Ships Crests and Adventures at Sea
For over 18 months, we’ve been restoring ships crests with the help of veterans at The Royal Maritime Club, home of Veterans Outreach Support. During the process, we became interested in the ships’ histories and the stories of the sailors aboard them; hence, the Dit Book was born. After some hard work, we’re pleased to announce that this Dit Book will be available very soon.
Over the years, donated ships badges have been piling up at The Royal Maritime Club, so we decided to run workshops at the VOS monthly drop-in to repair these crests. Many were in need of some good TLC, so the veterans got underway to restore the crests to their original glory. All received a new lick of paint, while others needed to be remodelled down to the finer details – a difficult task for some of the more complicated designs! Mounted to hardwood shields, they were ready for display in the club’s library – but all was not over yet.
During the process, we realised that this would be a good opportunity to explore the histories of these vessels, given their often eccentric names and designs. Soon, we were visiting the National Museum of the Royal Navy and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and the research proved invaluable. Who knew that so many of our ships’ crests weren’t actually made with the Royal Navy in mind?
A guided tour by an ex-submariner of HMS Alliance further opened our eyes to the stories that were created on board, and we realised that veterans’ dits needed to be shared. Through a call to arms on various social media platforms, we received many dits of those that had served on the ships behind the crests, with each different from the last. However, there are running themes throughout: the camaraderie on board and the sense of belonging.
We’d like to thank all veterans at Veterans Outreach Support for all your work with us, as well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund, for making this project possible.