The custodianship of the Royal Navy's oldest commissioned warship HMS Victory is to be transferred from the MOD to a charitable trust. The 18th century warship based at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth will now be maintained by the HMS Victory Preservation Trust, established as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
The move was heralded by the announcement of a £25m capital grant to support the new Trust by the Gosling Foundation - a donation which has been matched by a further £25m from the MOD.
HMS Victory will continue as a commissioned warship of the Royal Navy under her commanding officer and ship's company and will remain as the flagship of the Second Sea Lord until, as previously planned, she is made the flagship of the First Sea Lord.
The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery, said that the ship has been at the heart of the Royal Navy for centuries and “is symbolic of the fighting ethos and values of the Service”.
These are as important and relevant in current times, for example in Afghanistan, Libya and the Gulf, as they were at the time of Trafalgar.
I am absolutely delighted with this initiative. It will significantly enhance the way in which Victory can be preserved for the benefit of the nation and future generations, while retaining her links with the Royal Navy.
She will be in the hands of an organisation which will look after her unique status and has all the professional experience that her continued and enhanced preservation requires.
On behalf of the Service, I am immensely grateful to Sir Donald Gosling and the Gosling Foundation for their generosity in making this possible.”
The new charity will also assume responsibility for the continuing work of BAE Systems who were last year awarded a £16m contract to extensively restore the ship - the most in-depth transformation since her return from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805