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HMS Centurion, 60 gun ship of the line launched at Portsmouth in 1732 and commissioned in 1734. She served in the Home Fleet and took part in the expedition to Lisbon by Sir John Norris. In 1738 she was captained by George Anson and led a small squadron to the African coast then to Jamaica and back to England. In 1740 she started her famous circumnavigation being the only ship to survive the entire voyage and capturing the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Cavadonga. After being cut down to a 50 gun ship she took part in the first battle of Finisterre.

 The fourth Centurion built and in 1740 she was the flagship of Commodore George Anson in a squadron of 7 ships who were brought up to complement by 500 superannuated and Chelsea out-pensioners, who all died during the voyage. They sailed on Anson's famous circumnavigation of the world in September 1740. They touched at Madeira and Port St Julian, and off Cape Horn in March 1741 the squadron were dispersed by a succession of gales. Scurvy broke out and the Centurion buried 43 men. She reached Juan Fernandez in June 1741 with 130 men on the sick list, besides having buried 200 men on the passage. Here a prize was captured, and the squadron set sail for the South American coast, capturing another prize on the way. They arrived in Payta Bay in November and surprised the town. Plunder to the value of £32,000 and other stores were taken; the town was set on fire and six vessels in the bay were sunk. In May 1742 the Commodore sailed for China. In August the Centurion anchored off one of the Ladrone Islands and landed 128 sick men, many of whom died. In November the ship arrived off Macao and wintered. In April 1743 Anson put to sea in an attempt to capture the large Spanish galleon trading between Acapulco and Manilla. On June 20th she was sighted off the Island of Samar, and proved to be the long-sought ship Nuestra Senora de Cavadonga. An action followed and lasted nearly two hours, at the end of which the Spaniard struck with a loss of 67 killed and 84 wounded. The Centurion lost only 2 killed and 17 wounded. The cargo of the prize included nearly one and a half million dollars, besides 36,000 ounces of silver and other merchandise. On July 10th the squadron reached Canton, and in December sold the prize at Macao. Numerous difficulties with the Chinese were experienced. In December 1743 the Centurion turned homewards, and reached Spithead on June 15th 1744. Thus ended Commodore George Anson's circumnavigation of the globe, a great naval exploring expedition with war-like objects, carried out with the greatest skill, patience and perseverance.

As the Admiralty declined to confirm Anson's first Lieutenant as captain, Anson returned his own commission as Rear-Admiral of the Blue, and went on half pay as a captain for six months. There is not a doubt that Anson was in the wrong. A change of Government taking place some ten months afterwards, Anson became a Lord of the Admiralty, and being promoted to Rear-Admiral of the White received two steps at once.

The figurehead of this centurion was a big lion some sixteen feet high. It was presented to the Duke of Richmond by King George III when the Centurion was broken up. While serving as an inn sign at Goodwood it was much admired by King William IV, who begged it from the Duke, and used it as a staircase ornament at Windsor Castle. The King later on presented it to Greenwich Hospital, with directions to place it in one of the wards, which he desired should be called the Anson Ward. It remained there until 1871 when it was removed to the playground of the Naval School, where owing to the action of the weather it unfortunately crumbled to pieces. At one time the following lines were inscribed beneath it:-

Stay, traveller, a while, and view

One who has travelled more than you;

Quite round the globe, thro' each degree,

Anson and I have ploughed the sea.

Torrid and frigid zones have pass'd

And-safe ashore arrived at last-

In ease with dignity appear,

He in the House of Lords-I here.

In 1746 the Centurion was cut down to a 50 gun ship. In 1747 the Centurion commanded by Captain Peter Denis, was in an English fleet of 17 ships under the command of Vice-Admiral George Anson, who flew his flag in Prince George. The French fleet, under Admiral de la Jonquiere, consisted of 14 men-of-war and a convoy of 24 ships, and was sighted on May 23rd about 70 miles from Cape Finisterre. The French made off and Anson chased. A running fight of 3 hours followed, in which 13 French ships were captured, while a small detached squadron captured six of the French convoy. Night saved the rest. A topical song of the time expresses in the following verses the part played by the Centurion:

The Centurion first led the van, (bis)

And held 'em till we came up;

Then we their hides did sorely bang,

Our broadsides we on them did pour, (bis)

We gave the French a sower drench,

And soon their topsails made them lower.

