HMS - Hear My Story

5 Generations, 1000 Stories, 1 Royal Navy

HMS – Hear My Story is a major exhibition situated in the Babcock Galleries at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It tells the undiscovered stories from the ordinary men, women and ships which have made the Navy‘s amazing history over the last 100 years, the century of greatest change.

HMS brings you closer than ever before to the real Royal Navy as their heritage is brought together for the first time for this major exhibition.  Through cutting edge interpretation see and hear the stories of the Royal Navy through war and peace; from the storms of the Arctic to the heat of Afghanistan. Get immersed with technology to disguise your ship, hunt a submarine and send messages in code. Meet the veterans who can tell you first hand their stories of living and fighting at sea.

HMS is also an exhibition where your story matters. Take part, share precious personal memories about yourself or your family, add these stories to history and join the debate on what the future may hold.


Click on the picture below to see an image gallery

The entrance to HMS Hear My Story

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Image: left to right Simon “Jeff” Hurst Leading Seaman; Lt Cdr David Gillet, Commanding Officer of HMS Mersey and Kim Smith, Able Seaman.


One hundred years after the first shot...

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Baker. Soldier. ‘Sailor’

The story of Alfred Smith as a baker, a soldier and a ‘sailor’ is told in the different items kindly donated by his family. When the First World War broke out Alfred Frank Smith was a baker in Sussex; to 'do his bit' he joined the local Volunteer Training Regiment - a sort of Home Guard - but then in 1916 he opted to join the Royal Navy and go to sea.

However, instead of joining a ship he became an infantry soldier in the Royal Naval Division and, despite being a married man of 26, he was classified as a Boy Sailor! He was assigned to the 'Hood ' Battalion as a Lewis Gunner and sent to fight in the trenches in France. On the 28th September 1918 he was hit in the chest by a German bullet which lodged itself close to his heart. Luckily the bullet was at the end of its flight and it didn't cause serious damage. It was enough though to take Alfred out of the fight and into a convalescent camp at Blandford in Dorset where, wearing his blue hospital uniform, the local people would take him into their homes for meals. Demobilised in 1919 Alfred bought a Newsagent & Tobacconist shop in Lewis. He had 10 children and died in 1974 with the German bullet still lodged close to his heart.