A general approach to evaluate the transient response of finite length shells with internal fluid loading is addressed. As a special case the axisymmetric response of a cylindrical shell with a base plate at one end and internal fluid loading is investigated. The velocity field of the shell is expressed as an in-vacuo eigenvector expansion and the pressure field in the fluid is expressed using a Green's function for the mixed boundary value problem. The unknown time-dependent modal velocity amplitudes are formulated as a set of coupled convolution integral equations where the time-dependent fluid loading on the shell and base plate is included using an impulse response approach. In-vacuo and fluid-loaded results will be presented for the special case of a transient point force excitation applied to the base plate. The influence of fluid loading on the shell and base plate will be discussed in detail.