 

And when they saw our fleet come up, (bis)

They for quarters call'd without delay,

And their colours they that moment struck

O! how we did rejoice and sing, (bis)

To see such prizes we had took,

For ourselves and for George our King.

The French lost 700 killed and wounded, and the English 520, including one captain killed. Specie to the value of £300,000 was taken from the prizes. This victory was valuable if not brilliant. Vie-Admiral Anson was created a Peer and the captured men-of-war were all added to the British Navy.

In June 1751 the Centurion, flying the broad pennant of Commodore the Hon. Augustus Keppel, proceeded to Algiers, and smoothed over some difficulties with the Dey. The story goes that the Dey angrily expressed surprise that the King of Great Britain should have sent a beardless boy to treat with him. Keppel replied: "Had my master supposed that wisdom was measured by the length of the beard, he would have sent your Deyship a he-goat." After threatening Keppel with death, the Dey consented to treat.

In 1754, the Centurion, Captain the Hon. Augustus Keppel, in company with the Norwich, escorted to North America a large number of troops, destined to assist the colonials in the suppression of the Indians, who with France behind them as moral support, were rising against the English whites.

In 1759 the Centurion, commanded by Captain William Mantell, was in a fleet of 49 ships besides transports under Vice-Admiral Charles Saunders with his flag in Neptune. They left Spithead on February 17th and, having secured pilots by a ruse, they anchored a few miles below Quebec on June 26th with nearly 10,000 troops. On June 28th the French sent down seven fireships and two firerafts, but these were grappled and towed clear by the activity of the seamen. On September 13th under cover of the guns of the Centurion, the troops were landed and attacked Quebec. The seamen assisted with guns. On this day both General Wolfe and the Marquis of Montcalm, the English and French Commanders-in-Chief of the troops were mortally wounded. After some fighting the French retired. Additional ships were brought up to bombard, and on the 17th the enemy offered to surrender. On the 18th Vice-Admiral Saunders was one of the signatories to the surrender.

In May 1762 the Centurion, commanded by Captain James Galbraith, was in the English fleet proceeding to Havana against the Spaniards, which consisted of 53 ships, besides storeships, hospital ships and transports, with 15,000 troops. Admiral Sir George Pocock, with his flag in Namur, and George, Earl of Albemarle, were the naval and military Commanders-in-Chief. On May 27th the fleet of 200 sail in all stood away for the Old Strait of Bahama, which was safely navigated by marking the dangerous shoals and reefs with boats. During the passage two Spanish ships were captured. On June 6th the fleet arrived off Havana, and while a feint was made elsewhere the troops were landed under cover of the guns of the fleet. Moro was bombarded, although the Spaniards made a most gallant defence, Havana fell, and the British took complete possession on August 14th 1762. Specie and stores to the value of three million pounds were captured; thirteen Spanish men-of-war were destroyed, three were sunk, and two on the stocks were burned. While on the passage to Havana some ships were detached and captured two ships in the harbour of Mariel. The British lost 1790 killed and wounded. The division of the prize money caused some heartburning. It worked out as follows: Admiral £123,000, captain £1600, petty officer £17, seaman or marine £4.

In 1769 the Centurion was broken up at Chatham.

 

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AVIATION PRINTS

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 Routine, though essential, maintenance is carried out on a 501 Sqn Hurricane at the height of the Battle of Britain during the Summer of 1940. † Hurricane P3059 <i>SD-N</i> in the background is the aircraft of Group Captain Byron Duckenfield.

Ground Force by Ivan Berryman. (C)
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 Schneider CA1 Tanks of the French tenth army spearhead the successful counter offensive against the German army on the river Marne. Overhead a tenacious Junkers JI artillery spotter dogs their tracks. The Second Battle of the Marne, though not an overwhelming victory, spelt the end of German successes on the Western front, and a turning point for the allies.

Tanks on the Marne - France, 18th July 1918†by David Pentland. (P)
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Depicting Dauntless and Devastator attacking the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi during the Battle of Midway.

