Yomper statue to stay on Eastney seafront

The Yomper, sculptured by Philip Jackson, marks the entrance to The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Royal Marines Museum, Eastney

The board of The National Museum of the Royal Navy has agreed unanimously to keep the Yomper statue where it is on Eastney seafront.

The resounding “yes” followed a year-long public consultation which gathered over 3000 responses from across the country.

The Yomper, sculpted by Philip Jackson, has become a very popular feature of the Eastney seafront. It dominates the entrance to the Royal Marines Museum and was originally commissioned as a marker for the museum, the galleries of which are now closed to visitors. It was unveiled by Lady Margaret Thatcher on 8 July 1992 on the 10th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.

Following the award of a £13.85 million grant in May 2016 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create the country’s newest national collection at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, it was announced that a new Royal Marines Museum would open in the historic dockyard. It was feared this would prompt the removal of the statue from its current location to the new museum when it opens in 2020.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy said: “The board was moved by the strength of public feeling about the Yomper and easily convinced of the proud place it occupies on the seafront. We have made the right decision.

“We are very pleased that we went out to public consultation and those against the move put together a great, persuasive campaign.

But we do need to reach a final agreement with the city council on ground maintenance and how we will care for the statue when there is no longer a team on site. Although rare, if there are any incidences of vandalism, we will have to reconsider. The statue remains as part of the museum’s collection and we have a duty to ensure it is well cared for.”