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.”