Midway - The Setting Sun by Ivan Berryman.
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 From the day they began their aerial campaign against Nazi Germany to the cessation of hostilities in 1945, the USAAF bomber crews plied their hazardous trade in broad daylight. This tactic may have enabled better sighting of targets, and possibly less danger of mid-air collisions, but the grievous penalty of flying daylight missions over enemy territory was the ever presence of enemy fighters. Though heavily armed, the heavy bombers of the American Eighth Air Force were no match against the fast, highly manoeuvrable Me109s, Fw190s and, late in the war, Me 262 jet fighters which the Luftwaffe sent up to intercept them. Without fighter escort they were sitting ducks, and inevitably paid a heavy price. Among others, one fighter group earned particular respect, gratitude, and praise from bomber crews for their escort tactics. The 356th FG stuck rigidly to the principle of tight bomber escort duty, their presence in tight formation with the bombers often being sufficient to deter enemy attack. Repeatedly passing up the opportunity to increase individual scores, the leadership determined it more important to bring the bombers home than claim another enemy fighter victory. As the air war progressed this philosophy brought about an unbreakable bond between heavy bomber crews and escort fighter pilots, and among those held in the highest esteem were the pilots of the 356th. Top scoring ace Donald J Strait, flying his P-51 D Mustang Jersey Jerk, together with pilots of the 356th Fighter Group, are seen in action against Luftwaffe Fw 190s while escorting B-17 bombers returning from a raid on German installations during the late winter of 1944. One minute all is orderly as the mighty bombers thunder their way homeward, the next minute enemy fighters are upon them and all hell breaks loose. <br><br><b>Published 2003.<br><br>Signed by three of the top pilots from the 356th Fighter group.</b>

Ace of Diamonds by Nicolas Trudgian (Y)
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 The Sopwith Dolphin was a radical departure from previous Sopwith design philosophies, embodying a reverse-stagger on the wings, a water-cooled Hispano-Suiza engine and an unusual, but highly popular positioning of the cockpit which gave the pilot unprecedented views. One exponent of this purposeful looking machine was Canadian Major A D Carter who claimed many of his 31 victories flying the Dolphin. He is shown here sending an Albatross to the ground on 8th May 1918 whilst flying C4017. Carter was himself shot down soon after became a prisoner of war. He was killed in 1919 whilst test flying a Fokker D.VII at Shoreham, Sussex.

Major Albert Carter by Ivan Berryman. (GL)
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 An SAS team is picked up by a U.S. Army Special Forces Blackhawk helicopter after a successful operation against the Taliban.

Extraction - Afghanistan 2011 by David Pentland.
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 B-17G 42-37755 NV-A 325th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group from Poddington crash landing in Switzerland on 25th February 1944 after sustaining damage over enemy territory after a raid on Augsburg and Stuttgart.

Safe Pastures by Mark Postlethwaite. (Y)
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 Pinnacles of technology and nature at the roof of the world.  Northrop Grumman B2 Spirit from Wightman AFB, Missouri soars high over majestic snow-covered peaks, still climbing to its operational altitude of 50,000 feet.

The High and Mighty by Robert Tomlin. (Y)
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NAVAL PRINTS

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 During a patrol on 6th July 1918, Christiansen spotted a British submarine on the surface of the Thames Estuary. He immediately turned and put his Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 floatplane into an attacking dive, raking the submarine C.25 with machine gun fire, killing the captain and five other crewmen. This victory was added to his personal tally, bringing his score to 13 kills by the end of the war, even though the submarine managed to limp back to safety. Christiansen survived the war and went on to work as a pilot for the Dornier company, notably flying the giant Dornier Do.X on its inaugural flight to New York in 1930. He died in 1972, aged 93.

Kapitanleutnant zur See Friedrich Christiansen by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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Bismarck, now complete and newly painted in full Baltic camouflage, returns to Hamburg for the last time as the harsh winter of 1940/41 relents and the pride of the German Kriegsmarine prepares for real action.  In the distance, the pre-Dreadnought Schleswig-Holstein awaits her next commission, the old ship alternating between vital ice-breaker and air defence duties at this time.  The Bismarck would in May 1941 put to sea and engage and sink HMS Hood only to be caught by the British battleships Rodney and King George V.  Bismarck was pounded into a floating wreck, finally being sunk by the torpedoes of HMS Dorsetshire.  From her crew of 2300 only 110 would be rescued by HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Maori.

Bismarck Entering Hamburg Harbour by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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 Spearheading the Falklands Task Force as it heads south in 1982, the carrier HMS Hermes is shown in company with two Type 21 frigates, HMS Arrow on the left and HMS Ardent in the near foreground.  In the far distance, HMS Glamorgan glints in the sun as Type 42 HMS Sheffield cuts across behind Hermes.

