Home ] Up ] Acknowledgements ] How to use our site ]

Chatham Dockyard 

Home ] Up ] [ Chatham Dockyard ] Portsmouth Dockyard ] Sheerness Dockyard ] Pembroke Dockyard ] Devonport Dockyard ] Elswick Shipyard ] Scotts  Ship Building, ] Vosper Thornycroft ] Gibraltar Naval Docks ] Malta Harbour ] Bermuda Dockyard ] Greek Ports ] French Naval Bases ] Italian Naval Bases ] German Naval Bases ] Keyham Dockyard ] HMS Ganges ] HMS Collingwood Naval Training Base ]

Choose the navy or section of interest below:

Royal Navy United States Germany France Japan Italy Russia Austria-Hungary
Canada Spain Netherlands Argentina Brazil Portugal Turkey Australia
Norway Sweden Denmark Belgium Chile Uruguay China New Zealand
Malta Greece India Poland South Africa Pakistan Libya Kuwait
Ireland Other Navies Liners   Unidentified Ships Wartime Naval Losses


Customer Helpline (UK) : 01436 820269
Subscribe to our Newsletter!

You currently have no items in your basket

Choose a FREE print if you spend over £220!
See Choice of Free Prints

Payment Options Display
Buy with confidence and security!
Publishing historical art since 1985

Google

 

Web

www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk

 

History of Chatham Dockyard. Chatham dockyard, situated on the Medway, was a major naval base for the Royal Navy for many centuries during the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.

For ex-employees and families of ex-employees of Chatham Dockyard a message board has been set up click here to view messages.

The following text is from the Navy & Army Illustrated March - April 1902.

The Medway is shallow, with a strong tide, and pursues a winding course through mud-flats, while in old times its channel was dangerous owing to shoals. The river bed had to be deepened in order that the establishment might accommodate modern leviathans, and the docks and basins depicted in the photographs will suggest that a great work was accomplished in that direction. The true reason for the rise of Chatham as a Naval centre was the relative proximity of the place to London, and the facility of access by water. The same cause gave its importance to Deptford, which in the reign of Henry VIII, was the principal naval yard, and long continued to do so, although judged by the expenses of maintenance, Chatham may have been more important even in Elizabeth's time. In 1589, including the charges for building a new storehouse, the costs were £1,774, while the outlay at Deptford was £266, at Woolwich £12 and at Portsmouth £64. Greater charges for Chatham were also found in 1591, and Peter Buck, clerk of the Cheque there, had £40 a year, while the chief clerks of Deptford and Portsmouth had only £20 each

There had been facilities for careening ships on the protected mud-banks of the Medway in earlier times, and when Henry VIII was threatened with a combination between France and the Empire, he set about fortifying important places, including Queenborough, near the mouth of the river. Upnor Castle, on the Medway, dates from Elizabeth's reign. (The Main Gate of the Dockyard pictured right).

Whatever convenience there might have been for repairing ships at Chatham in early days, the dockyard was founded by that Queen on the site of the present gun-wharf, the establishment being transferred to the present site about the year 1622. Elizabeth herself paid a visit to the place in 1573, and Camden describes the dockyard as "stored for the finest fleet the sun ever beheld, and ready at a minutes warning, built lately by our most gracious sovereign Elizabeth at great expense for the security of her subjects and the terror of her enemies, with a fort on the shore for its defence."

In the Spanish wars of the time it was customary for ships to lie in reserve at Chatham, and Hawkins threw a chain across the river for protection. Burough, writing in 1588, concerning four great ships then at Queenborough, refers to the repairing and fitting facilities at the port "which ships are to bring up to Chatham, as soon as we can, and then to ground them, and make them ready as we shall be appointed." Howard, writing to Walsingham on this business, lost hope of seeing those ships on active service, and what he says is worth quoting as illustrating the sound views common with the seamen of that age: " If things fall out as it is most likeliest, they shall be to keep Chatham Church, when they should serve the turn abroad. I protest before God, I speak not for myself any ways, but for her Majesty's service and surety; for whensoever they should come, I mean not to change out of her I am in (the Arc Ralegh) for any ship that ever was made. In 1586, 25 ships were laid up at Chatham under the care of 202 men, and the port was a chief base for the Navy at the time. In 1596, when the Spaniards were at Calais, ships were at Chatham for the protection of home waters, and the fleet was brought round there after the Cadiz expedition, and the port was constantly used up to the conclusion of the war. (Photograph above left shows The Royal Adelaide, hulk, Pembroke depot ship and others).

