First World War veteran ship seeks support from the “crowd” to complete conservation project

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Crowdfunding campaign to start Monday 16th February 2015 for one month only

Crowdfunding is being adopted by the National Museum of the Royal Navy for the very first time to raise funds for the completion of the conservation of First World War veteran vessel HMS M.33 in her centenary year.

HMS M.33 is the sole surviving Royal Navy vessel from the Gallipoli campaign fought between April 1915 and January 1916 in what is now modern day Turkey. Over 100,000 personnel from around the world lost their lives during the fierce campaign and the ship will be the backdrop to one of three events being commemorated nationally to mark the centenary when she opens on August 6th 2015.

In keeping with the centenary commemorations, a target of £19,150 to be raised online has been set as part of a crowdfunding appeal and to reflect the significance of the anniversary date. This represents just under 10% of the remaining amount, £250,000 to be raised by the Museum for the completion of the fundraising campaign. Typically, crowdfunding appeals raise small amounts from a large amount of people and interest is generated online. The campaign follows an award of £1.75 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Lying alongside HMS Victory, M33 is a coastal bombardment ‘Monitor’ of 568 tons and features a shallow draft enabling her to get close into shore and fire at targets on land which was essential during the Gallipoli Campaign.

She carried two powerful and oversize 6” guns but was a basic metal box lacking in comforts. The 72 officers and men who sailed for the Gallipoli Campaign were crammed inside and away from home for over 3 years. The M33 project  is part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s wider ‘Great War At Sea 1914 – 1918’ programme to mark the Royal Navy’s First World War. It will be also accompanied by the special exhibition, ‘Gallipoli: Myth and Memory’ opening on March 28th 2015.

Matthew Sheldon, Project Director for the M33 launch explains: “Those donating to the crowdfunding campaign receive a number of benefits according to the level of their gift. These range from social media acknowledgement via “shout outs” thanking them individually, to free tickets, limited edition postcards up to special tours of the ship with an experienced curator.”

“We are excited to be using crowdfunding for the first time. It is one of many innovations associated with the project including some of the interpretation we will be using onboard – which will be a bold, moving and impactful interpretation of the campaign.  It also reinforces our message that warfare took place at sea as well as on land and in the trenches.”

“Most importantly though, those donating have the unique opportunity to contribute to saving a fantastic piece of our naval heritage that will be open to visitors for many, many years. We describe her as a little ship with a big history and the beauty of crowdfunding is that you don’t need to contribute large amounts to ensure she is safe for the future.”

The appeal is set to run for one month from February 16th on https://www.indiegogo.com/at/m33