Tributes paid to Sir Donald Gosling

Honorary Vice Admiral Sir Donald Gosling KCVO in the eponymous gallery at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth

Tributes have been paid to The National Museum of the Royal Navy benefactor Honorary Vice-Admiral Sir Donald Gosling KCVO who has died.

In 2012 HMS Victory was transferred from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) into the care of the HMS Victory Preservation Trust, a part of the National Museum. The transfer of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, which led the fleet to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar 1805 and is the oldest commissioned warship in the world, was made possible by the gift of two endowments: £25million from the Ministry of Defence and an extraordinarily generous £25million from the Gosling Foundation.

In the same year, the Donald Gosling gallery was opened in Storehouse 12 at the National Museum’s headquarters in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and a bust crafted by sculptor Etienne Millner was unveiled by Vice-Admiral Sir Donald Gosling KCVO. Flowers have been laid at the foot of the sculpture today as a mark of respect. 

Dr Caroline Williams, Chairman of the Board of The National Museum of the Royal Navy said:

“We are incredibly grateful for Sir Donald Gosling’s support of the National Museum over the years. His amazingly generous support of HMS Victory was a game changer for the museum. Adding her to our historic fleet with the sure knowledge of having a legacy to build on allowed us to change direction and transform perceptions of our work. We are about to celebrate our 10th anniversary and it’s fair to say that without Sir Donald’s assistance, the museum would be in a different place.”

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy said:

“We are saddened to hear of the death of Sir Donald Gosling. He never forgot his navy service and was a munificent supporter of HMS Victory and many other National Museum campaigns. More importantly he was a warm and great-hearted man. He will be greatly missed.”

The Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce, KG GCB OBE DL, former First Sea Lord and Chairman of the HMS Victory Preservation Company said:

“Sir Don’s love for the Royal Navy was legendary, and nowhere can that be better seen that in his hugely generous donation to the restoration of HMS Victory – Flagship of Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar – a donation that will see this 260-year-old iconic battleship, Ship of the Line preserved for generations to come.”

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