The Naval importance of Chatham is shown by the institution of the Chatham Chest by Hawkins, Drake and others in 1590, for the relief and support for injured or disabled sailors. The semen were generously minded after 1588, and a contribution of sixpence a month from able seamen, and fourpence from ordinary seamen, with threepence for boys, was mulcted from their wages. It was stated that by their service at sea "masters, mariners, shipwrights, and seafaring men, by reason of hurts and maims received in the service, were driven into great poverty, extremities, and want, to their great discouragement." Every visible precaution was taken for the safe custody of the money, and in 1625 an iron chest with five locks was ordered for the purpose, the keys to be kept by five representative officers of different grades, who could only open it when together, and who were to be changed every 12 months. The chest still exists in Greenwich Hospital, where it was placed by the Admiralty in 1846. Notwithstanding all safeguards, there were great leakages. The very year after the chest was bought, Russell, Treasurer of the Navy, took £2,600 out of it to pay wages, and the sum abstracted was slowly restored, but there is the best reason to believe that the chest suffered very heavily from malversation of money. Pepys was anxious about the state of affairs in 1662. He was informed that the fund had been much abused, and that it would be a meritorious act to look after it, "which I am resolved to do, if God bless me". A committee was appointed and he discovered many things which did not please him. French rules were, therefore, laid down, but abuse was not altogether checked. Yet, as Mr Oppenheim says, the administration of the Chatham Chest in early Stuart times was undoubtedly in a condition of ideal purity compared with the depths of organised infamy to which it sank during the eighteenth century. The chest continued to exist under varying regulations until 1803, when it was transferred to the Directors of the Chest at Greenwich and practically became a part of the relief fund of Greenwich Hospital.

James I took much interest in Chatham, and visited it in 1606 with King Christian of Denmark and many noblemen, being received with a great salute, and they dined on board one of the ships. The growing importance of the place was marked by the fact that in 1619 and 1620 it obtained two mast docks, and that much additional ground was bought, on which a dock, storehouse, and various brick and lime kilns might be erected. Another dock was in hand in 1623, in which year Hawkin's chain was replaced by a boom of masts, iron, cordage, and the hulls of two ships, and two pinnacles. This defensive arrangement was further improved about 1645. Two of Elizabeth's ships, the Garland, of 1590, and the Mary Rose, 1598, had been used in construction of a wharf. (Photograph below right shows the Great Sheers at Chatham Yard - The battleships Irresistible and Goliath in No.2 basin.).

The early officers of the establishment were interesting personages. Phineas Pett, the great shipbuilder, was appointed keeper of the plank-yard in 1600, and assistant to the master shipwright in 1601. Four years later he became himself one of the King's master shipwrights, and was the designer of the famous Prince Royal, and in 1630 he was appointed assistant to the Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy, to reside at Chatham, and he died there in 1647. His son Peter succeeded him in 1647 or 1648, but was removed from his office of commissioner in 1667, owing to the blame cast upon him in regard to the success of the Dutch fleet in the Medway. Sir John Cox, who fought in the 4 days action with the Dutch in June 1666, and was killed in the battle of Solebay in 1672, was appointed resident commissioner at Chatham in 1669. Another Pett, Sir Phineas, grand-nephew of the first commissioner at Chatham, was appointed master shipwright at the yard in July 1660. He was dismissed a few years later for misbehaviour in office, but was restored to favour, became a member of the Navy Board, was transferred to Chatham again in 1686, and was dismissed for political reasons in 1689. 

The pages of Pepys are full of interesting matter concerning Chatham Dockyard. On July 11 1663 he writes: "By barge to St Mary's Creek, where commissioner Pett (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there) do design a wet dock at no great charge, and yet no little one; he thinks towards £10,000. And the place indeed is likely to be a very fit place when the king hath money to do with." Pepys was at Chatham again, viewing the yard with Commissioner Pett on October 2nd 1665. "And among other things, a team of four horses come close by us, he being with me drawing a piece of timber that I am confident one man could easily have carried upon his back. I made the horses be taken away, and a man or two to take the timber away with their hands." Pepys did not entirely trust Pett, and the disgrace of the Commissioner came with the Dutch raid of 1667. De Ruyter's detached squadron attacked Sheerness, and took it, creating a panic in London, and orders were given to sink ships in the river, with the intention of blocking the channel to Chatham, but on June 12 De Ruyter advanced up the Medway, passed Upnor Castle with little opposition, and attacked a number of our ships lying above that point. These were given to the flames, and some of the finest vessels in the navy, including the Royal James, 82, the Loyal London, 90, and the Royal Oak, 76, perished, while the Royal Charles, 90, was captured and carried off. Thus, at Chatham befel one of the most humiliating incidents in all our naval history. On the last day of the gloomy month, Pepys was there and heard that there had been but one man killed on shore. "Thence by barge, it raining hard, down to the chain; and in our way did see the sad wrecks of the poor Royal Oak, James and London and several others of our ships by us sunk, and several of the enemy's, whereof three men-of-war that they could not get off, and so burnt. So to the chain, and there saw it fast at the end on the Upnor side of the river; and where it broke nobody can tell me."

In the reign of Charles I the first wet dock or basin was constructed at Chatham, and the same monarch erected large storehouses and a sail loft, and enlarged the yard. Yet, at the same time, the Crown was very short of money, and the Chatham shipwrights threatened to cease work unless they were paid, the men being so turbulent that they actually besieged the Navy Commissioners. The unhappy commissioners were constantly ordered to perform impossibilities, and, when it was asked at what cost ships were built, the Chatham dockyardmen said they had been twelve months "without one penny being paid, neither having any allowance for meat or drink, by which many of them, having pawned all they can, others turned out of doors for nonpayment of rent, which, with the cries of their wives and children for food and necessaries, doth utterly dishearten them." Driven to desperation, the Chatham men at last marched up to London in a body, whereupon the Treasurer of the Navy made a promise which was not fulfilled, while, as Mr Oppenheim says, "the ragged misery of the visitors was an outrage on the scented decorum of the Court." ( Photograph left shows the building of the ship - a battleship receiving her skin plating.)

