Visitors learn about hidden history of Royal Navy Base

Richard Dickinson holds open Fort Rowners fresh water well for David Holder, 4, to checkhow deep it is
Richard Dickinson holds open Fort Rowners fresh water well for David Holder, 4, to checkhow deep it is
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People living in the area recently visited a Gosport naval base as part of England’s biggest heritage festival.

HMS Sultan welcomed guests to the base, celebrating its history and culture through a range of free activities.

Held across four days every September, the festival sees many places that are usually closed to the public opened up to visitors, with HMS Sultan contributing to the event a number of fascinating tours.

Over the course of the weekend visitors were treated to guided tours of Fort Rowner by local historian and forts expert, author David Moore.

He took groups exploring in tunnels, caponiers, the fort’s museum and its haunted keep, learning about the fort’s history right from its construction in the 1850s.

HMS Sultan’s heritage officer, Lee Britton said: ‘The heritage events had something on offer for everyone.

‘We have seen staff at the establishment engage with not just individuals but a number of other groups including youth organisations.’

Guides also took visitors around the base’s airfield museum, which gave them the opportunity to learn about the site’s prestigious role as the world’s first ‘Top Gun’ training establishment.

HMS Sultan houses a number of different historical aircrafts flown by the Royal Navy, which date back to the 1960s.

Although no longer in service, the aircrafts provide a valuable tool in training air engineering technicians within the base.

‘Our younger visitors loved being able to climb on board the helicopters and exploring the tunnels,’ added Lee.

‘A lot of people also told me how much they really enjoyed learning about the history of the air field here at HMS Sultan.

‘Throughout my 28 years in the Royal Navy, I have completed many different training courses at HMS Sultan, but had no idea how much history was associated with the site.’

The event was topped off by live music all weekend, provided by the award-winning HMS Sultan Royal Naval Volunteer Band.