Royal Naval Museum



Warder's Choice


The choice of Jon Johnson

Jon describes the item he has chosen as his favourite in this gallery and explains why he likes it.

”The wheel of HMS Conway – previously HMS Nile – is a tangible link to one of our longest serving wooden battleships. She was launched during the age of sail in 1839 and due to her innovative structure, she survived into the twentieth century as a training ship until 1953. Unfortunately, her illustrious career was ended when she was accidentally beached in the Menai Straits after an expensive refit. She was later burnt.

However, you can still stand in front of the wheel and, with a certain amount of imagination, feel the sway of the ship, feel the wind, hear the gulls. It also gives a sense of proportion as right next to this survivor is a glass case containing a model of the very same ship.

We have had a surviving crew member actually in the Museum. He was at this wheel half an hour before the tragedy. A truly amazing connection to our great maritime history.

For those who enjoy researching the past and what makes us what we are today this is a perfect starting point.”

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