But Chatham was growing in importance, though there was manifest need for docking accommodation. Defoe visited the place in 1705, and speaks with an enthusiasm of its achievements which may pass belief. "So great is the order and application there that a first-rate vessel of war of 106 guns, ordered to be commissioned by Sir Cloudesley Shovell, was ready in three days. At the time the order was given the vessel was entirely unrigged; yet the masts were raised, sails bent, anchors and cables on board, in that time.

The outbreak of war with France and Spain had demonstrated the need for expansion in that quarter, and in 1710 land was ordered to be bought to improve the establishment. The largest classes of ships were built at Chatham in the years that followed. Thus the Plymouth, 80, was built in 1722, and the Royal Sovereign, 100, in 1728, both from designs by J Rosewell. The Ramillies, 74 was launched in 1763, the Victory, 100, in 1765, the Barfleur, 98, in 1768, the Queen Charlotte, 100, in 1789, and the Ville de Paris, 110, in 1795. By the year 1770 the establishment had so grown that, including the gun wharf it extended a mile in length, had an area of over 95 acres, and possessed four slips and four large docks. The officers and men employed in the yard had also greatly increased, and it may be interesting to say that in 1798 they numbered 1,664, including 49 officers and clerks, and 624 shipwrights. The others were blockmakers, caulkers, pitch-heaters, blacksmiths, joiners, carpenters, sail makers, riggers, and ropemakers (these last number 274), as well as bricklayers, labourers and others. since that time the men employed at Chatham have more than quadrupled in number, as the establishment has increased in extent.

The importance of the dockyard in the days of the Great War and the menaces of the time forced upon the authorities in the latter half of the eighteenth century the necessity of creating adequate defences for the place in the shape of earthworks and forts. These were the well known Chatham Lines. The Inner Lines enclosed the dockyard, barracks, St Mary's Church, and the town of Old Brompton, while the Outer Lines was a name given to the open space devoted to sports and military manoeuvres. Charles Dickens, who knew Chatham well, spoke of the defences in an article in Household Words, which may be quoted:

"I took a walk upon these Lines, and mused among the fortifications, grassy and innocent on the surface at present, but tough subjects at the core. Here I saw the artfullest pits and drawbridges, the slyest batteries in most unexpected angles and turnings, the lowest, deepest-set, beetle-browed little windows down among the stinging nettles at the bottom of trenches. Steeped in these mysteries, I wandered round the trenches of Fort Pitt, and then away to Fort Clarence, and, looking down the river from the sloping bank, I saw even there, upon the shore, a stranded little fort, with its weather beaten brick face staring at the mud."

Sir Edward Gregory, who retired in 1703 (Clerk of the Cheque at Chatham for nearly 20 years), had been the last civilian to hold office as Commissioner of the yard. The last Resident Commissioner was Captain Charles Cunningham on whose retirement, in 1829, the dockyard was placed temporarily under the inspection of Captain J M Lewes, Resident Commissioner at Sheerness. Captain, afterwards Admiral, Sir Charles Bullen was the first Superintendent, being appointed in December 1831, and being invested with the same power and authority as the Commissioners, his predecessors, except in matters which were required by Act of Parliament to be done by the Commissioner of the Navy. As is well known, the Navy Board was abolished shortly afterwards, its powers being transferred to the Admiralty, and the Resident Commissioners at all the yards were replaced by admirals or captains as Superintendents.

In 1879, when the new system was working, and when the Chief Constructor had long replaced the old Master Builder, there were 3,800 men at Chatham yard, and yet only one Chief Constructor, whereas under the older system the supervision would have been under many more officers. At the same time the dockyard had increased in extent from 95 to 500 acres. In the first years of the nineteenth century Sir Robert Seppings, who was a Master Builder at Chatham, attained great eminence as a naval constructor. Since his time a revolution has taken place in the constructive work at the yard, and many of the conditions that existed even 20 years ago have changed.

The resources of the dockyard had been fully employed, and an ever-increasing strain at length forced upon the attention of the authorities the necessity for the expansion of the establishments. Sir J Rennie, the eminent engineer who was so greatly concerned in the Portsmouth works, was consulted in regard to the necessities, and an important plan for an enlargement was prepared by him. It was not, however, until 1853 that the Admiralty became possessed of the whole of St Mary's Island and some neighbouring land, upon which the extension was to be made. Three years later the Navy Estimates bore a charge of £160,000 towards the work, and a large employment of convict labour was contemplated. Progress was slow, and little was done until 1864, when General Sir A Clarke, who was then Director of Works at the Admiralty, took up the matter energetically. The works were in hand about 18 years, the estimates of 1884-1885 bearing a small charge practically for completion.

