Shipwright Ovenden

William James Ovenden was born in 1920 and lived almost to his 99th birthday. He became a Dockyard apprentice in his teens and joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War.

As a shipwright he sailed in HMS Grenville and in the battleship HMS Vanguard. His shipwright’s sea chest with full complement of tools has been donated by his family to the Steam, Steel and Submarine Museum at the Historic Dockyard Chatham.

The film prep carpenters gathered around the chest like children around a jar of sweeties. They admired the tools and asked if they could touch some of them in awe of how well looked after they were.

The volunteers struggled with the heavy chest so the film ‘chippies’ lugged it up the stairs to the archive. How lovely to see such a collection.

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