WHEN sailors lost their lives going down with their ship, the story of the Mary Rose Museum began.
So just days before the new multimillion pound museum is due to open, religious leaders in Portsmouth have dedicated the building in their honour.
Staff and volunteers gathered in the new museum yesterday for a short service of blessing.
It was conducted by the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, the Catholic Dean of St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth and the Principal Chaplain of Portsmouth Naval Base.
The Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, said: ‘This museum is dedicated to those who lost their lives when the Mary Rose sank.
‘One of the ship’s company is buried in a grave in Portsmouth Cathedral while others rest in the Solent.
‘When their word ended, the story of this museum began.
‘We have come together to bless this museum and all who serve in it and visit it.
‘As we pray for the repose of their souls, we ask this museum may be worthy of their service and sacrifice.’
Of the hundreds of sailors on board the Mary Rose, only a handful escaped with their lives on July 19, 1545.
Many remain with the ship, while some were recovered from the sea bed.
A small number of the human remains will go on display in the new museum, as part of an exhibition showing how the sailors lived.
The Mary Rose Trust says the decision to show some of the human remains was not taken lightly, and it formed a committee to decide how, and if, it should be done.
Details of the inside of the new Mary Rose Museum are still shrouded in secrecy.
It opens to the public for the first time on Friday.
The £35m museum, which was substantially sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, houses three levels containing thousands of never-before-seen artefacts which are centred around the hull of the sunken ship.