National Museum of the Royal NavyMaritime Heritage Foundation

Peer will take charge of the recovery of HMS Victory

From East Grinstead Courier and Observer

Lord Lingfield is to chair a new charity set up to recover artefacts from HMS Victory.

The ship, an earlier vessel than Admiral Nelson's flagship preserved at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, sank in a storm in 1744 with the loss of more than a thousand crew.

Sir Robert Balchin, who became Lingfield's first ever lord a year ago, is a relative of Admiral Sir John Balchin, who died when the pioneering naval ship was sunk.

The Ministry of Defence announced this week that a new charity, called the Maritime Heritage Foundation, would "recover, preserve and display in public museums" items from the wreck.

Lord Lingfield, who has lived in the village for 31 years, will now lead the recovery.

He said: "We hope that this site will give us a unique insight into the world of the mid-18th-century Royal Navy.

"We are very concerned that natural erosion, damage from fishing vessels and illegal looting may endanger the wreck and therefore we have planned an archaeological survey that will record the site before it deteriorates further.

"Odyssey Marine Exploration has proved its expertise and we are looking forward to working with them to protect the maritime heritage associated with Balchin's Victory."

The foundation will be supported by an advisory group, with representatives from English Heritage and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan said: "The gift of the 1744 HMS Victory to the Maritime Heritage Foundation should give better protection to the wreck which is very important to British naval heritage.

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