HMS Hermes by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Showing visible signs of her tangle with British cruisers at the Battle of the River Plate, the German pocket battleship Graf Spee slips into the neutral waters of the Montevideo roadstead for light repairs.  This was to be the last haven for the Graf Spee which was later scuttled at the harbour mouth, her commander Kapitan zur See Langsdorff believing a large British fleet to be waiting for attempted escape into the South Atlantic.

Admiral Graf Spee by Ivan Berryman.
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On 29th and 30th April 1944, while surfaced close to jagged reefs, and Japanese shore guns, the USS Tang rescued 22 downed flyers from Task Force 58s strikes against enemy positions on the islands - This was the largest rescue of airmen by a submarine in the war. USS Tang (SS-306) would later be sunk by its own torpedo off Formosa, on the 24th of October 1944.

USS Tang, The Life Guard of Truk Atoll by Robert Barbour.
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 A splendid little war was how John Hay, ambassador to Britain, described the Spanish-American war of 1898. Though the war was small in scope it was large in consequences; it promoted the regeneration of the American Navy and the emergence of the United States as a major world power. Fought primarily at sea, the war created an American naval legend in its opening encounter between the pacific squadrons of Spain and the United States at Manila Bay on the 1st of May 1898. At sunrise Admiral Dewey, leading the American fleet in his flagship the USS Olympia, had caught the Spanish fleet, under Admiral Patricio Montojo, by surprise - still anchored off Sangley Point at Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands. Defeat for the Spanish was total and heralded the end of a once extensive Spanish empire in the Americas. Montojos flagship, Reina Cristina, is seen here under fire from the Olympia.

The Battle of Manila Bay by Anthony Saunders (Y)
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Swordfish of 825 Sqn led by Lt-Cdr Esmonde begin their heroic attack on the battlescruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen as they make their way up the English Channel from Brest during Operation Cerberus on 12th February 1942.  Although all the aircraft were lost and no significant damage was done to the German fleet, all the pilots were decorated for their bravery and Lt-Cdr Esmonde received the first Fleet Air Arm VC to be awarded, albeit posthumously.  The painting depicts the first wave of Swordfish attacking the Scharnhorst with Gneisenau taking avoiding action in the distance.  A German torpedo boat has turned to confront the attacking aircraft.

Attack on the Scharnhorst by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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B0344P. Bismarck Leaving Port†by Jason Askew.
Bismarck Leaving Port†by Jason Askew. (P)
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MILITARY PRINTS

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 The 11th (North Devon) Regiment at the Battle of Salamanca, 22nd July 1812.

The Bloody Eleventh by David Rowlands. (Y)
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 The Old Guard being asked to surrender at the end of the Battle of Waterloo.
The Last Stand of the Old Guard by Robert Hillingford. (Y)
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In 1895, Leander Starr Jameson assembled a private army outside the Transvaal with the aim of invading and overthrowing the Boer government.  The idea had been to encourage civil unrest among foreign workers (Uitlanders), and use the outbreak of open revolt as an excuse to invade and take over the territory.  But Jameson grew impatient and so launched the Jameson Raid on 29th December 1895, and managed to push within twenty miles of Johannesburg before superior Boer forces compelled him and his men to surrender at Doornkop on the 2nd of Janaury 1896.
Jameson's Last Stand, Battle of Doornkop 2nd January 1896 by Richard Caton Woodville
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The Brethren of the Coast or the Brethren, was a loose coalition of pirates and privateers also known as Buccaneers who operated during the 1600s and 1700s in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and also in the Atlantic Ocean.  They were a syndicate of pirate captains with letters of marque and reprisal who regulated their privateering enterprises within the community of privateers.
Brethren of the Coast by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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 Having made contact the previous evening with troops of 4th Infantry Division pushing inland from Utah Beach, paratroopers of the 101st Airborne division The Screaming Eagles help mop up the pockets of German resistance in their general advance towards Carentan.

