In retaliation HMS was mined and the damage so severe that it took three years to repair the vessel. HMS Belfast was one of the first ships to fire on enemy positions during the D-Day landings in 1944. Over the next six week HMS Belfast provided naval support- firing thousands of round upon various targets along the Normandy coast. After operational tours in Korea and the China seas, HMS Belfast was finally decommissioned in 1963- having sailed almost 500,000 miles for the Royal navy. HMS Belfast escaped dismantlement and it is now permanently docked near Morgan's Lane. Standing as a living monument to the engineering feat of its creation and a reminder of the battles in which it served. The HMS Belfast is open to the public and visitors are invited to enjoy the Walrus Cafe onboard for refreshments daily.