The huge crane which is depicted (top left, the largest crane at Chatham), the dockyard railway as a great facility for work (top right a working party leave the storehouse by the dockyard railway), and the vast basins and docks, are thus accounted for. It is a proud record of a great work done, and does not take any account of the cruisers built at the yard. Chatham on the other hand has many memorials of the old navy, including a large collection of figureheads, which almost rivals that at Devonport. We see also that there is still scope for the deft hands of women in the naval service. (below right women making flags in the Chatham loft), and they do good work in the spinning of hemp for cables (above left women spinning hemp for cables).

The great extension of the Chatham Dockyard initiated in 1853, gave us the establishment as it exists today. The old establishment still exists, however, with some modifications from its former state, and possesses its old wooden slips and docks. There are four iron slips dating from about 40 years ago, and the old saw-pits are there, with other evidences of the Navy in the early part of the last century and century before. The fine figureheads which are illustrated  indicate how the evidences of the past are are treasured at Chatham (See top right and below left), and it would have been a pleasure to describe some other relics of the place. There was a discovery of a vessel some 36 ft below the ground level, made a few years ago when the excavation for the present basins was in progress. There can be little doubt that this was one of the Dutch ships which made the raid up the Medway in 1667. She stood upright in the mud, still possessing her guns and large quantities of shot in her lockers, many of which relics have their place in the dockyard museum.

But it is now time to turn to the extension works of the present day. The three great basins, lying in a west and east line, give access in both directions to the Medway, the eastern opening - from No.3 basin - being through two large locks, which can be used in case of necessity for docking ships. the first basin, that to the west, was opened in 1872 with much ceremony, as well as two of the four docks on its south side. These new graving docks are more than 400 ft long and 100 ft wide, and the basin itself has a length of about 1,600 ft by 900 ft. At its eastern end is an opening into No.2 basin, which is about 1,500 ft long by 800 ft wide, and from this again into basin No. 3, which has an extreme length of about 1,800 ft, its width except towards the east, where it is wider and irregular in shape, being some 800 ft. It is from the basin last mentioned that access is gained to the Medway through the two locks, outside of which are the collier dock, with slips, and other important parts of the establishment. This immense addition to Chatham dockyard, which was practically  the creation of a new establishment fitted to cope with the growing needs of the Fleet, was completed in 1885, when a simple inaugural ceremony took place in September.

The extension of the dockyard was not confined to basins and docks. With the larger future designed for the establishment, many factories, workshops, and stores became necessary, these being erected in convenient positions adjacent to the basins. The gunnery, torpedo and engine shops and other factories and storehouses, are of great size, and the manufacturing establishments are fitted with the latest appliances for work of every description. There is a mighty Hydraulic crane capable of lifting about 200 tons, and the equipment in apparatus of that kind is very complicated indeed. As in other Naval establishments there are steam-hammers, punching machines (see right), sheering machines, steam saw-mills amongst others. The creating of such an establishment where lay an expanse of some 400 acres of desolate marsh, abounding in swamps and dykes, was an achievement to be proud of, and we cannot withhold admiration from the energy with which the work was undertaken and the zeal with which it was executed. It had been foreseen that with the enlargement of the dockyard, and the creation of facilities for building and repairing the largest classes of vessels, the channel of the Medway would have to be improved. That ancient waterway, winding through level tracts, and abounding in creeks, was too shallow for our modern leviathans, and a very great work has since been completed in dredging the bed of the river. Ten years ago the work was in progress, and it was completed in 1896, though, of course, dredging operations are continually necessary to prevent the silting up of the passage. 

The last ten years have seen further progress in the establishment. No.5 dock has been lengthened in order that it may accommodate cruisers of the Diadem class (435ft), this work having been completed about September 1898. A new coaling depot is being created to facilitate and expedite the work. The reconstruction of the foundry also became necessary, but considerable difficulties occurred, and it was at length decided that a new foundry should be constructed. As a matter of fact, the foundations of the old structure had given way, thus illustrating one of the great difficulties which have been encountered at the Chatham yard. Provision was made for the new foundry in the Estimates of 1899-1900, as also for a new building slip. Some delay, however, occurred in completing  the plans for the latter, but good progress is being made, as also with other works in progress at the yard, and the foundry will be completed in 1902. Progress is also being made with the coaling establishment, and a new dock is to be added. (Below right a plan of Chatham Dockyard)

The increase in Chatham Dockyard has not been in material matters only. The additions made to the fleet have involved a great augmentation in the number of officers and men at port, and the necessity for larger accommodation became a pressing need six or seven years ago. The extension works had been partly executed by convict labour, and the convict prison became available for conversion into barracks. There was, however, a great need for suitable new buildings, and the inconvenience of putting seamen into hulks at the port was strongly urged in 1894. It was then proposed to commence a new Naval barracks to accommodate 3,500 officers and men, and after which it would be possible to remove the old hulks, and to find space for the berthing of modern vessels, and designs were prepared, but a difficulty arose in regard to the necessary land, and a long delay resulted. Negotiations were entered into with the War Office for a site, upon part of which the Brennan torpedo factory stood, but in 1898 the military authorities were still reconstructing the factory, so that the land might be made available. Meanwhile the contract was signed for the construction of the barracks, and considerable progress has since been made, the western block having been completed, while two other blocks are well above ground. The delay has been unfortunate, for the inconvenience and discomfort of a  seaman's life on board a hulk are an important consideration in these days, when the comforts of the shore exercise such a powerful attraction upon the men of the fleet. (below left cruisers are berthed for repair and refit)

