NMRN launch crowdfunding campaign for restoration of Battle of Jutland sketch

Portsmouth’s National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the renovation of a large charcoal sketch depicting a First World War boy hero who remained at his post and awaited orders despite suffering fatal wounds.

Last month, the NMRN announced major contributions to the centenary commemorations of the Battle of Jutland in 2016, highlighting the Royal Navy’s pivotal role in the 1916 battle.

John Travers Cornwell, known as Jack Cornwell, was 16 years olds when he died fighting for his country in the Battle of Jutland. The NMRN want to restore the charcoal sketch and honour Jack’s memory and legacy by featuring it as the centrepiece of a new exhibition commemorating the battle.

Jack, who was from Essex and served aboard HMS Chester, was one of the youngest people to join the Royal Navy. He died shortly after battle, and was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross medal for honourable conduct.

His story captured the hearts of people across the UK, who demanded that, after initially being given a common burial, he be exhumed and reburied with full naval honours. A public reburial was held in Manor Park Cemetery in London.

The drawing of Jack is by Frank Ol. Salisbury. It’s a preparatory charcoal pastel sketch, measuring in at 271cm by 151.5cm, and it’s in a very fragile state — hence the conservation crowdfundraiser.

The crowdfunding campaign isn’t the first organised by the NMRN — they previously raised £9,236 to help preserve First World War ship HMS M.33, the only remaining Royal Navy survivor of Gallipoli. Since its public opening at the beginning of August 2015, M.33 has been visited by more than 42,000 people.

The restoration and conservation campaign, for which the target is £25,000, is hosted on Indiegogo, and the fundraising goals and gifts are as follows:

  • £5: A specially-designed thank-you graphic with the contributor’s name on NMRN’s Twitter stream
  • £10: A thank-you video from the crowdfunding team published on NMRN’s Facebook page
  • £25: A ticket to the world’s largest Battle of Jutland exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, opening May 2016
  • £100: A limited-edition postcard featuring the Jack Cornwell charcoal and pastel sketch and a ticket to the world’s largest Battle of Jutland exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, opening May 2016
  • £250: A replica of the Victoria Cross medal with the Naval Ribbon — the same style Jack Cornwell was awarded — and a ticket to the world’s largest Battle of Jutland exhibition at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, opening May 2016, plus a limited-edition postcard featuring the Jack Cornwell charcoal and pastel sketch
  • £500: The contributor’s name on the Donor Wall in the Battle of Jutland exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, opening May 2016, and a limited-edition postcard featuring the Jack Cornwell charcoal and pastel sketch, plus and a ticket to the Battle of Jutland exhibition
  • £1,000: An invitation to the VIP launch of the Battle of Jutland exhibition in May 2016, a tour of the exhibition, two tickets to the exhibition, and a limited-edition postcard featuring the Jack Cornwell pastel and charcoal sketch, for two people
  • £1,500: An invitation to the VIP launch of the Battle of Jutland exhibition in May 2016, a tour of the exhibition, the contributor’s name on the Donor Wall, two tickets to the exhibition, and a limited-edition postcard featuring the Jack Cornwell pastel and charcoal sketch, for two people

Crowdfunding donations can be made online now through the campaign’s Indiegogo page »