Adopt a piece of history and help to make new £10m Royal Marines Museum a reality

Sergeant Norman Finch VC with the Lewis gun from HMS Vindictive
Sergeant Norman Finch VC with the Lewis gun from HMS Vindictive
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Promoted by National Museum of the Royal Navy

Supporters of the campaign to open a new Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard are being given a rare opportunity to adopt an object from the collection in a scheme launched today.

Initially 20 special artefacts have been selected from the museum’s vast collection of more than two million items. The scheme gives the chance to put a name to some of the most interesting, informative and educational items in the collection.

Close-up of Lewis gun used by Sgt Norman Finch VC at Zeebrugge

Close-up of Lewis gun used by Sgt Norman Finch VC at Zeebrugge

Adopt An Object kicks off with a Portsmouth-related item, a Lewis machine gun purported to have been used by Sgt Norman Finch during the First World War raid on Zeebrugge in Belgium in 1918. Finch, a Portsmouth Royal Marine, received the Victoria Cross for his bravery.

On April 22-23, he was second in command of the Lewis gun on board HMS Indictive. At one period Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, but Finch and the officer in command kept up continuous fire, until two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop, killing or disabling everyone except Finch who was severely wounded.

He remained in his battered and exposed position, harassing the enemy until the ship received another direct hit, putting the remainder of the armament completely out of action.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: ‘The Royal Marines Museum’s collection charts the battles and operations that define our history.  Each object carries the story of an individual Marine from the past into the present and carries it on to the future. 

The logo for the Royal Marines Museum fundraising campaign

The logo for the Royal Marines Museum fundraising campaign

‘These are stories of superhuman courage and resilience, of wit and humour, of loss and injury, of the mundane pattern of everyday life; for through objects we can experience something of the person.

‘We owe it to those who have stood up for us to remember and tell their stories and to do that the Royal Marines need a museum to call their own. I urge everyone to get involved – I have!’

The history of the Corps from 1664 to the present day is depicted through a unique collection of artefacts, pictures and documents. One of the most significant parts of the collection is the medals, consisting of more than 8,000 items including gallantry, campaign and foreign awards including an outstanding collection of Victoria Crosses.

There is no minimum donation, but you can become a Senior Adopter of an object for £500. Senior Adopters will be invited to a special event ahead of the opening of the new museum. Gift Aiding the donation where appropriate also adds valuable funds to the campaign with no added cost to the donor.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy

The new Royal Marines Museum, at the very heart of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, will place the 354-year history of the Royal Marines firmly within the story of the Royal Navy.

For the first time the story of the Marines, a national story but also a story with impact across the globe, will be told in a building appropriate to its scale.

The board of trustees at the National Museum of the Royal Navy are busy fundraising towards the cost of the new museum after Heritage Lottery Fund bosses last year decided not to pay out £12.9m for the SeaMore project – despite having previously offered £433,500 in 2016 to kick-start the plan.

The National Museum has managed to cut the total cost to about £10m and secured £3m of this so far, while the sale of the Royal Marines Museum’s former Eastney site could generate a further £2m. But it means there is still a £5m black hole that the National Museum needs the public and Royal Marines family to help fill in order to make the project a reality.

To adopt an object, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/RMM1 and donate today. Follow the campaign on Twitter at @RoyalMarinesMus