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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



27 June 2019

HMS Caroline in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter provided an impressive and historic backdrop recently for a ceremonial Beating Retreat by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth.

There to enjoy the spectacle were guests representing private and public sector employers drawn from across Northern Ireland, hosted by Defence Relationship Management (DRM). 

The military ceremony dates back to the sixteenth century when it was used to recall patrolling units to the castle they were defending. Originally the ceremony was known as ‘Watch Setting’ and the original call was beaten by drummers alone, with fifes, bugles, pipes and other instruments added in later years. Today the Beating Retreat is played out in ceremonial form only and is a showcase for the military musicians and personnel who take part. 

On this occasion the honour of lowering the flag at sunset went to members of The Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Hibernia.  Northern Ireland’s Royal Naval Reservists have long enjoyed close associations with HMS Caroline.  Having seen service in both World Wars, this celebrated ship later became the static headquarters and training ship for the Royal Naval Reserve based at Alexandra Dock in Belfast.

Today the now decommissioned light cruiser, the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, has been sensitively and fully restored.  At its new home in Titanic Quarter, HMS Caroline is now enjoying a new lease of life as a fascinating tourism and educational resource for the city.