Royal Navy museum bid to retain Tipp explorers flag

Fethard Town Wall Photo © Tipp FM

A museum in the Britain is trying to raise money to prevent a flag owned by a famous Tipperary sailor and explorer from leaving the UK.

Henry Kellett was born in Clonacody near Fethard in 1806 and joined the British Navy in 1822.

He led two Arctic expeditions in the 1850s in the search for Sir John Franklin’s lost ships – the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror – which disappeared along with all of their crew in 1845.

A personal flag from the sled Henry Kellett used on one of the expeditions is apparently at risk of leaving the UK unless a buyer can be found.

A temporary export ban on the flag is due to expire this month leading to fears that the flag – valued at £120,000 – could be taken out of the UK.

The UK Government’s Art Fund has provided the National Museum of the Royal Navy with £40,000 to buy the flag, while the museum has raised an additional £40,000. This leaves them £40,000 short.

Henry Kellet died in 1875 in Clonacody.

Franklin’s ships were eventually discovered between 2014 and 2016.