Trio of new naval exhibitions are opened

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Three new visitor attractions telling the story of the Royal Navy over 100 years were officially opened to the public today.

Hundreds of former and present sailors joined guests at the reopening of HMS Alliance, the refurbished A-Class submarine at Gosport.

The refurbished HMS Alliance

The refurbished HMS Alliance

A shot was fired from HMS Richmond in salute of the reopening.

Former Alliance seaman Terry Fearnley, 65, a volunteer guide on the submarine, said said: ‘I wouldn’t have dreamed in 1971 that they’d have this submarine on display as a museum here today.’

Across Portsmouth Harbour, the Military Wives’ Choir performed at the opening of the new HMS Hear My Story exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

At the same time, the first in a series of temporary exhibitions, called Racing to War: The Royal Navy and 1914, also went on display.

And over the water in Gosport, the newly-restored HMS Alliance will open back up to the public.

Matthew Sheldon, the head of strategic development at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said the new exhibitions prove Portsmouth is the top place for Royal Navy history.

He said: ‘There is nothing else in the country like this that tells the story of the Royal Navy over 100 years and the way we are doing it is excellent.

‘We are telling the story in the words of the men and women who made history.

‘I hope people will feel moved and excited by what we have to show them here.’

The Hear My Story exhibition tells previously undiscovered stories from ordinary men, women, and ships that shaped the navy’s astonishing history over the last 100 years.

Highlights include the 4in gun from HMS Lance, which fired the first British naval shot of the First World War on August 5, 1914, unpublished love letters, and the damaged motorbike of a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

It is all housed within a refurbished naval storehouse, which has been restored and named the Babcock Galleries.

The major launch follows last year’s opening of the Mary Rose Museum, which to date has welcomed more than 400,000 visitors.

It is hoped the three new attractions will bring another tourism boost to the area.

Visitors to the dockyard will be able to visit all three new attractions on the same single ticket that grants access to the Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and Action Stations.


· The News goes on board the newly-restored HMS Alliance to see how they recreate life beneath the waves

· Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to launch three new attractions

· Sailor’s love letters revealed in new dockyard exhibition