The nation’s most famous ship, HMS Victory, is to be painted green for the next two years, The News can reveal.
The change of colour scheme is to support the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s £5m campaign for a new Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
A total of 146 Marines served on board Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and National Museum bosses say the repainting of her historic hull is a tribute to them, as well as a way of promoting the fundraising campaign for a new museum.
Deputy Director of Heritage Andrew Baines said: ‘Now the old Royal Marines Museum at Eastney is on the market to be sold, the campaign for a new one in the Historic Dockyard has really stepped up.
‘Other cities will be green with envy when they see Victory get painted in Royal Marines green. We’ve undertaken a programme of research and think this will be a very special and unique tribute to the 11 Royal Marine officers and 135 privates who served as the ship’s fighting force during Trafalgar.’
He added: ‘The consensus was that the Royal Marines over their 360-year history have always stepped up to the mark for us, so now is the time for us to step up to the mark for them and support the critical need for a new museum.
‘We’re really looking forward to hearing what our visitors think about the colour change.’
The new Royal Marines Museum, at the heart of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, will place the history of the Royal Marines firmly within the story of the Royal Navy.
For the first time the story of the Royal Marines, a national story but also one with impact across the globe, will be told in a building appropriate to its scale.
The National Museum has managed to cut the total cost of a new museum 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 £5m is still needed to make the new museum a reality.
National Museum Director General Professor Dominic Tweddle said: ‘The Royal Marines are the only service without a museum, so what better way to carry on the fighting spirit of Trafalgar than by painting the ship Royal Marines green for two years while we raise £5m to relocate the museum in Boathouse 6, just a stone’s throw from Victory?’
Dave Bishop, a painter in the Historic Ships team, is no stranger to painting Victory. He said: ‘Last time we painted her it took nearly five months, but this time I reckon we can get away with one coat, so it should really be quite a quick job for the team.’
Nelson’s ship has welcomed almost 30 million visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard since she opened back in 1928.
To find out more about donating to the new Royal Marines Museum, visit nmrn.org.uk/donate. You can also follow the #5MillionMission campaign on Twitter at @RoyalMarinesMus