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Society joins the Historic Naval Ships Association

HMS Belfast

The Imperial War Museum acted as hosts for the annual conference in October on board HMS BELFAST.

The Society was invited to give a presentation on the restoration plans for the Melik and Bordein in conjunction with Frazer Nash Consultants as part of the conference programme.

The Historic Naval Ships Association was founded in 1966 by five organizations with historic naval vessels. Today, it has over one hundred museums which promote the preservation and exhibition of more that 140 naval, coast guard, army and merchant marine ships and boats home-ported from Halifax to Houston, and from Brisbane, Australia to Haifa, Israel.

The Association comprises one of the most powerful fleets in the world. It includes five aircraft carriers, nine battleships, seven cruisers, thirteen destroyers, more than thirty submarines, cutters, gunboats, liberty ships, motor torpedo boats, corvettes, minesweepers, a frigate, a sloop of war, a brig, lightships, tugs and amphibious landing craft. In 2003, they attracted over ten million visitors.

For those who visit the ships today in America, Australia, Canada, England, France, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Russia, Sweden and Turkey, they are a living testimony to many of history’s most stirring actions. “History proudly preserved -Valour well honoured”, the Association’s motto, is a most fitting description of these vessels.

It would be difficult to find more dedicated men and women than those who work to document, maintain and show these magnificent ships. On most of them, volunteers willingly give of their time and skills to augment the museum staffs. Funds are raised each year and expended with great care. The preservation and restoration of hulls, decks, fittings, engines, machinery and armament are monumental tasks.

Admiral Lord Nelson reportedly said, “Ships and crews which sit in port rot,” to which we would only add, “and rust.” It is certainly true that inactive ships need much tender loving care. It is only with extreme effort that they will survive for the education and appreciation of future generations.

The Historic Naval Ships Association provides a forum for its members to exchange ship museum management information and technical expertise. The Association’s annual conferences are each hosted by a member vessel at its city.