The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) has the vision of becoming the world’s most inspiring naval museum.
NMRN cares for vessels that are of such significance they form part of the nation’s historic ship register. These vessels are vital to our understanding of the Royal Navy and its epic history, they illustrate the evolution of warfare at sea, from sailing ships to submarines; demonstrate the evolution of technology and construction techniques; and bring us face-to-face with the living and fighting conditions of naval personnel from the age of sail to the present day. The ongoing conservation of historic ships and submarines is challenging, expensive and requires specialist skills.
Despite the historical significance of the Historic Naval Fleet, there is no guarantee of funding. In order to safeguard their future and ensure they remain safely accessible to the public, we have launched the Preservation of the Historic Naval Fleet Fund.
The aim of the fund is to ensure that the National Museum has a reliable source of income to preserve these ships for future generations to enjoy.
The vessels protected by NMRN are:
18th and 19th century
- HMS Victory, a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. Notable for her role as Lord Nelson’s flagship, and the ship upon which he was mortally wounded, at the Battle of Trafalgar.
- HMS Warrior, a 40-gun steam-powered ironclad frigate. Laid down in 1859 and launched in 1860.
- HMS Trincomalee, a Leda-class sailing frigate. Laid down after the Napoleonic Wars in 1816 and launched in 1817.
WW1 and WW2
- HMS Caroline, a light cruiser that saw combat service in the First World War, she is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland still afloat. Laid down in 1914 and launched the same year, she is one of only three surviving Royal Navy warships of the First World War.
- HMS M33, an M29-class monitor built in 1915. She saw service in the Mediterranean during the First World War and in Russia during the Allied Intervention in 1919. She is one of only three surviving Royal Navy warships to have served in the Gallipoli Campaign.
- LCT 7074, the last surviving Landing Craft (Tank) to have served at D-Day. She was Built in 1944 and was part of the 17th LCT Flotilla during Operation Neptune and designed to land tanks, other vehicles and troops.
- X24, the only X-craft to see service in the Second World War and survive intact. X-Craft were deployed for a variety of operations during the War, including in Norway and acting as navigational beacons on D-Day.
- HMS Alliance, an A-class, Amphion-class or Acheron-class submarine, laid down in 1945 and completed in 1947. Alliance is the only surviving example of the class.
- Holland 1, the first submarine commissioned into the Royal Navy, the first in a six-boat batch. She was lost in 1913 while under tow to the scrapyard following decommissioning. She was recovered in 1982.
Each ship presents a unique conservation challenge from the control of rust on the steel vessels, to the management of pests and dry rot aboard our wooden ships. HMS Warrior, HMS Caroline and HMS Trincomalee remain afloat, adding a further layer of complexity to their preservation.
Thousands of people tread their decks each year. In 2019 alone HMS Victory received 302,000 visitors; HMS Alliance 85,000; HMS Warrior 75,000; HMS M33 66,000; HMS Trincomalee 45,000 and HMS Caroline 41,000.
Whilst these figures illustrate the ongoing significance of these vessels and the interest they spark, they also demonstrate the challenge the National Museum faces in keeping them preserved for future generations to enjoy.
To financially support or get involved in this project please contact Helen McKenna-Aspell, Director of Fundraising at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. firstname.lastname@example.org