The necessity of extending the hospital accommodation was also recognised by the authorities, and a proposal was formulated in 1896 for building a new hospital, with 600 beds; the old building, besides being too small, was obsolete in design and defective in construction. In particular there was no provision for the isolation of infectious cases, and no wards were arranged for the seriously injured patients. Moreover, the grounds in which the hospital stood were limited in size, and did not admit of any extension of the old building. The foundations of the main building of the new hospital were laid by the beginning of 1900, and the establishment is now approaching completion. With these increased facilities, soon to be made available, we may link an improvement in the water supply which has been effected. Much has, indeed, been done for the increased number of seamen retained in reserve at the port, and when the barracks and hospital are in use, one great disadvantage of Chatham will have been removed.

It might appear to the casual observer, seeing the immense mass and variety of stores lying alongside a ship, that some confusion must exist, but it would not be long before they discerned that a thorough system of organisation evolves order and progress out of apparent chaos. Each man knows exactly his work, and everything is done with order and regularity. The building of a ship takes place accordance with plans prepared at the Admiralty, and the operation is conducted under the immediate orders of the Chief Constructor of the Dockyard. The calculations for displacement have already been made, and the conditions which affect the draught of water have been fully taken into account. A matter of extreme importance, therefore, is that the intended weights shall actually be built into the ship and no more, a matter which in former times, owing to modifications of plans, was sometimes neglected, with the result that ships have not floated at their intended waterline and that the armouring upon them has not afforded the protection designed and required.

In the picture (right) which illustrates the mast of the Irresistible, the Goliath will be seen completing at her berth in the basin. It will be noticed that an office is provided for that important functionary the recorder of weights, whose business is to keep a very accurate account. A notification is also affixed on the office in these words: "All materials to be weighed before being taken on board." Thus is assurance made in the matter of displacement, and it is truly astonishing how closely the calculated displacement approximates the to the real. The responsibility for launching a ship also devolves to the Chief Constructor of the yard, but, as soon as she is in the water, it is the duty of the King's harbourmaster to bring her alongside the wharf, where the work of structural completion and equipment goes on. The recent launch of the Prince of Wales at Chatham Dockyard brought to the minds of many the very great importance of all the functions which attend building, launching and completing. The smallest miscalculation may lead to serious difficulties, and it is therefore, always with a sense of relief that the good ship is seen gliding down the ways into the element which she is to grace and command. Cabins have then to be provided, mess-places and storerooms to be arranged, the engines, boilers, hydraulic and electrical gear to be fitted, and a vast deal of other work to be done, and a ship in this stage is, therefore, always a scene of bustling activity. All the officers of the yard have important functions in regard to the building and equipping of ships, and it is the custom for them to meet each morning at the office of the Admiral Superintendent to learn the orders from the Admiralty, and then to decide how they shall be carried into execution - a system that conduces much to rapidity and efficiency of work. Finally let it be said that Rear-Admiral Swinton C Holland is the Superintendent at Chatham, and Captain Archibald G Douglas the Staff Captain and King's Harbourmaster, while the Chief Constructor is W James, Esq. the Chief Engineer W G Littlejohns, and the Naval Store Officer H J Laslett. (Above left shows the Pembroke Gate).

 

The battleship Albemarle being built at Chatham in 1901.

The Parade Ground at Chatham.

Sent in by Ian Anderson

 
 

Valuations

Classified Ads Terms and Conditions Shipping Info Contact Details

 

 

Click here to go to our naval history forum

 

AVIATION PRINTS

Click above to see all of our aviation art index - Eight random half price aviation items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Aviation Art Offers

 A moment during the fraught encounter on 27th May 1940 over Dunkirk between Spitfires of 610 Sqn and an estimated 40 Bf.110s during which three Zerstorers were shot down.

A Dunkirk Encounter by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £270.00
One of the most advanced aircraft of World War II, the AR234 with its twin turbojets could carry out its high altitude reconnaissance or bombing duties at speed which made interception by Allied aircraft virtually impossible.
Luftwaffe Arado 234 B-2 by Barry Price.
Half Price! - £30.00
Our Gal Sal, a veteran of over a hundred ops, returning to base in the summer of 1944.  The peace of the  English country side is broken by the thunder of the mighty four engined bombers and keen observers will spot the rabbit scampering along the country lane as the Forts of the Bloody 100th circle the Airbase. With one engine feathered and showing signs of the gauntlet of Flak and fighters she has had to come through, the crew know they are only moments away from the safety of home.

The Veteran by Simon Smith.
Half Price! - £70.00
 F-4C Phantom II of Colonel Robin Olds of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, January 1967.

Colonel Robin Olds by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £725.00

 Group Captain Byron Duckenfield on patrol in Hurricane P3059 of No.501 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.

