The Society for Nautical Research recognizes excellence in research into maritime history and contributions to preserving our maritime heritage.
The Anderson Medal
Each year, in memory of Dr Roger Charles Anderson, a distinguished naval scholar and founder member of the Society, the Society awards the Anderson medal for a book on maritime history published during the previous year.
What it’s for
This may be a work of non-fiction covering any aspect of maritime history, such as archaeology, biography, economy, exploration, hydrography, industry, oceanography, science, shipbuilding, strategy, etc. Preference will be given, in order, to the sole work of one author, to joint works by a small group of authors, and then to edited works. Part works will not normally be considered for the award of the Anderson medal.
How to nominate
Nominations may be made by authors, publishers, members of council or other members of the SNR between January and the end of May of the year following publication. They should include full bibliographical details of the work and a short review. They should then be sent by email to the Secretary of the Research and Programme Committee (RPC) whose address is on our contacts page.
How the medal is awarded
In June each year the RPC will draw up a shortlist which will take account of all aspects of the work such as literary merit, original research in primary sources, new interpretation of secondary sources, and contribution to the wider understanding of maritime history. In September the RPC will make its recommendation to the Council of the Society for Nautical Research. The Council will announce its decision at the next Council meeting. The award will be presented in the following April at a reception; the winner will be asked to deliver a lecture related to the topic of the book on this occasion.
- 2021 Dr Paul Brown, Abandon Ship: The Real Story of the Sinkings in the Falklands War
- 2020 Richard Endsor, The Master Shipwright’s Secrets: How Charles II Built the Restoration Navy
- 2019 Prof. Evan Mawdsley, The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II
- 2018 Prof. Crosbie Smith, Coal Steam and Ships: Engineering Enterprise and Empire on the Nineteenth Century Seas
- 2017 Dr David Davies, Kings of the Sea – Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy
- 2016 Dr Innes McCartney, Jutland 1916: The Archaeology of a Naval Battlefield
- 2015 James Goldrick, Before Jutland: The Naval war in Northern European Waters, August 1914-February 1915
- 2014 Rip Bulkeley, Bellingshausen & The Russian Antarctic Expedition, 1819-21
- 2013 Susan Rose England’s Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare
- 2012 Professor Andrew Lambert, The Challenge: Britain against America in the Naval War of 1812
- 2011 Sam Willis, The Glorious First of June
- 2010 Jean Sutton, The East India Company’s Maritime Service, 1746-1834
- 2009 Nicholas Black, The British Naval Staff in the First World War
- 2008 Brian Lavery, Shield of Empire: The Royal Navy in Scotland
- 2007 Marc Levinson, The Box: How the Shipping Container made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger
- 2006 Roger Knight, The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson
- 2005 Richard Woodman, The Real Cruel Sea: the Merchant Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1939-1943
- 2004 David Keith Brown and George Moore, Rebuilding the Royal Navy: Warship Design since 1945
- 2003 Lewis Johnman and Hugh Murphy, British Shipbuilding and the State since 1918: a Political Economy of Decline
- 2002 Tom Pocock, Captain Marryat, Seaman, Writer and Adventurer
- 2001 Ian Johnston, Ships for a Nation, 1847-1971 John Brown and Company, Clydebank
- 2000 Michael Partridge, The Royal Naval College, Osborne: A History
- 1999 Richard Walker, The Nelson Portraits
- 1998 NAM Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain 600-1649, vol.1
ANDERSON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
From time to time, the Society may award a medal in memory of Dr Anderson to mark a lifetime’s contribution to nautical research. The award may be given for a substantial body of published work, which could encompass one or more of the following types of ‘publication’: traditionally published books; editing of part works or journals; a significant number of articles in one or more journals, with preference being given to recognising publication in The Mariner’s Mirror; e-books; local studies, such as of a particular area or type of craft; online publishing, such as websites, blogs and podcasts.
Nominations may be made by members of the Society at any time, and should be supported by a brief summary of why the nominee is considered an appropriate candidate for the award.
Awards will be made on an occasional basis (i.e. less frequently than annually). The timing of which will be determined by the Council, acting upon the recommendation of a name from the Research & Programmes Committee, which decides upon the recipients of the award. The medal is awarded at the AGM of the Society, or at some other appropriate event organised by it. In 2017 it was awarded to Professor John Hattendorf and in 2021 to Dr Norman Friedman.
The Centenary Medal
The Centenary Medal was first introduced in 2011 to mark the first centenary of the Society’s work and is rewarded to those who have given exceptional service and assistance to the Society in furthering one or more of its objectives. This award is not given annually, or even on a regular basis, but given when deemed appropriate.
