A seat commemorating the Boatswain's branch of the Royal Navy has been unveiled in the public arena adjacent to HMS Victory. The seat was kindly donated by the Royal Naval Boatswains Association to mark the cessation of their formal body, due largely to the advancing age of their members. In conjunction with the installation of the seat, a copper plate detailing the history of the branch was attached to the beam outside of the Captain's office in the old wardroom area of the ship in recognition of the fact that up to recent years, the Commanding Officer of Victory was always a Naval Boatswain. The official presentations also included the gifting of a medal to the Royal Naval Museum.
Lieutenant Commander John Scivier, Commanding Officer of HMS Victory said: "It is a great honour to accept the seat not only on behalf of the ship, but also on behalf of the thousands of visitors that will make use of it. It is quite apt that we have a permanent reminder of the branch onboard in the form of the copper plate as the Boatswain was, in the days of the Georgian Navy, a very important and influential man onboard. Whilst it is sad that the association is having to stop its formal activities, I am very happy that the memory of this historic branch will be furthered in and around HMS Victory."
The rank of Boatswain was the oldest rank in the Royal Navy and its origins can be traced as far back at 1040. The last official Boatswain, Commander E W Andrew OBE, retired in 1990. The Royal Naval Boatswain's Association was formed in 1987 . Since its inception it has strived not only to keep the memory of the branch alive, but has provided funds to allow a number of Sea Cadets to sail onboard TS Royalist, many of whom have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the Royal Navy. As a lasting legacy of the association, a prize fund for Seamanship has been established at Royal Hospital School Holbrook.