Never Such Innocence 2018 Legacy Tour: HMS Caroline, Belfast

We were absolutely delighted to board the last surviving ship of the Battle of Jutland, HMS Caroline, on Thursday 12th June with local children and young people. We received hundreds of entries from Belfast and across Northern Ireland to the 2017-18 poetry, art, and song competition so it was wonderful to have so many students attend this special event to receive their Certificates of Commendation in person.

Before the event everyone had the opportunity to look around the museum and learn about the ship’s First World War history.

Mrs Michele Marken DL very kindly joined us to represent the Belfast Lieutenancy and award the certificates.  Former English teacher and Headteacher Mrs Marken spoke beautifully to the students about how wonderful it is to see so many children and young people writing poetry and creating artwork as a response to the centenary of the First World War.

We were extremely proud to be joined at HMS Caroline by former First Place poetry competition winner Maeve Loney, who read her wonderful poem No Poppies in the Sand. Maeve’s poem is about the Imperial Camel Corps and was inspired by a painting featured in the Fourth Edition educational resource, The Long Patrol by James McBey. Maeve won the competition in 2015-16 while she attended St Patrick’s College Ballymena.

The 2017-18 competition also saw two winning poems from Northern Ireland, and both winners joined us at HMS Caroline to read their poems. Matthew Heaney from Lough View Integrated Primary and Becki Pinkerton from The Royal School Armagh both read their wonderful poems, demonstrating great confidence and maturity.  Matthew and Becki’s poems along with the rest of the winning work, can be viewed here.

Students from Carrickfergus College attended as representatives of more than 100 students from the school who took part. These entries were inspired by the Royal British Legion Thank You Movement and submitted as part of the 2017 Thank You Competition. The 2018 competition is now open for entries, more information can be found here.

Mrs Michele Marken DL also awarded certificates to students from Strathearn School, Sullivan Upper School, and Victoria College Belfast. Every student present received their personalised certificate from the Deputy Lieutenant, and teachers from each school also accepted certificates on behalf of the whole school.

Due to a last minute delay Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, sent his apologies and his congratulations to the children and young people, saying “we have been consistently and truly amazed at the quality of the work you, and many children like you from all over the globe have produced.”

Some students from Sullivan Upper School and Victoria College Belfast, took part Together: a UK German Centenary Project. More information about this project is available here.

We would like to say a huge Thank-You to the team at HMS Caroline who made the event so special, to Mrs Michele Marken DL, and most importantly to the fantastic children and young people who we were privileged to work with.

About HMS Caroline (
Based in Belfast’s famous Titanic Quarter, HMS Caroline is a First World War-era warship now restored as a must-see floating museum with an amazing story to tell. Thanks to the generous support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Tourism NI and the Department for the Economy, visitors can now enjoy sensitively restored cabin areas, a new quayside visitor centre and exhibition space dedicated to telling the personal stories of those who served on HMS Caroline. The onboard exhibition includes a powerful film on the drama of Jutland and as well as an array of state-of-the-art interactive exhibits. The ship opens to the public seven days a week from 10am until 5pm. To find out more about HMS Caroline, visit