501 Squadron Hurricanes by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £280.00
Albert Ball in his Nieuport 17 having just shot down a German LVG.  His aircraft, A134, was distinctive in having a bright red spinner.  He was the first Royal Flying Corps pilot to score a hat-trick (3 kills on a single mission) and, in the course of his career, scored another two on his way to his outstanding 44 victories.

Albert Ball by Ivan Berryman. (B)
Half Price! - £50.00
 As the Libyan people's uprising against Colonel Gadaffi's regime intensified at the end of February 2011, many British nationals found themselves isolated in the sprawling desert, many of them oil workers in some of the country's most remote areas.  As Libya deteriorated into rebellion, British Special Forces were dispatched to pluck the stranded workers from the desert and fly them to the safety of Malta.  Here, an RAF Lockheed C130 Hercules climbs away from a successful pickup on a remote airstrip.  In total, two operations involving five Hercules aircraft rescued over 300 British nationals and other foreign workers.

Libyan Rescue by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Half Price! - £700.00
 Designed by the great Ernst Heinkel, the diminutive D.1 was an essential stop-gap that provided the Austro-Hungarian pilots with a front line fighter until they were able to re-equip with Albatros scouts in the Summer of 1917. This little aircraft performed well and was generally held in high regard by its pilots, although it did have some shortcomings, namely that forward vision was extremely limited and the Schwarzloses gun was completely concealed in the overwing pod that made it inaccessible in the air. Most unusual of all was its interplane strut arrangement, designed to reduce drag, which gave it the nicknames Starstrutter or Spider. These examples are shown passing above the German cruiser Derfflinger. 

Brandenburg D.1 by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
Half Price! - £300.00

 

NAVAL PRINTS

Click above to see all of our naval art index - Eight random half price naval items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Naval Art Offers

With the British Mediterranean Fleet riding at anchor in Grand  Harbour Malta, HMS  Majestic is shown preparing to leave harbour as local fisherman look on. 

Majestic Malta by Randall Wilson.
Half Price! - £65.00
VAR347B. H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood.
H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood (B)
Half Price! - £20.00
Viewed across the damaged stern of the 80-gun San Nicholas, Nelson drives HMS Captain onto the Spanish vessel in order that she can be boarded and taken as a prize, the British marines and men scrambling up the Captains bowsprit to use it as a bridge. The San Nicholas then fouled the Spanish three decker San Joseph (112), allowing Nelson and his men to take both ships as prizes in a single manoeuvre. A British frigate is moving into a supporting position in the middle distance.

HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent by Ivan Berryman (P)
Half Price! - £575.00
 Completed in May 1941, HMS Victorious had been in commission just nine days when her pilots encountered and attacked the Bismarck. She is seen here in August 1942 with HMS Eagle astern of her.

HMS Victorious by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £30.00

HMS Dreadnought passes Spice Island as she heads for the open sea escorted by a torpedo boat destroyer.

HMS Dreadnought at Portsmouth by Randall Wilson.
Half Price! - £50.00
 Shows the action on 26th May 1941 by Swordfish from HMS Ark Royal on the German battleship Bismarck. Fresh from her triumphant encounter with HMS Hood, Bismarck was struck by Swordfishs torpedo which jammed her rudder and was finished off by the home fleet on 27th May 1941.
Sink the Bismarck by Geoff Lea. (Y)
Half Price! - £50.00
 The heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire is brought up to sink the blazing wreck of the Bismarck with torpedoes at around 10:30 hours on the morning of May 27th 1941.  The once proud German ship had been ruthlessly pounded into a twisted and burning wreck by the British battleships Rodney and King George V.  HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Maori combed the area of the sinking for survivors, between them picking up a total of 110 out of an original complement of 2,300.

HMS Dorsetshire by Ivan Berryman (AP)
Half Price! - £75.00
B151.  HMS Durban Escorts the Troopship RMS Queen Mary by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Durban Escorts the Troopship RMS Queen Mary by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00

 

MILITARY PRINTS

Click above to see all of our military art index - Eight random half price military items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Military Art Offers

 Under pressure from Stalin to open a second front in Europe, Operation Jubilee was designed ostensibly as a reconnaissance in force on the French coast, to show the feasibility of taking and holding a major defended port for a day, in this case Dieppe. The plan devised by Lord Louis Mountbatten failed due to inadequate naval and air support, carrying out the landing in daylight and general lack of intelligence of the target. Here new Churchill tanks of the 14th Canadian Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment), with men of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and Fusiliers Mont-Royals, struggle to fight their way off the beach. Only a handful of men penetrated into the town itself, and eventually the remaining troops were ordered to withdraw. Out of 5086 soldiers who landed only 1443 returned.

Disaster at Dieppe, France, 19th August 1942 by David Pentland. (Y)
Half Price! - £50.00
 Depicts Henry VIII on his way to the Historic meeting with Francis I of France in 1520.