2020: Jonathan Coad
Jonathan Coad has served several times on Council and latterly as a Vice President. He succeeded Dr Alan McGowan as Chairman of the VATC in 2005 and the Society has benefitted from his long and expert knowledge and his sound guidance and advice has been much valued by the Society down the years.
Jonathan began his career in the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate, later subsumed into English Heritage. He worked principally on conservation of national state monuments including historic buildings in the Royal Navy’s operational bases and he later advised on their care. He played a key role in the negotiations leading to the establishment of Chatham Historic Dockyard. Among his important works are The Royal Dockyards 1690-1850: Architecture and Engineering Works of the Sailing Navy (1989) and Support for the Fleet: Architecture and Engineering of the Royal Navy Bases 1700-1914 (2013). The latter gained in 2014 the Association of Industrial Archaeology’s Peter Neaverson Award for outstanding scholarship in industrial archaeology. He has also written a history of the Block Mills in Portsmouth Dockyard and several other books and guidebooks on British castles and monastic sites.
Jonathan is a former President of the Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, a member and former Councillor of the Navy Records Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Members of Council believed that the award of the Centenary Medal to him at this time is wholly warranted and would be a most appropriate public recognition of his long standing contribution to the work of the Society.
2018: Susan Rose
This year Council decided unanimously that it should be awarded to Dr Susan Rose.
Susan was first elected to Council of the SNR in the 1960s, whilst still working on her PhD thesis on the navy of the Lancastrian kings. She was later elected as a Trustee under the old ‘Articles of Association’, and later was appointed a Vice President.
She has been closely involved with the affairs of the Society for over half a century, particularly as a member of the Editorial Board of the Mariner’s Mirror and also as Chair, and latterly member, of the Research and Programmes Committee. As an eminent medieval maritime historian over the years she has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Society and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Continuing her research into medieval shipping she has published a number of books and articles including Medieval Naval Warfare, The Medieval Sea and in recent
times was awarded the 2014 Anderson Medal for her much acclaimed book ‘England’s Medieval Navy: Ships, Men & Warfare’.
She is currently a Council member and a past Vice President of the Naval Record Society and was also awarded a Fellowship of the SNR in 2015 in recognition of her work in the furtherance of the Society’s objectives. She is still very active as a Vice President giving support and guidance, particularly to the newer members of the Society.
2014: Ltd Cdr Lawrie Phillips
In 2014 the Centenary Medal was presented to Ltd Cdr Lawrie Phillips, who has been a member of the Society for more than 50 years and has been involved in most aspects of the Society at one time or another. He was Honorary Secretary in the 1980s and served on the Victory Advisory Technical Committee for more than twenty years. He has given many years’ service as a Vice-President of the Society and still serves on the Publications Committee where his professional advice continues to be extremely valuable.
His award was presented on board HMS Victory on 14 June, 2014 by Admiral Sir Kenneth Eaton.
- 2011 Dr Alan McGowan. The presentation was made by Mr Alan Aberg on board HMS Victory on 18 June
The Victory Medal
The Victory Medal was traditionally awarded to those who have shown exceptional assistance and dedication in serving HMS Victory and assisting in her conservation, but since 2012 has been awarded to those who have demonstrated similar dedication to any vessel(s).
2023 Alan Watson
This year’s Victory Medal has been awarded to Alan Watson, who masterminded the reconstruction of HMS Medusa, a Second World War Harbour Defence Motor Launch.
Alan served at sea as an electronics officer in the Merchant Navy. Ashore his career has been in communications and broadcasting. He currently divides his time between being chair of the Medusa Trust and captain of Medusa, teaching radar and electronic navigation, evaluating new equipment, and skippering training vessels for the Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force. He is vice-chairman of the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust, a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and a long-standing council member of National Historic Ships UK. He masterminded the reconstruction of HMS Medusa (ML1387), a Harbour Defence Motor Launch built in 1943 which is one of only 200 vessels listed on the National Historic Fleet.
Built for the Royal Navy in the Second World War to provide an offshore anti-submarine screen for Allied harbours, its war service included Exercise Fabius at Slapton sands, navigational leader for approach channel 4 at Omaha beach on D-Day, taking the surrender of Ijmuiden in Holland and being first Allied vessel to reach Amsterdam. Post-war service was with the Royal Navy Reserve before being allocated to Hydrographic survey duties along the east, south and west coasts. In 1968 it was sold for scrap, then the last of its class in naval service, and was bought by a group in Portland who operated and maintained it as a private vessel.
In 2002 the Medusa Trust was formed and took ownership. Following a major fund-raising drive, Medusa was overhauled from 2004–10, surviving a workshop fire to emerge fully conserved back to operational use. As well as the work on Medusa itself, the project trained 15 apprentices from start to qualification. In 2010 Medusa was rededicated by HRH The Princess Royal and has been in operation since visiting events, taking veterans and cadets to sea, undertaking filming and working with the Royal Navy.
