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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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 With 12 victories to his credit, William Sloan was the highest scoring pilot of the 96th FS/82nd FG and is shown here in his P.38 Snooks IV ½, a reference to the fact that this aircraft was made up of so many cannibalised parts from other P.38s.

Lt William J Dixie Sloan by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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Mosquitos of 105 Squadron, Marham.  No. 105 Squadron, stationed at Marham, Norfolk, became the first Royal Air Force unit to become operational flying the Mosquito B. Mk. IV bomber on 11th April 1942.  The painting shows 105 Squadron on the raid of 10th April 1945, to the Wahren railway marshalling yards at Leipzig, Germany.

Return From Leipzig by Anthony Saunders. (C)
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 As dawn breaks across South Pacific skies, a group of Mitsubishi A6M5 Zeros of the 201st Air Group head outbound from their base at Rabaul on a raiding sortie in November 1944.

Zero Hour by Ivan Berryman.
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 This was the moment when the massive Möhne dam was finally breached on the night of 16th-17th May 1943 during the top secret Operation Chastise. The specially-converted Lancaster B MkIII of Fl/Lt David Maltby ED906(G) AJ-J roars between the towers of the dam, having released the Upkeep bouncing bomb that would ultimately cause a cascade of water to flood into the valley below. Fl/Lt Harold Martin's identical aircraft, ED909(G) AJ-P can be seen off Maltby's port wing with all of its light ablaze, drawing enemy fire from the attacking bomber.

Dambusters - Moment of Truth by Ivan Berryman. (GL)
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 Ju 52s deploy German Paratroopers during the assault on Crete (operation Mercure) 1942. 

Falling Angels by Tim Fisher.
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 The success of the attack on the Möhne dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943 meant that the remaining three 617 Sqn Lancasters of the First Wave could turn their attention to the Eder, some twelve minutes flying time away.  Wing Commander Guy Gibson first called in Flight Lieutenant D J Shannon, flying AJ-L (ED929G) to make the initial run, but he had great difficulty achieving the correct height and approach, so Gibson now ordered Squadron Leader H E Maudslay in AJ-Z (ED937G) to make his run.  Again, the aircraft struggled to find the correct height and direction, so Shannon was again brought in, AJ-L finally releasing its <i>Upkeep</i> on the third attempt. The bomb bounced twice before exploding with no visible effect on the dam. Now Maudslay made another attempt, but released his bomb too late.  The mine bounced off of the dam wall and exploded in mid air right behind AJ-Z, the Lancaster limping away, damaged, from the scene, only to be shot down on the way home with the loss of all crew.  Finally, Pilot Officer Les Knight was called in for one final attempt. AJ-N (ED912G) released its <i>Upkeep</i>  perfectly, the mine bouncing three times before striking the dam slightly to the south.  In the ensuing explosion, the dam was seen to shake visibly before the masonry began to crumble and a massive breach appeared.  With the Möhne and Eder dams both destroyed and the Sorpe demonstrated to be equally vulnerable, <i>Operation Chastise</i> had been a remarkable success and will stand forever as one of the most heroic and audacious attacks in the history of aerial warfare.

The Eder Breaks by Ivan Berryman.
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In 1944 Berlin was probably the most defended city in the world.  The Luftwaffe had kept what reserves it had for planes to defend Berlin.  On March 6th, 1944, The USAAF were involved in the massive air raid on Berlin, 69 B17s were lost – but the Luftwaffe lost 160 planes.  Whereas the US 8th Air Force could recover from these aircraft losses, the German Luftwaffe could not.  By the end of the war, the 8th Air Force and the Royal Air Force had destroyed 70% of Berlin.

Berlin Bound by Anthony Saunders.
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 Lancasters of 61 Squadron head out for the enemy coast during the night of 3rd November 1943. Seen in the lead Lancaster is Flt Lt Bill Reid flying QR-O. After sustaining two heavy attacks by enemy night fighters, killing two crew members and injuring Reid in the head, shoulders and hands. He carried on to the target, dropping accurately his bomb load. Navigating back by Pole Star and Moon, he lost consciousness on occasions due to blood loss. He managed to find his way Shipdharn. Upon landing the undercarriage collapsed but luckily did not catch fire. For his exploits that night he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Lancaster VC by Graeme Lothian. (Y)
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 HMS Dido was launched on 18th July 1939, she took part in the evacuation of troops and defense of Crete, where she was damaged on B gun, killing 46 men. HMS Dido took part in the second Battle of Sirte during 1942, she sank three supply ships off North Africa. She also took part in the Anzio landings and the invasion of Southern France in August 1944.

HMS Dido by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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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.
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The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on a calm, almost windless day, on 21st October 1805.  Nelsons revolutionary battle plan was to cut apart the larger Franco-Spanish fleet of Vice-Admiral Villeneuve by sailing in two single column divisions directly at right angles into the combined fleet and thus rendering almost half of the leading ships useless until the could turn and join the fight, which in such calm conditions could take hours.  The battle raged for five hours in which time not one British ship was lost, however, Nelson would tragically lose his life at the very moment of his triumph, a triumph which rendered the British Navy unchallenged in supremacy for over a century.  Here HMS Mars passes between the French ship Belleisle on her starboard and the French ship Fougeux on her port, firing a murderous hail of gunfire at both ships.  Also shown in the painting on the left hand side is the Spanish ship Monarco and the French ship Pluton.

