The Royal Navy cruiser HMS Belfast was leaving the Firth of Forth for a gunnery exercise when she was rocked by a German magnetic mine. Ordnance Artificer John Harrison recalled the moment just before11.00 am :
‘Suddenly there was terrific thud, and then there was dead silence and then a shaking up and down, as if you were shaking a doll up and down. That was the power of a magnetic mine.’
In his diary, Nazi propaganda minister Dr Josef Goebbels claimed:
The sinking of the Cruiser Belfast is yet another loss of prestige for Churchill.
Initially it was feared that the ship’s broken back and the damage to her hull and machinery would lead to her being scrapped, but she was eventually repaired and rejoined the Home Fleet in November 1942.