Training Ship Mercury

(1885 - 1968)

The Home of the

Mercury Old Boys' Association


Last Update: 30 October 2018

MOBA © 2009

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The Historic Dockyard, Chatham

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The Training Ship Mercury


The Training Ship Mercury was founded in 1885 and closed down in 1968. Initially located on a ship moored off the Isle of Wight, for most of its existence it was located at Hamble near Southampton, England and consisted of a substantial shorebased school with a dormitory ship moored nearby in the River Hamble. Today, the heritage of the school is kept alive by the Mercury Old Boys’ Association which consists of approximately 500 members scattered across the world. Annual reunions are held as well as other events. A quality magazine is produced annually.


We welcome all those interested in finding out more about our unusual school and the Mercury Old Boys' Association, as well as requests from relatives researching their family history. For those Old Boys and former staff wishing to join the association, please contact the Membership Secretary. Associate Membership is also open to relatives of former Mercury boys and others who have an interest in the establishment.

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The Mercury Old Boys’ Association



Welcome to the Mercury Old Boys’ Association. “Mercury” was both a school and training ship where, between 1885 and 1968, around 5,000 boys were prepared for a life at sea in conditions that were usually hard and often harsh.  For most of us Mercury was a testing time with memories that endure for a lifetime. Nonetheless it prepared us well, giving us a sense of camaraderie, values, pride and, above all, a respect for others – all that is needed for a life afloat or ashore.  Never was a school’s motto more appropriate for it read “Men are the Souls of Ships”.  

Captain David Parsons MNI,

Chairman, Mercury Old Boys’ Association