Victory Medal 2023

January 2024

We are delighted to announce that this year the Victory Medal, given for exceptional dedication to the preservation of maritime heritage, has been awarded to Henry Cleary OBE for his lifelong involvement in this field. A contribution that has seen him involved in both practical hands-on conservation, namely his purchase, restoration and donation to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust of VIC 56, as well as in the strategic oversight of various aspects of maritime conservation. Henry was Trustee Lead for the Boiler and Engineering Skills Training Trust’s six-year £1m National Lottery Heritage Fund Skills for the Future programme which successfully created 32 traineeships in the maintenance and repair of rail, road and marine steam engines. He was a Trustee of the Heritage Alliance and is now Chair for the Maritime Heritage Trust, where he has overseen the recruitment of a number of young trainees and the production of a new manifesto. Until his retirement in 2022, Henry was also a long-standing member of the National Historic Ships UK Council of Experts.

In 2023, Henry published Keeping a Puffer Afloat: The Story of a Small Steamship on the preservation of VIC 56 (today publicly accessible at Boathouse 4 in Portsmouth) and played an instrumental role in the development of the Heritage Harbours scheme in conjunction with National Historic Ships and Historic England.

Henry Cleary OBE will be presented with the medal at the Society’s Annual Dinner on board HMS Warrior on 15th June 2024.

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