Field of the Cloth of Gold by Sir John Gilbert.
Half Price! - £25.00
 After almost two months of continuous fighting in the front line, remnants of the 12th SS Panzer Division, Hitler Jugend, fall back under incessant air attacks by allied fighter bombers for their final battles in France. In their defense of the northern flank of what is to become the Falaise Gap the new Jagdpanzer IV in particular is to prove a formidable foe to the attacking British and Canadian tanks.

The Falaise Gap, Normandy, 12th - 20th August 1944 by David Pentland.
Half Price! - £100.00
Battle of Prestonpans.  Bonnie Prince Charlie, after landing at Glenfinnan, in his bid to gain the British Throne.  Lord George Murray with an army of 2,000 Jacobites marched southward where they were meet  at Prestonpans by General  Sir John Cope and a Royal army of 3,000 men  On the 21st September.  The Jacobites charged the  government troops and routed them. hundreds of Government troops were killed or wounded and over 1,000 were captured. with the Jacobite losses less than 150.  With this victory Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobite army marched southwards into England capturing the towns of Carlisle, Penrith, Lancaster and Preston and getting as far as Nottingham before lack of supplies and new recruits forced him to heads back to Scotland.  Through the early morning Autumn mist, Highlanders of the Appin Regiment abandon their plaids and rush headlong across fields of stubble into the stunned ranks of Jonny Copes army. The force sent by the Crown to destroy the rebellion and capture the Pretender is itself utterly routed in a matter of minutes.  The first major engagement of the uprising is a swift and complete victory for the Princes men. Except for the garrisons of Edinburgh, Stirling, Fort William and Fort Augustus, Scotland is now under the control of the Jacobites.

The Charge of the Highlanders at the Battle of Preston Pans, by Mark Churms.
Half Price! - £80.00

Cavalry and Legionaries (plus Auxiliary Hamian Archer) of the XIVth Legion.

AD61 by Chris Collingwood (GL)
Half Price! - £360.00
 Sturmgeschutz IIIg and Paratroops of the 4th Fallschirmjager Division, driving to the front line, pass one of the two giant 28cm K5 (Eisenbaum) railway guns responsible for the shelling the Allied beacheads at Anzio and Nettuno.

Anzio Annie, Italy, 29th January 1944 by David Pentland. (GS)
Half Price! - £250.00
DHM821.  Austrian Generals Watching the Battle by Albrecht Adam.
Austrian Generals Watching the Battle by Albrecht Adam.
Half Price! - £30.00
 Battle of Agincourt, October 25th 1415. Fought during the Hundred years war at the end of the English Invasion of 1415. King Henry the V of England, after his conquest of Harfleur marched his army of 1,000 Knights and 5,000 Archers (many of which were Welsh) towards Calais. He marched to Amiens as flooding had affected the river at the Somme which was the direct route. This delay helped the French army of 20,000 strong under the command of the Constable Charles dAlbret and Marshal Jean Bouciquaut II. The French army blocked Henry V route to Calais, giving the English no choice but to fight. Henry V positioned his army at Agincourt, between to wooded areas giving a frontage of 1100 metres. Henry deployed his force into three divisions; each group had archers at each flank. He had chosen his position well, in front of his army was ploughed fields and due to the heavy raid was very muddy. Due to the narrow battlefield area the French army lost their advantage of superior numbers. At 11 oclock the English started to advance their archers within 2509 yards of the French, getting them into range of the French lines. The French line of Cavalry advanced at a slow pass due to the heavy mud, They took heavy losses from the arrows from the English Long Bowman. They were eventually repulsed by the Archers who as the French cavalry approached changed from using longbows for axes and swords. The French second Cavalry line advanced only to be finally repulsed after hand to hand fighting. The commander Duc dAlencon was killed in the attack. The second charge had failed and many of the French knights were taken prisoner. Believing he had been attacked in the rear Henry V ordered that the prisoners were to be put to death. In fact There was no real rear attack it was French Camp followers plundering the English Camp. The French camp followers were quickly dealt with and the English again prepared itself for the next attack. The third attack never materialized as the sight of so much blood shed and piles of corpses turned the charge into a retreat. The English had won the day with losses less than 1600 compared to the French losses of over 7,000, including the capture of Bouciquaut. Henry V, his way now cleared reached Calais on the 16th November 1415. Agincourt is one of the great battles of military history, and this victory enabled Henry V to return to France in 1417 and conquer all of Normandy.

Morning of Agincourt by Sir John Gilbert. (Y)
Half Price! - £30.00

 

SPORT PRINTS

Click above to see all of our sport art index - Eight random half price sport items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Sport Art Offers

