The retirement of the RMS St Helena; an opportunity for a Merchant Navy museum? After twenty six years servicing the Island of St Helena the ship that bears the Island’s name is to be put up for sale. RMS St Helena must be one of the last British built and owned vessels of her type and one of only a few ocean-going ships that still fly the Red Ensign of the British Merchant Navy. At the time of the Second World War the merchant fleet was the largest in the world and it played a vital part in ensuring Britain’s survival. At the lowest point merchant ships still brought in more than a third of Britain’s food requirements all of its fuel oil and the majority of its raw materials and war materiel. In addition it transported millions of troops. In doing so the service sustained enormous losses: 4,786 of its ships were sunk and more than 32,000 seamen perished. While the losses seem small compared to the Battle of the Somme its strength was no more than 180,000 and the proportion of losses were greater than those of the ‘fighting services’. The fleet played a significant part in all the evacuations and landings that took place during the war. In the three weeks after Dunkirk they, with other Allied merchant ships, rescued about 180,000 service personnel, three quarters of whom were British. A considerable number of civilians were also saved. The MN supplied almost a thousand ships for the Normandy Landings, ranging from half of all the Infantry Landing Ships on the first day, to little coasters who beached themselves to discharge their vital cargoes in the weeks that followed. Among many other operations where they played a significant part were the evacuation of Singapore and the relief of Malta. There is no museum dedicated the service and most of what they achieved has been forgotten. Few veterans remain and no British ocean-going cargo ships from that period exist. Other nations still keep units of their wartime fleets. RMS St Helena would be most suitable for conversion to a sea-going museum ship; which could call at ports around Britain, spending, say, six weeks in each port. In this way the ports would be visited at two year intervals giving schools, youth groups and others opportunities to visit.