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Spinnaker Tower Abseil - come and support our courageous team!

The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s public fundraising appeal for 2014 is in full swing, with an adrenaline fuelled abseil down the Portsmouth landmark, Spinnaker Tower!


Vice Admiral Sir Anthony Dymock KBE CB, the appeal Chairman, has courageously volunteered to abseil the 170 meters down the tower. Vice Admiral David Steel CBE, Second Sea Lord, has also taken on the vertiginous challenge, as has Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North.


The fearless abseilers will be arriving in style on board Steam Pinnace 199. Built in 1911, she served during the First World War and is the sole operational survivor of 634 vessels of her class, representing a vital part of British heritage.


It promises to be a spectacular event, and you’re invited to come down at 2pm on Friday 18th April and see our daredevils step out and abseil the tower.


You can sponsor our fearless challengers via our Just-Giving link which can be found at


All money raised will go towards HMS Hear My Story; the new permanent galleries that opened on the 3rd April.

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.