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A roundup of the National Museum of the Royal Navy's acquisitions for 2023

Date published 29/12/2023
A scale-model of HMS Victory is examined by Principal Curator Victoria Ingles

2023 has been a year of significant acquisitions at The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN). Formed in 2009, NMRN is the youngest and fastest growing National Museum and we accept hundreds of new items into the Collection every year, thanks to generous gifts from members of the public or through purchase at auction or private sale. In many cases we have received financial support from funders such as the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Lottery Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Society for Nautical Research alongside many private donors. Together we have secured a permanent home for some really special objects, and it can feel like Christmas all year around for the Collections Team when we have the pleasure of unpacking treasures such as these.

Blog by Louisa Blight, Head of Collections & Research at the National Museum of the Royal Navy

An HMS Victory Model

The model of HMS Victory as seen in the Victory Gallery

HMS Victory Builder’s Block Model (scale 1:48), circa 1805, showing how Victory’s hull changed in the 40 years between her construction and the Battle of Trafalgar. Intriguingly, it also shows some changes that were considered, but never made. This model is now on display in the HMS Victory Gallery in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard


A Jigsaw of the Battle of Trafalgar

A jigsaw featuring the battle of Trafalgar

A rare George III printed wooden jigsaw, representing ‘Admiral Lord Nelson’s Victory over the combined fleet off Trafalgar, October 21, 1805’, complete with its original wooden box. The fact that it’s all still there after 200 years is quite phenomenal!


A Nationally Significant Sledge Flag

Ongoing work on the Kellett sledge flag

A sledge flag belonging to Vice-Admiral Henry Kellett which was used during the search for Sir John Franklin and HMS Terror was saved for the nation thanks to an export stop being placed on it and NMRN raising £120,000 in a matter of weeks. This beautiful but fragile object is currently undergoing analysis for future display.


A Miniature Jolly Roger Flag

A miniature jolly roger from HMS Thorough

The flag from HMS Thorough, 1946, which documents the achievements of the six patrols of the Thorough during its campaign in the Indian Ocean, China Sea, Java Sea, and Australia. At the end of the Second World War, while on their return voyage in Malta, they made arrangements with a local convent to have copies of this flag made for the crew members. Look out for a new display of Jolly Rogers coming to the Submarine Museum, Gosport in 2024.


An Embroidered Postcard from HMS Caroline

An embroidered postcard from HMS Caroline

In 2024, HMS Caroline will have been in Belfast for 100 years and it has been great to add a range of new material to the collection in 2023 that relates to her history. One of our favourites is this delightful greetings card. HMS Caroline is available to book for guided tours at present. Why not visit and send your own greetings card to a friend as a souvenir of your visit?


A Recruitment Broadside

A Royal Navy recruiting broadside from 1795

A rare Royal Naval recruiting broadside from March 1795 for the parishes of Lewisham and Lee, offering a 20 guineas bounty (approximately £1500 today) to new recruits. 


Archives Relating to Attack on the Tirpitz

A photo of Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Dunworth DSC

Photo albums and a diary with a descriptive account of the attack on the Tirpitz, belonging to Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Dunworth DSC. As Observer on one of the aircraft, Dunworth, an accomplished photographer, captured images of the German battleship and provided a unique record not only of the perilous lives of Fairey Albacore crews, but also one of the most famous battleships in the history of naval warfare.

If you’ve enjoyed this small selection of material, why not check out what else we have in our collection?

If you have an item you feel is worthy of a home in our collection, email us on and yours could be in this list next year.

All images belong to the National Museum of the Royal Navy