Medusa is unique in that it has maintained the original configuration rather than returned to it from another use and is still operated as built including original machinery. It is now the only original and seaworthy example of this class and is kept by Alan and his team in a highly authentic form, always looking neat and seamanlike on her berth.
Alan has been a leading light in the Medusa Trust, working tirelessly on the vessel’s conservation and maintenance, personally tracking down pieces of missing equipment, leading the volunteers and skippering the vessel with aplomb throughout the season often in complex navigational situations. He is always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with others and regularly offers support to other coastal forces vessels and projects, as well as to the wider historic ships sector.
In 2021 he contributed to the development of the new Coastal Forces exhibition Night Hunters opened by the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Priddy’s Hard, even dropping everything to go and paint the two vessels on display at very short notice with his band of volunteers! He regularly puts forward his volunteers for recognition in the NHS-UK Annual Awards, so it is extremely fitting that the Victory Medal recognizes his own personal commitment, over many years, to the historic ships sector.
2022 Jonathan Coad
In addition to a long and distinguished service on Council, latterly as a Vice President, Jonathan’s contribution to and direct involvement with the ship, originally as a member of the VATC then, from 2006, taking on the chairmanship of the Committee, has been immense. He took up the chair on the cusp of a period of complex administrative change, as direct responsibility for the management, interpretation, curatorial stewardship and conservation of the vessel passed from the direct ownership of the RN to the National Museum of the Royal Navy. This change in the administrative ownership of the ship would be quickly accompanied by the introduction of a completely new approach to the vessel’s care, founded on rigorous principles of museological practice and conservation science, a period of change management which called forth on the part of the VATC membership the display of inter-personal skills and a degree of diplomatic finesse in face of the new circumstances, not least in the willingness to recognise that the impact of these changes would be far-reaching and profound, were long overdue and must be welcomed if the calamitous state into which the ship had evidently slipped was to be overcome and her future secured.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. With a long and renowned professional career in English Heritage as a senior inspector and internationally recognised expert in the history, care, conservation and restoration of vitally important historic buildings, most notably, and singularly, the outstanding structures of the naval estate at home and abroad, Jonathan’s approach with a total emphasis on best practice in everything was wholly in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the new regime. The new team and their insistence on extensive, detailed and thorough research and rigorous analysis of the entire structure of the ship, her fixtures and fittings in all their manifest complexity, using the most modern electronic means and leading to the production of the comprehensive Conservation Plan which has since guided and informed every aspect of the vessel’s future care and conservation, enjoyed his quietly encouraging support right from the outset. Indeed Jonathan’s quiet diplomacy, support for and spirit of co-operation with the new regime, based on a thorough professional understanding of its aims and objectives, has been an important, crucial even, element in the successful progress made by the NMRN team in bringing the ship back from the brink. Jonathon’s contribution to Victory’s long term care and conservation is now recognised by the award of the Victory Medal for his life-long outstanding contribution to the naval heritage.
2021: Andrew Baines
Andrew Baines studied both Quantity Surveying and Maritime Conservation Science at the University of Portsmouth. He has developed a career in the care of historic ships, working first on HMS Warrior, before moving to HMS Victory as curator. He subsequently became Head of Historic Ships and is now Deputy Executive Director of Museum Operations at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN).
Since joining NMRN, Andrew has guided HMS Victory through one of the most challenging periods in her conservation history. Working alongside the HMS Victory Technical Committee, Andrew initiated a radical new system of hull support which involved the careful removal of the 1922 cradle and the installation of 134 steel props fitted with load cells to monitor any future movement of the structure. This work concluded earlier this year and formed the first phase of stabilisation in what is a long and complex programme of conservation, undertaken entirely on Andrew’s watch.
He established the UK’s first historic ship team within the National Museum of the Royal Navy, balancing this against his all-consuming work with
HMS Victory. As a result, his team were required to support other Navy ships under the care of NMRN, including those at widespread UK sites.
Andrew’s commitment, drive and level of input has far exceeded that which might be expected from an individual in his role and, despite the pressure of his increasing workload, he has been praised by all those who have worked closely with him for his ceaseless dedication to the vessels under his care.
2020: Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards MBE is a traditional boat builder of Thames craft, particularly skiffs, but also because of his Cornish origins he has built up a considerable expertise in the construction of Pilot Gigs. His knowledge of all types of Thames craft and their origins and development is second to none as is his knowledge of related customs and traditions.
In 2002 he designed and built an eight-oared shallop, The Jubilant, to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and also in that year built a replica 17th century wooded submarine, designed by Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbell, which was successfully tested underwater with two rowers. In 2004 he built two replicas of the original boats used in the 1829 Boat Race which were races by the present day university crews over the original course at Henley. In 2011-12 he designed and built the 94 foot long Gloriana, a rowing barge powered by eighteen oarsmen as the lead ship in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Mark’s conservation work covers a wide range of powered and unpowered craft and, in addition, he has given employment and training in boat-building skills to a large number of young people, many of whom have come from difficult backgrounds.
