Photographed 5 May 1992 in No.1 Basin at Portsmouth. The vessel is now located in Dry Dock No. 1 adjacent to HMS Victory’s Drydock (Drydock No.2) off Basin No.1
HMS M33 is an M29-class monitor of the Royal Navy built in 1915 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.
Armed with a pair of 6-inch guns and having a shallow draught, the 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.
The 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, the 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. The M25 and M27 were not so fortunate and were scuttled on 16 September 1919 after running aground. The M33 safely returned to Chatham in October.
In 1925 the M33 became a mine-laying training ship and was renamed HMS Minerva. She went through a number of roles for the remainder of her career including fuelling hulk and boom defence workshop. In 1946 she became a floating office at the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard at Gosport, and was designated Hulk C23 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