Stories come alive inside new exhibition

Modern-day submariners at the opening of the Hear My Story exhibition ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14997-4537)
Modern-day submariners at the opening of the Hear My Story exhibition ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14997-4537)
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A ONCE-MISSING piece of Britain’s naval history has now been filled.

A new exhibition at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, HMS Hear My Story, recounts the navy’s past 100 years for the first time.

The £4.5m exhibition includes scores of interactive displays and recounts the stories of more than 1,000 men and women who have served in the Royal Navy.

Museum director-general Dr Dominic Tweddle said HMS Hear My Story was an excellent addition to the attractions already at the dockyard.

He said: ‘Together, they offer a unique perspective on how the navy has built the nation over the past 500 years. This exhibition is the next building block of that story.’

The opening ceremony for the exhibition included a performance by the Military Wives Choir.

One of the stories told at the museum is that of 90-year-old Dorrie Thomas.

Dorrie, pictured, who lives in Lee-on-the-Solent, served with the Wrens as a Morse-code signal operator during the Second World War.

She said: ‘My first posting was to Aberdeen.

‘There were six of us girls, we were put into a nissen hut and we were doing the communications relays for the Arctic Convoys.

‘When I think about it, it was a brilliant way of communicating. It was wonderful training and it put me in good stead for the rest of my life.’

Artefacts on display include a sledge which belonged to the party that searched for Captain Scott after his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole and a four-inch gun from 1914 destroyer HMS Lance.

The exhibition includes a temporary section called Racing to War, which tells the story of the Royal Navy’s build-up before the First World War.

Head of strategic development, Matthew Sheldon, said: ‘Through these exhibitions, we’ll be telling the undiscovered stories from the ordinary men, women and ships which have shaped the Royal Navy’s astonishing history over the century of greatest change.’