The Battle of Trafalgar - Mars Breaks the Line by Anthony Saunders. (AP)
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 Erich Topps notorious Red Devil Boat, U-552, slips quietly away from the scene of another victory in the North Atlantic in 1941.

U-552 by Ivan Berryman.
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Under tow, HMS Vanguard having left John Brown shipyard, passes Dalmuir ship docks, Clydebank, 1946.  HMS Vanguard would be the last British battleship to be built.

HMS Vanguard, Away the Vanguard by Randall Wilson.
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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 (AP)
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 Ships of the South Atlantic Task Force gather in San Carlos water during the Falklands Campaign of 1982. LCMs from HMS Fearless (L10) manoeuvre around their mother ship, with the logistic Ship RFA Sir Galahad (L3005) and the frigate HMS Argonaut (F56) in close attendance.

HMS Fearless by Ivan Berryman (P)
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The assault ship HMS Fearless is shown dispatching her assault craft in San Carlos Water during the Falklands conflict of 1982. HMS Argonaut lies at anchor to her starboard with HMS Antrim in the extreme distance.

HMS Fearless by Ivan Berryman.
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DHM376. 2nd Dragoon Guards Officer by Mark Churms.

2nd Dragoon Guards Officer by Mark Churms.
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 Unterscharfurher Karl-Heinz Turk of the Schwere SS Panzerabteilung 503, in one of the units few remaining Kingtigers, defends the Potsdammer Platz along with elements of the Munchberg Division against the rapidly encroaching Soviet forces.

The Last Battle, Berlin, April 30th 1945 by David Pentland. (GL)
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 The Battle of Barnet was fought in a heavy mist, on Easter Sunday 14th April 1471. Due to a misalignment of the opposing armies, all became confusion. The centre of the battle (as depicted here) was fought at close quarters, a mass of struggling knights and men at arms with comrade fighting comrade, their vision of the battle obscured by mist. The Yorkists under the leadership of King Edward IV triumphed, leaving the Lancastrians with hopes dashed. Their champion and leader, the great Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick The King Maker lay dead, cut down while struggling to regain his charger. In the painting Edward IV charges toward the banner of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, while in the foreground soldiers of the Houses of York and Lancaster hack and slash at each other in terrified butchery.

Battle of Barnet by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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Commissioned by 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery in 1997. Fire mission by 105mm Light Gun onto Westdown Range.
Commando Gunners by Scott Kirkwood.
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 Private Wassall, whilst escaping the debacle of Isandhlwana, was being pursued by Zulu warriors as he made his way down the Buffalo River, the border between Zululand and Natal. Wassall rode his Basuto pony into the river, but upon hearing a cry for help and seeing a man from his own regiment drowning, he turned and made his way back to the Zulu side of the river, Quickly dismounting he tied his horse to a tress, swam into the river and rescued a private called Westwood as the Zulus were sweeping along the riverbank just at the moment the Zulus rushed forward. For his act of valour in the face of the enemy Private Samuel Wassall was awarded the first of the Zulu War Victoria Crosses.

Private Samuel Wassall of the 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers) at Fugitives Drift by Jason Askew. (Y)
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 The Duke of Wellington orders Maitland to move the infantry of the guard forward at the climax of the Battle of Waterloo during the Napoleonic war.
Now Maitland Now is Your Time by Thomas Jones Barker. (Y)
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DHM1625P. 13th Light Dragoons at Windsor Castle by Chris Collingwood.

13th Light Dragoons at Windsor Castle by Chris Collingwood. (P)
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 King Tigers of Kampfgruppe von Rosen, 3rd Company Heavy Tank Battalion 503, preparing to move out from the Tisza bridgehead to counter Soviet pressure on German forces attacking to the northwest at Debrecen during the first battles to defend the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

Tigers in the Mist by David Pentland.
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 England Captain martin Johnson lifts the World Rugby Cup, as winners of the 2003 World Rugby Cup in Australia.

Martin Johnson by Chris Howells.
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 Jenson Button.  Reanult R202
Young Gun by Michael Thompson.
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In the final moments of extra time of the game, the England number 10, Jonny Wilkinson slotted a perfect drop goal which clinched victory over Australia, winning 20 points to 17. 

Rugby World Cup Final 2003 by David Pentland.
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Florida Pearl is an Irish-bred race horse, who raced in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Florida Pearl was owned by Mrs Violet O'Leary and trained by top Irish trainer Willie Mullins.  The 2001/02 season proved to be successful for Florida Pearl, winning the John Durkan Memorial Chase.  Florida Pearl then returned to Kempton to win the King George VI Chase beating Best Mate in December.  He returned back to England for his next start in the Grade 2 Martell Cup Chase where he cruised to an 11 length victory over Cyfor Malta.  The painting shows Florida Pearl over the one of the nineteen fences to win the Martell Cup at Aintree in 2002, with Jockey  Barry Geraghty.

Florida Pearl by Stephen Smith.
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 Ferrari F310.  1996.
Eddie Irvine by Michael Thompson.
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 David Coulthard. McLaren Mercedes MP4/13
A Scottish Gentleman by Michael Thompson.
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 The legendary Welsh rugby union captain Gareth Edwards is brought to life in the triple portrait. Gareth Edwards is revered in Wales and considered one of the finest players ever. in part of the montage he is shown going over for a try against England.
Gareth Edwards by Darren Baker. (AP)
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Epsom Trophy, Polo Championship

Epsom Trophy by Mark Churms. (AP)
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