MoD hands Portsmouth-based HMS Victory to charity

HMS Victory was launched in 1765 at Chatham Dockyard and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1778

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to hand over the historic warship HMS Victory to a newly formed charity.

The HMS Victory Preservation Trust has been set up by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), the new custodian of the vessel.

The MoD said it would match a £25m capital grant pledged from another charity to support the new trust.

The 250-year-old vessel is celebrated for being Lord Nelson's flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

'Fantastic news'

The NMRN is the sole trustee of the Royal Naval Museum which, along with the ship, is based at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

HMS Victory HMS Victory is the flagship of the Second Sea Lord and Commander in Chief Naval Home Command

The new arrangement means the ship's custodians will be able to apply for grants to help with its upkeep.

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery said the move was "fantastic news" and would "enhance" the preservation of the ship at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Work by BAE Systems Surface Ships to restore the ship under a £16m, five-year contract will continue under the responsibility of the new trust.

Sir Donald Gosling, whose foundation pledged the £25m grant, said: "HMS Victory is a national icon and I feel privileged that the Gosling Foundation is part of this project to ensure its future for the Royal Navy and for the nation."

Launched in 1765 at Chatham Dockyard and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1778, its first commanding officer was Capt John Lindsay.

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