Sir Donald Gosling on HMS Victory in 2012
Navy

WWII Veteran And Navy Charity Benefactor Sir Donald Gosling Dies

Sir Donald served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War on board the cruiser HMS Leander.

Sir Donald Gosling on HMS Victory in 2012

Second World War veteran and benefactor of naval charities Sir Donald Gosling has died.

Sir Donald joined the Royal Navy in 1944 and served in the Second World War on board the cruiser HMS Leander.

When he left the navy post-war he teamed up with fellow ex-serviceman Ronald Hobson, buying a bombsite in London and turning it into a car park, which became a business called National Car Parks.

Receiving a knighthood in 1976, Sir Donald was first appointed to the Royal Naval Reserve by Her Majesty The Queen in 1993, initially in the rank of Captain.

During his life, Sir Donald was a generous benefactor to naval charities and a trustee of the Fleet Air Arm museum, and is the Vice President of Seafarers UK.

He also had a long association with the White Ensign Association.

Sir Donald was also known for supporting naval personnel and their families, including helping with commissioning ceremonies, helping to kit out mess decks and paying for adventurous training opportunities around the world, including contributing to the amenities fund of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Prince Philip and the Queen presenting Sir Donald Gosling with a flag at Windsor Castle during a ceremony making him Vice Admiral of the UK
Sir Donald Gosling during a ceremony to install him as Vice Admiral of the UK (Picture: Ian Nicholson/PA).

In April 2012, he became Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom, an honorary position subordinate to the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Sir Donald also supported naval documentary makers, serving as a trustee of the Fleet Air Arm Museum and, in 2012, donating £25m to help preserve HMS Victory for generations to come.

His support of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, where a gallery in Portsmouth bears his name, has helped with the ongoing transformation of the UK’s four principal naval museums.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy tweeted: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Sir Donald Gosling.

"He never forgot his Navy service and was a munificent supporter of HMS Victory and many other National Museum campaigns.

"More importantly he was a warm and great-hearted man. He will be greatly missed."

Sir Donald Gosling tweet

The Old Royal Naval College tweeted that Sir Donald's "generosity and huge contribution to the conservation of the Painted Hall helped bring this beautiful work of art into the public realm to be enjoyed generations to come".

Sir Donald Gosling tweet