HMS Warspite has returned to Plymouth Naval Dockyard in the shape of a model at the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre.
The model’s creator, David Brown, is originally from Lands End but currently lives in the Cornish town of Liskeard. From a child David has created models of Naval ships including HMS Javelin and Kelly. He made a working model of the cruiser HMS Sheffield, which was given to the Fulham Sea Scouts. There he met a retired Chief Petty Officer who suggested that he should build HMS Warspite.
David started the model over 40 years ago, obtaining drawings and photographs to help with the process. Work shortly stopped while a house move was undertaken, with David learning at this time that the hull plans he acquired were inaccurate. The 20 year collection of photographs and notes were never recovered after the move. The next 30 years the model lived in the garage roof space. Acquiring plans from Greenwich National Maritime Museum allowed David to carry on with the model, using the information to correct the hull. David introduced an educational element by showing various tasks being carried out around the vessel.
In the end it took David only two years to fully complete the model, winning a Gold Medal and the Earl Mountbatten of Burma Trophy for best naval model in 2014 at the Model Engineering Exhibition in London. Located at the Royal Navy Submarine School Heritage Museum at HMS Raleigh are over 30 submarine models created by David. HMS Warspite can currently be viewed at the Naval Heritage Centre where David’s other Gold Medal winner model HMS Leander is also located.
The Royal Navy warship HMS Warspite was launched from Devonport in November 1913 by the First Lord of the Admiralty in the presence of Winston Churchill. She was commissioned as one of the five Queen Elizabeth Class battleships which were built to combat the threat of new faster German battleships; she fought in both World War I and World War II.
Members of the public will be able to view the amazing work of David Brown at the first Heritage Centre open day of the year on 3 April 2016.