Vice Presidents

The society’s vice-presidents are usually senior and highly respected figures in the field of maritime research. They have made significant contributions to the work of the society over many years, and continue to do so by providing continuity and ‘corporate memory’.

Honorary Vice Presidents

Alan Aberg BA, FSA, FRGS, FSNR worked for the Ipswich and Southampton museums before joining the University of Leeds as a lecturer in archaeology.  In 1976 he joined the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments for England as Directory of the National Archaeological Record.  Since retirement he has served as Chairman of the National Archaeological Society and SNR, and has been a member of the Trustees of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, a Vice President of the Trustees of the Royal Naval Museum and a member of Ship’s Council of the SS Great Britain. A former Vice President of the SNR he is also trustee of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, Council member of the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association, Vice President of the Medieval Settlement Research Group, and Hon. President of the European colloquium, Ruralia.  He was awarded the Fellows Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2011 and the Fellowship of the SNR in 2015.

Derek Law MA, FIInfoS, FLA, FKC, FSNR is an Emeritus  Professor of Informatics at the University of Strathclyde.  He has been a member of the Council and Vice President of the SNR for many years and is a former Hon. Secretary of the Society.  He has specialised in the bibliography and histiography of the Royal Navy in the Second World War and has published the standard bibliography on this topic.  It is regularly updated and is now available on-line at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Maritime Historical Studies.

Pieter van der Merwe MBE, DL, Dip.Drama, PhD, FSNR read Drama at the Universities of Manchester (1967–71) and Bristol (PhD 1979). Nautical interests led to his joining the staff of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, in 1974 and, as its General Editor since the early 1990s, he has been editor and author / joint author of many NMM publications – including an illustrated history of the Queen’s House, Greenwich, in 2012. In addition, as its Greenwich Curator, he was involved in both the early development of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site (inscribed by UNESCO in 1997) and remains so in aspects of its on-going management. His other published journal and exhibition contributions have included maritime art and archaeology, and theatre (primarily scene-painting and related public exhibitions). He was appointed MBE in the New Year Honours 2012 for services to heritage and the local community in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London in October 2012 and has been Representative DL for Greenwich since January 2013.



Cdr J M Bingeman, CEng, MIMechE, RN

John Bingeman is an amateur nautical archaeologist and was a Government historic wreck licensee for 33 years. After diving on the Mary Rose, he was given responsibility for the wrecks of Assurance (1753) and Pomone (1811) off ‘The Needles’ (1978-86). In 1980 he identified and achieved the designation for the 74-gun Invincible lying in the Eastern Solent; his final report The First HMS Invincible (1747-58) – Her Excavations (1980-1991) was published by Oxbow Books in 2010. He was Chairman of SNR(S) 1990-95, and is a Vice-President. He has twice served on SNR Council 1997-2001 and 2004-8 and is a Vice-President. He was a founder member of the Nautical Archaeological Society and later Secretary (1983-86); he is currently the Chairman of Maritime Archaeology Trust incorporating the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology. His writings include papers on: Copper Sheathing, Military Buttons, and Pre-history in Langstone Harbour.

Dr Ann Coats

Ann Coats is Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, teaching heritage and the historic built environment, and consultant historian to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust. She gained her doctorate at the University of Sussex for ‘The economy of the navy and Portsmouth: a discourse between the civilian naval administration of Portsmouth dockyard and the surrounding communities, 1650 to 1800’ (2000). Research focuses on the history and re-use of dockyards, mutiny and convicts, most recently project-managing and co-authoring 20th Century Naval Dockyards: Devonport and Portsmouth Characterisation Report (Historic England, 2015). She served on SNR’s Research and Programmes Committee 2005-9 and returned in 2016, before serving on Council. She co-founded and is chair of the Naval Dockyards Society and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  

Dr Christopher Holt BA (Hons), PGCert, MSc, PhD, FRGS, FSNR

Christopher is a senior lecturer in Geography at the University of Northampton, where his academic interests revolve around water resources and climate. He is responsible for delivering modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as supervising a number of PhD students.    His nautical interests are in the British Navy from the Seven Years War through to World War II, in particular engagements and fleet organisation.  His other interest relates to the provisioning of individual ships and fleets, particularly relating to the use of water on board ships.  He has been a member of Council for a number of years and is Chairman of the Communications & Membership Committee.

Cathryn Pearce, MEd., MA,PhD, FRHistS

Cathryn Pearce taught history at the university level for over 30 years, in Alaska and the UK. She holds an MA in History with a Maritime History emphasis from the University of Victoria (Canada) and a PhD in Maritime History from the University of Greenwich. She is on the founding committee for Greenwich Maritime Centre. Her additional duties include serving on the Board of Trustees for the British Commission for Maritime History and editing the online, refereed journal Troze for the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. She joined SNR in 2000, becoming a Member of Council and Secretary of the Publications Committee in 2010. She is also on The Mariner’s Mirror Editorial Board and a member of the Navy Records Society. Her book Cornish Wrecking: Reality and Popular Myth, 1700-1860 (2010) led to several TV documentary and radio appearances. She is currently researching the history of coastal communities and lifesaving.

Lt-Cdr Lawrence Phillips, RD, TD, RNR

Lawrence Phillips is a Vice-President and former Hon. Secretary of the SNR, which he joined in 1956, and a Vice-President of the Navy Records Society. He was a media specialist in the Ministry of Defence and on the staffs of naval and military commanders at home and abroad, principally the Commanders-in-Chief Fleet and Naval Home Command. He is the author of The Royal Navy Day by Day, the RN’s semi-official naval history reference book which is issued to all HM ships and establishments. Lawrie Phillips was born and raised in Pembroke Dock and his latest book, Pembroke Dockyard and the Old Navy, was published in 2014 to mark the bicentenary of his hometown. He is a former Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Naval Reserve, and Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Engineers in the Army Reserve.

Alistair Roach MA, MPhil, ACiFA, FRSA, FRHistS

Alistair worked for the National Trust for nearly 30 years.  He holds an MA in Heritage and Archaeology and an MPhil in Maritime History and Archaeology.  He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.  Author of The Life and Ship Models of Norman Ough he has also published papers in refereed journals and magazines. Previously a member of Council, Secretary of the Research & Programmes Committee and Hon. Secretary of the Society itself, he is an independent researcher and also assists at the Brunel Institute (ss Great Britain Trust).

Susan Rose, MA, PhD

Susan Rose was first elected to the Council of the SNR in the 1960s while still working on her PhD thesis on the navy of the Lancastrian Kings. She was later elected as Trustee under the old Articles of Association and eventually as a Vice-president. She has thus been closely involved with the affairs of the Society for over fifty years. During that period she has also continued her research into medieval shipping publishing a number of book and articles including Medieval Naval Warfare, (2002), The Medieval Sea, (2007) and England’s Medieval Navy, (2013). She is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Mariner’s Mirror.