 The Intercontinental Formula was first organised by British Racing Drivers Club to allow the racing of cars with 2000cc to 3000cc engines. At the time the 1500cc limit of Formula 1 had been instituted by the international ruling body in the belief that the smaller cars would mean safer racing. In reality this meant that the relatively easy to handle Formula 1 cars could be driven by less experienced drivers almost as fast as the most experienced master drivers. The result was that the car with fractionally more power was the deciding factor in winning the race, rather than the better driver but this also compromised track safety. The introduction of the Intercontinental Formula was seen as more of a challenge for the drivers, with the larger and more powerful cars requiring greater skill and experience than to drive the 1500cc cars of Formula 1. The 13th International Trophy on Saturday 6th May 1961 was the first race of the season to carry World Championship points and consisted of 80 laps of Silverstone, a total of 233 miles. Stirling Moss, having already won the International Sports Car Race in a Lotus earlier that day, was driving Rob Walkers 2.5 litre Cooper Climax and qualified 2nd on the grid despite being unhappy with the steering of his car. The starting grid front row was Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Graham Hill and by the time the race started at 2.30pm a heavy rain meant that the track was not only soaked but also covered in oil and rubber from the previous races. World Champion Jack Brabham made a superb start, passed Moss and was first into Copse and by lap 4 Moss was in 3rd place led by Surtees and Brabham. Due to appalling conditions and poor visibility many of the cars were spinning or leaving the track and by lap 13 Brabham and Moss were 1st and 2nd with the rest of the field some distance behind. Moss now poured on the pressure and for the next few laps he tried to pass as he harried Brabham in a duel for the lead. The pair were now beginning to lap the tailenders and, at around a quarter of the distance Moss was held up by Flockhart, Brabhams team member, who had allowed Brabham to pass. Moss gestured angrily to Flockhart as he was unable to follow Brabham and, as the rain paused for a while the pace became faster. Suddenly and quite dramatically Moss passed both Flockhart and Brabham and within 2 laps had gained 5 seconds on the World Champion. As the rain returned in a deluge Moss mercilessly pushed on, increasing his lead to 1.5 minutes by the halfway mark. Although he could have taken things easily at this point Moss drove on relentlessly at a seemingly impossible pace and was now lapping most of the field for a second time. By the ¾ stage he completed his humiliation of Brabham by passing him for a second time to lap him representing a 3 mile lead. Moss eventually won the race in 2hrs 41 mins 19.2 secs, 1.5 laps ahead of Brabham and at least two laps ahead of the rest of the field in what were treacherous conditions. At the end of the race Moss summed up the experience as a nice ride, having proved himself to be one of the greatest and fastest drivers in the world under any conditions. Sir Stirling Moss believes this to be one of his finest ever drives.

A Moment of Triumph by Gerald Coulson. (Y)
Half Price! - £75.00
 TWR Jaguar XJR 9LM - Winner of the 1988 Le Mans.  The car in this image is shown at maximum speed on the Mulsanne Straight (240mph)  Drivers: Jan Lammers, Johnny Dumfries and Andy Wallace.  This was the first win for Jaguar since 1957.  Previous victories at Le Mans were in 1951 and 1953 with C types and in 1955, 1956 and 1957 with D types.  Jaguar also won Le Mans in 1990 with the XJR 12LM.
Top Cat by Graham Bosworth.
Half Price! - £24.00
The painting portrays the Manchester United midfielder and England Captain David Beckham celebrating after scoring from a trademark free kick.

Seven by Robert Highton. (Y)
Half Price! - £50.00
SP4AP.  Desert Orchid by Mark Churms.

Desert Orchid by Mark Churms (AP)
Half Price! - £50.00


Legends of English Football by Robert Highton - Gold Edition. (Y)
Half Price! - £248.00
B49. Damon Hill/ Williams FW.17 by Ivan Berryman

Damon Hill/ Williams FW.17 by Ivan Berryman
Half Price! - £40.00
Eddie Irvine raced Formula Ford from 1983 to 1988.  Driving a variety of different chassis, he won two Formula Ford championships by the end of 1987.  In 1988, Eddie drove in the British Formula Three championship and then joined the Jordan Formula 3000 team for 1990.  He won his first race at Hockenheim, finishing third overall in the championship that year.  The following three years saw Eddie driving in the Japanese F3000 series, almost winninh the title in 1993.  He also drove for Toyota at Le Mans holding the lap record for several years.  At the end of 1993 Eddie drove for the Jordan F1 team and gained notoriety by overtaking Ayrton Senna having only just been lapped by him.  In 1996, Eddie took on the unenviable role as number two to Michael Schumacher at Ferrari but in 1999 became the number one driver for Ferrari following a serious accident for Schumacher.

Tribute to Eddie Irvine by Stuart McIntyre.
Half Price! - £23.00
 The Minstrel, 1977, Shergar, 1981, Golden Fleece, 1982, .Teenoso, 1983, Reference Point, 1987, Nashwan, 1989.

Derby Winners by Peter Deighan.
Half Price! - £100.00

Everything we obtain for this site is shown on the site, we do not have any more photos, crew lists or further information on any of the ships.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE. ALL IMAGES DISPLAYED ON THIS WEBSITE ARE PROTECTED BY  COPYRIGHT  LAW, AND ARE OWNED BY CRANSTON FINE ARTS OR THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.  NO REPRODUCTION OR COPYING ALLOWED ON OTHER WEBSITES, BOOKS OR ARTICLES WITHOUT PRIOR AGREEMENT.

This website is owned by Cranston Fine Arts.  Torwood House, Torwoodhill Road, Rhu, Helensburgh, Scotland, G848LE

Contact: Tel: (+44) (0) 1436 820269.  Fax: (+44) (0) 1436 820473. Email:

Return to Home Page