Sultan Marine Engineering Museum curator receives MBE

A volunteer from Gosport who was recognised in the New Year’s Honours List, received another unexpected surprise recently as he was presented his medal by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sultan Marine Engineering Museum curator receives MBEHMS Sultan Marine Engineering Museum Curator Derek ‘Sam’ Weaver received an MBE for his dedication and determination in preserving decades of Naval history and was presented the award at a recent ceremony held at Windsor Castle.

Sam has been at the helm of the Marine Engineering Museum since 1992. He took on the voluntary role towards the end of his 32 year career in the Royal Navy as a Mechanic on Her Majesty’s Ships Cook and Wakefull, and as a Mechanician on HMS Hermes and submarines including Tiptoe, Finwhale, Renown, Repulse and Revenge.

Since leaving the RN, as a Retired Officer, Sam also took charge of the Artificer’s Management Group, that taught specialist trade skills within HMS Sultan from 1993 until his retirement in 2007.

The museum is mainly made up of artefacts and memorabilia that’s been donated by families of past serving members and from those that are still living who would like their artefacts preserved for prosperity and displayed for others to see.

My three daughters were with me when I received news of my MBE and I was completely over the moon

Derek ‘Sam’ Weaver, HMS Sultan Marine Engineering Museum Curator

It also holds records of Artificer and Mechanicians training going back as far as 1923 from both HMS Fisgard, Fisgard Squadron (formerly based at HMS Raleigh) and HMS Caledonia along with records from HMS Sultan.

Sam and his team of volunteers regularly welcome visits by groups of veterans and trainees and the museum also gets opened up to the general public every September during Gosport Heritage Open Days. 

Sam said: “Our main business is the records we keep. We continually get asked for records by those tracing their ancestors. We also receive requests for visits from classes coming together on reunions and we’re always happy to help. A number of our photos and memorabilia will also go on display at a special Gala Dinner to mark the 150th anniversary of Artificers in the Royal Navy at Guildhall, London in May.”

“My three daughters were with me when I received news of my MBE and I was completely over the moon. I knew nothing about it and I was just so grateful to have been nominated. When I received the medal from Her Majesty The Queen it was a wonderful surprise for us all.”

HMS Wedding Bells

In an association with the Royal Navy which nearly spans six decades, Sam describes the two years he spent on his first ship HMS Cook in Fiji and around the South Pacific as his best draft which also led, in a strange twist of fate, to him meeting his wife.

Sam said, “There was an article in The News of The World and they called it ‘HMS Wedding Bells’ as there had been sixteen lads from the ship who had got married during the ships deployment in the Far East to local South Pacific girls out there in Fiji and New Zealand.

As a result a lady wrote a letter back to the Stokers Mess on board HMS Cook saying that there are plenty of beauties back home.

One of my friends, who picked up the letter noticed that it came from Kent and suggested that as I also came from there I should get in touch, so I wrote to her and arranged to meet when we got back. Through her I met my wife Stella and we were married just ten months later and were happily married for fifty years until she passed away four years ago.”