Screaming Eagles in Normandy, 7th June 1944 by David Pentland. (Y)
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On the night of 6th April 1812 Wellingtons Army, surrounding the walled Spanish town of Badajoz (garrisoned by Napoleons soldiers under general Baron Philippon) is ready to attack!  The men of the 45th regiment from Pictons 3rd Division launch themselves in a desperate and bloody assault against the north castle wall. Carrying improvised ladders, the men have their top buttons undone, overalls rolled up and are stripped for action.  The castles defenders (Germans, allied to Napoleon of the Graf und Erbprinz Regiment from Hesse-Darmstadt) partroling the walls in their greatcoats are intially surprised by the bold assault from this sector but they have been preparing the strong defenses for some time. Soon the night air is full of musketry, falling masonry, burning bundles of ropes and exploding grenades or mines.  Despite the horrific casualties suffered the attackers press home. As the first scaling ladders are raised near a small bell tower the young Lt. James Macpherson reaches for the top of the wall. The ladders are too short! Undaunted he cries to his men below to lift the base of the ladder closer to the wall. This rapid, vertical movement suddenly propels him to a height several feet above the Germans heads. A shot rings out as one of the defenders fires point blank into the young mans chest. Fortunately the lead ball only strikes a glancing blow, cleaving in two a button of the officers waist coat and dislocating one of his ribs. Despite his fortunate escape, the force of the impact nearly sends him tumbling from the ladder. Somehow he maintains his grasp but the ladder itself gives way under the weight of the men following. Some unfortunates are impaled on the bayonets of their comrades below.  Leaping from the rungs of another ladder, Corporal Kelly is the first man over the top and gradually the 45th gain a foothold on the ramparts. The rest of the regiment is ordered to unfix bayonets. Using the few remaining ladders, others also manage to scale the walls. Through the carnage they climb, club and shoot their way into the castle itself!  Maepherson now regains consciousness at the foot of the wall and revived with a cup of coco from his friend A.A. General Hercules Packenham, who was directly behind him on the ladder when it broke. Though winded by the shot he rises to his feet. This sudden movement relocates his rib and he is able to climb the ladders once more. Once over the defense he sees the old towers of Apendez and Albar-rana to his left and the cathedral illuminated by gun fire in the distance. However his objective is directly ahead. Atop the abandoned tower of Santa Maria before him still flies the French tricolour.  Macplierson seizes the opportunity, mounts the spiral stairway to the top turret and pulls down the enemy flag. For want of a substitute he flies his own red jacket from the pole, signifying that the castle has fallen. In the rest of the town the fighting continues and turns into a blood lust. Badajoz is one of the bloodiest and violent sieges of the Peninsula War. On the following day Maepherson presents his trophy to the Duke of Wellington himself but his bravery is not rewarded with a promotion.
Storming of Badajoz by the Sherwood Foresters painting by Mark Churms. (P)
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 22 SAS Squadron in the Gulf, having been dropped by Chinook of the 7th Squadron RAF.

The Winged Dagger by Simon Smith. (Y)
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VAR462.  Royal Artillery Field Batteries Taking up Position by Campion.

Royal Artillery Field Batteries Taking up Position by Campion.
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SPORT PRINTS

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 Ally McCoist of Glasgow Rangers and Scotland.  Produced to celebrate Scotlands most prolific goalscorer.  Super Ally became nothing short of a legend during his tenure with Glasgow Rangers of the Premier League.  It was not until Graeme Sounes took over as player manager of Rangers that McCoist really hit his stride and began to excel himself as the most prodigious goalscorer in the history of Scottish football.  Allys unprecedented career includes over 300 league goals for Rangers helping the club to 9 titles in a row, a Scottish Cup Winners medal, 2 UEFA Golden Boot awards, Scottish player of the year 91/92 and 61 Caps for his country resulting in 19 international goals.  Ally became one of Glasgow Rangers and Scotlands all time football heroes, and is now part of the Rangers coaching staff under Walter Smith.

Ally McCoist MBE by Scott Bridges.
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 M. Schumacher / JP Montoya.  Brazilian GP 2001.

Close Encounters by Michael Thompson.
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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.
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 A product of United's magnificent youth policy, Nicky Butt has become an invaluable player in the most successful side in the club's history.  Gary Keane's portrayal of Nicky Butt captures the tenacity, determination and power of one of the country's leading midfield players.

Nicky Butt by Gary Keane.
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MT26. Juan for Williams by Michael Thompson.
Juan for Williams by Michael Thompson.
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B49. Damon Hill/ Williams FW.17 by Ivan Berryman

Damon Hill/ Williams FW.17 by Ivan Berryman
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B40. Jean Alesi/ Benetton B.196

Jean Alesi/ Benetton B.196 by Ivan Berryman
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 Michael Schumacher wins again!

From Pole to Flag by Graham Bosworth
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