The Mary Rose, vice-flagship of Henry VIII’s war fleet, had been in service for 34 years when she went into action against the French in the battle of the Solent in Portsmouth Harbour. The year was 1545. On the second day of the conflict, the Mary Rose turned to starboard and sank rapidly.
Among the 500 crew that perished in the sinking was the captain’s dog, a whippet-terrier cross whose job it was to hunt down the rats that were on board the ship. The dog’s remains were found close to the door of the captain’s quarters, suggesting that it had been trapped inside when the ship sank.
The ship’s remains were preserved by the silt and clay of the harbour. The ship was discovered in 1971 and excavated during the period 1979 to 1982, when many artifacts were saved and preserved. The hull of the ship was raised in 1982.
The Mary Rose is now a museum in Portsmouth, England where on one side you can view the hull of the ship and on the other, you can observe the preserved contents of the ship, including the skeleton of the master’s dog, laid out as if in mirror image to the ship’s hull.
The museum’s gift shop sells a 37 cm tall stuffed dog- affectionately named ‘Hatch’, a replica of what the captain’s dog probably looked like.