2019: Dr Matthew Tanner
Matthew Tanner is the Chief Executive of the ss Great Britain Trust and was originally appointed as Curator in July 1997. He has not only achieved remarkable results over the years but has demonstrated dedication in the preservation and restoration of the actual SS Great Britain . He has set new worldwide standards in the conservation of historic ships and also in the scientific approach or interpretation of ships themselves.
Much of the scientific and historical research he has instigated has been published and he has also formed a partnership and collaboration between the Trust and the University of Bristol which lead to the creation of the Brunel Institute in 2010. He was awarded the MBE for ‘services to maritime conservation’ in 2007 and the Trust itself has been the recipient of numerous awards over the past fifteen years e.g. UK Museum of the Year and the Micheletti Prize for European Industrial and Scientific Museum of the year.
Although Matthew’s original focus was the conservation of the Great Britain itself he has broadened the scope of the Trust to set the ship in a wider context. This work incorporates not only Brunel, and his work generally, but also the maritime history of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has recently initiated plans to incorporate and restore the adjacent Albion dry-dock, thus bringing ship building and repair back to the heart of Bristol.
This award could be seen as a double celebration in some ways. Not only does it recognise Matthew’s exceptional dedication and achievements in maritime conservation that relate to the Great Britain but it also reminds us of the link between the Society and the ss Great Britain Trust. The Society and individual members of it, such as Ewan Corlett, contributed much time and effort to save this unique ship half a century ago and it is now marvellous to see what has been achieved during the past 20 years under Matthew’s leadership and guidance.
2018: Captain George Hogg RN Rtd.
George has strong Cornish maritime roots, as his great grandfather was a shipbuilder at Feock. He served in the Royal Navy for 37 years, undertaking amongst many roles that of Naval Attaché to states in South America. A keen maritime historian, George then became the Honorary Curator of the Cornwall Maritime Museum from 1993 until the creation of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in 1998 where he was one of the first trustees. Much of his time since has been spent developing the Cornwall Galleries and the Bartlett Library, which is now a valuable maritime archive. He was also responsible for the creation of the Yacht Design Data
base, which is a unique index of boat plans compiled from 18 different yachting magazines dating back to 1891.
As the initiator and founder of the National Small Boat Register he worked tirelessly in a voluntary capacity to document and record the UK’s small craft. Most recently, he single-handedly took on the task of cataloguing the EISCA boat collection, working with the auctioneers to salvage craft from the liquidators and shuttling between Scotland and the West Country to advise potential buyers.
With his wealth of knowledge about the UK’s smaller historic craft George sat on the National Historic Ships UK Registration Working Group for a number of years to help develop a new vessel assessment framework. His level of commitment and personal dedication to the world of historic ships is second to none and his often timely interventions have, in many cases, been directly responsible for saving and conserving significant collections or individual craft that would otherwise have been lost.
2017: Martyn Heighton.
Posthumously, for his all too brief life-time work in conserving historic vessels.
The Committee wrote:
- 2017 – Martyn Heighton, posthumously, for his all too brief life-time work in conserving historic vessels.
- 2015 John Kearon, Master Shipwright and Historic Vessel Conservator. Presented by Admiral Sir Kenneth Eaton for services to ship preservation.
- 2014 Tim Parr, He was one of the founding directors of the Cornish Maritime Trust. Presented by Admiral Sir Kenneth Eaton for services to ship preservation.
- 2013 Dr Tony Bravery. Presented by VA David Steel in recognition of the knowledge of timber that Dr Bravery has brought to the conservation of HMS Victory
- 2012 Malcolm McKeand. Presented by Admiral Sir Kenneth Eaton made in respect of Mr McKeand’s exceptional reconstruction of the Bristol Pilot Cutter Kindly Light
- 2011 Captain David T Smith, Mr Les Gilfoyle [medals], Mrs Jackie Stevenson [on behalf of her late husband], Mr Keith Johnson. Presented by Admiral Sir Kenneth Eaton for the exceptional restoration of HMS Trincomalee
- 2010 Mr Peter Goodwin curator of HMS Victory. Presented by Commodore Bob Thompson RN
- 2004 Michael Rudd
- 2002 Mr Dineen, Mr Round and Paul Marsh, all Naval Dockyard Staff
- 1999 Raymond Caruana, Professional Technology Officer (MoD), for outstanding work in the preservation and restoration of HMS Victory.
- 1992 Mr Chris Giffen, for serving eight years as project manager for maintaining and rebuilding HMS Victory