£64,700 to commemorate forgotten WWI ships

Boats of all shapes and sizes will be remembered in a new project launched by the National Historic Ships UK to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War, in which 60 current surviving vessels fought for their King and Country.

The independent organisation set up by the Government has recently received a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant of £64,700 for its project War and the Sea – A Maritime Centenary, which will tell the usually overlooked stories of the 60 vessels which still survive nearly 100 years after their services.

The boats vary vastly from the Irish-built topsail schooner Result, which was converted into a ‘Q’ ship to lure U-boats into battle, to the last surviving British warship that played a part in the Battle of Jutland, HMS Caroline.

The project will highlight the significant campaigns carried out by these vessels during the Great War through the use of photographs, manuscripts and personal stories.

All of this information and history will unite to form a touring exhibition to educate the public on the contribution of ships and boats beyond the Battle of Jutland.

It is hoped that the exhibition will raise public awareness of the need to restore these historic vessels. First World War Centenary minister Helen Grant MP said: “The war fundamentally changed the course of world history and it’s really important that we mark its centenary in a way that makes sense for all our communities, and particularly for young people.” She continued: “This is exactly the sort of work that the National Lottery should be supporting.”

Martyn Heighton, Director of the National Historic Ships Committee, added further to this idea: “People tend to forget the First World War was a sea war as well as one of horrific land campaigns.” He concluded: “This project is designed to draw all of these strands into a coherent story.”

The organisation has invited the public to share their stories about relatives who may have been connected with the vessels to expand their exhibition.