The chapel door of HMS Warspite which survived one of the greatest naval battles ever, Jutland, has been gifted to The National Museum of the Royal Navy where it is currently a centrepiece of a centenary exhibition about the battle that, for many, turned the tide of the First World War.
General Secretary of the Royal Naval Association (RNA), Paul Quinn OBE, generously donated the chapel door from HMS Warspite after he acquired it from a seaman’s society hostel in Falmouth which was being demolished. The door is displayed alongside a holy bible, loaned by the Imperial War Museum to the National Museum for the duration of the exhibition, which is also from the chapel on board the ship.
Paul Quinn said: “I was very excited to save the door – it was such an amazing opportunity as HMS Warspite was a particularly famous ship having seen so much action.
“I reflect how many sailors have gone through this door before they went into action and then once again after action thinking, I am still here.”
Rebecca Drummond, Curator of Artefacts at the National Museum commented: “We are delighted to accept the RNA’s kind offer to donate the chapel door from HMS Warspite to the museum. HMS Warspite was an iconic ship having seen action in both World Wars and earning more battle honours than any other single ship in British naval history, including Jutland in 1916. It is therefore fantastic to have such a striking item in our collection that enables us to tell the story of the ship and those who served on her.”
HMS Warspite was a famous battleship whose distinguished service spanned both World Wars. She saw extensive action at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and was heavily damaged in the course of the battle with 14 of the ship’s company killed. She even escaped encounters with German U-boats on her way home and made it back to Rosyth for repairs. HMS Warspite also saw action throughout the Second World War including at the Second Battle of Narvik and D-Day, as well as serving in the Mediterranean Fleet and the Eastern Fleet.