Dream trip to Nelson’s warship for boy who created his own HMS Victory museum

GUIDED TOUR From left, HMS Victory Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Rod Strathern and Shae Williams aboard HMS Victory. Back from left, Matt Williams, Karen Williams and Kyle Williams                                        Picture: Allan Hutchings (141056-712)

GUIDED TOUR From left, HMS Victory Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Rod Strathern and Shae Williams aboard HMS Victory. Back from left, Matt Williams, Karen Williams and Kyle Williams Picture: Allan Hutchings (141056-712)

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SOME boys get their kicks from football and others are mad about video games.

But nine-year-old Shae Williams has a somewhat grander passion – he loves the HMS Victory.

The young history buff has even opened a museum to Nelson’s famous flagship in his bedroom at home in Norfolk and charges £1 admission.

He said: ‘I don’t know why I really like it, but it’s fascinating.

‘I like all the gun decks and seeing where Nelson died and going down to the bottom of the ship as well, where they put all the barrels and gunpowder.’

Shae has visited Portsmouth to tour the Victory four times in the past five years, and was treated to a VIP tour on a visit last month.

Shae said he learned a few previously unknown nuggets about the ship on the tour. He said the Victory was hit by a German bomb in the Second World War, and that the cannons on board were actually called guns.

He said: ‘They’re only called cannons if they’re on land.

‘I also learned that the inside of the ship was originally painted baby pink and duck-egg blue.’

Shae also got to meet the commanding officer of the Victory, Lieutenant Commander Rod Strathern.

At Shae’s bedroom/museum, visitors can read books about the Victory, view historical posters and scale models and admire Shae’s most-prized artefact – an original piece of copper from the ship brought on his last visit to the Historic Dockyard souvenir shop.

Shae’s mum Karen is also on hand to provide refreshments to museum guests.

She said: ‘We’ve made some sea biscuits between us.

‘They’re very hard, and visitors can see if they can bite into one.’

Shae is saving up the takings from a recent open day, which 13 people attended, to buy an authentic piece of wood from the Victory to add to the museum’s collection.

Shae said that when he was older he wanted to open another museum and become a tour guide on his favourite ship.

Karen said she was thrilled her son was so interested in the Victory.

She said: ‘He’s really got an affinity with it.

‘Whether he was there in a former life I don’t know, but it’s really caught on.’

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