How adopting a piece of Royal Marines history could help build a new museum in Portsmouth

The Vigilant trench mirrorThe Vigilant trench mirror
The Vigilant trench mirror
A new scheme that allows supporters to adopt fascinating historical objects from the Royal Marines Museum's collection has got off to a flying start with almost £7,500 raised in the first month.

Adopt an Object kicked 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. He was subsequently awarded a Victoria Cross for his bravery.

Now the scheme has more items open to adoption, including:

A trench mirror, also known as The Vigilant. It was for attaching to a sword or rifle bayonet and dates back to 1914-1918. The mirror comes in a steel casing with hinged lid and the underside of the mirror has a steel spring used to attach it to a bayonet or sword.

A chromolithograph of the Battle of Tamanieb, Sudan in 1884A chromolithograph of the Battle of Tamanieb, Sudan in 1884
A chromolithograph of the Battle of Tamanieb, Sudan in 1884


A telescope belonging to Lt Dowell VC. George Dare Dowell was born in Chichester on February 24, 1831. He entered the Royal Marine Artillery as a 2nd Lieutenant in July 1848 and was promoted to Lieutenant in October 1851. He served aboard the Magicienne in the Baltic during the war with Russia, 1854-55, and was present at the bombardment of Sveaborg and several other engagements. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on July 13, 1855 at the Fort of Viborg in the Gulf of Finland.


A chromolithograph (published by George Washington Bacon & Co) of a bird's eye view of the Battle of Tamanieb (Tamai), Sudan, which took place on March 13, 1884 between a British force under Sir Gerald Graham and a Mahdist Sudanese army led by Osman Digna.

The 19th century telescopeThe 19th century telescope
The 19th century telescope


Adopt an Object is part of a mission to raise £5m for a new Royal Marines Museum at the heart of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy 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 £5m is still needed to make the new museum a reality.

To adopt an object, visit the links in the story and donate today. You can follow the #5MillionMission campaign on Twitter at @RoyalMarinesMus

Related topics: