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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

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

 On the night of 12th September 1944, Lancaster NF958 (LS-M) of No.15 Sqn was lost in the skies above Mannheim when it was attacked by the Messerschmitt Bf.110G-2 of Ofw Ludwig Schmidt of II/NGJ 6, the bomber receiving hits to the bomb bay which ignited the incendiaries still in their racks.  Five of the crew bailed out and were taken prisoner of war once captured.  The pilot, F/O Norman Overend RNZAF, did not escape the aircraft.  Flt Sgt Harry A Beverton was seen to leave the stricken Lancaster but was not seen again.<br><br><b>Crew of <i>Lancaster LS-M</i> :</b><br><br>F/O Norman Overend RNZAF<br>Sgt Barry J Howarth <i>(survived)</i><br>Sgt George B Thomson <i>(survived)</i><br>Flt Sgt John D Jones <i>(survived)</i><br>Flt Sgt Robert P E Kendall <i>(survived)</i><br>Flt Sgt Harry A Beverton<br>Sgt I Spagatner <i>(survived)</i>.

Incident over Mannheim by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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 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)
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 Douglas C-47s of the 439th Troop Carrier Group, 94th Troop Carrier Squadron, approach the Drop Zone above Normandy on the night of 5th / 6th June 1944 at the start of Operation Overlord.

Drop Zone Ahead by Ivan Berryman.
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 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1As of No.610 (County of Chester) Sqn RAAF, intercept incoming Heinkel 111H-16s of the 9th Staffel, Kampfgeschwader 53 Legion Condor during the big daylight raids on London of August and September 1940 – the climax of the Battle of Britain. Spitfire N3029 (DW-K) was shot down by a Bf109 on the 5th of September 1940 and crash-landed near Gravesend, Kent, thankfully without injury to Sgt Willcocks, the pilot. For the record, N3029 was rebuilt and, following some brief flying in the UK, was sent overseas by convoy to the Middle East. Ironically, the ship carrying this aircraft was torpedoed en route and both ship and all its cargo were lost.

Close Encounter by Ivan Berryman. (F)
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 The Royal Air Force is currently the largest operator of the Boeing Chinook after the United States, this ubiquitous helicopter now equipping  No.s 7, 18 and 27 Sqn based at RAF Odiham.  Deployed in Afghanistan, the flight and ground crew operate jointly as the Expeditionary Chinook Engineering Squadron (ExCES), No.1310 Flight.  Here, a Chinook is depicted ferrying an underslung re-supply load out of Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

A Vital Role by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 One of 6,176 Halifaxes built during World War II, NA337(2P-X) was shot down over Norway on 23rd April 1945.  In 1995 it was recovered from the lake that had been its watery home for fifty years and has now been restored by the Halifax Aircraft Association in Ontario, Canada.

Halifax Mk.III NA337 by Ivan Berryman. (C)
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Reformed in November 2000, 99 Squadron, based at Brize Norton, is now the operator of the RAF's new heavy transport, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, an example of which is shown on the newly extended concrete runway at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  The C-17s have become the mainstay of the RAF's supply train, shuttling between the UK and Afghanistan, as well as providing specialist aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief duties.

Globemaster III by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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Hawker Hurricanes of 249 squadron (RAF) departing off HMS Ark Royal in June 1941 as par tof Force H. The Hurricanes were to become part of the Defence of Malta against the onslought and non stop bombing by the Axis Bombers and HMS Ark Royal would be sunk only a few months later when on the 13th November 1941 HMS Ark Royal was hit by a single torpedo from the German U-boat U81. The torpedo hit  on the starboard side near the starboard boiler room causing a 130ft by 30ft hole. Water poured in causing a 10% list immediately. The flooding spread quickly to the middle of the ship and then to the port boiler room, eectric power failed,  and after 14 hours while in tow to Gibraltar she capsized and sunk the following day.

Malta Relief by Tim Fisher.
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NAVAL PRINTS

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The USS Colorado holds the all time record of 37 consecutive days of firing at an enemy and the record of 24 direct enemy air attacks in 62 days both while at Okinawa.

USS Colorado Okinawa by Anthony Saunders. 
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B216AP.  HMS Colossus by Ivan Berryman.  Together with her sister ship, Hercules, HMS Colossus acquitted herself well at the Battle of Jutland where she fired 93 12in rounds, but received only two hits from enemy fire which caused minor damage and left nine crew injured.  She was sold for scrap in 1928.

HMS Colossus by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Japanese Torpedo destroyers, rush in to finish off the Russian battleships near the end of the Battle of Tsushima.

Battle of Tsushima by Anthony Saunders. (Y)
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HMS Ark Royal IV - Flagship of the Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers - a mobile airfield and a most impressive sight as she launches a Phantom from one of her catapults. She had a standard displacement of 43,000 tons, a beam of 168 feet, and was 846 feet long. Ships company numbered 2,570 and her Air Group consisted of Phantom Interceptors, Buccaneer strike and Gannet AEW aircraft together with Wessex SAR and Sea King ASW helicopters. She served her Nation and the Royal Navy for 23 years and sailed 800,000 miles of valuable service, finally being decommissioned in 1979.
Ark Royal by Philip West (AP)
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 The view across Battleship Row, viewed from above Ford Island as the USS Nevada gallantly makes her break for the open sea, coming under heavy attack from Japanese A6M2s from the carrier Hiryu. The Nevada was eventually too badly damaged to continue and was beached to avoid blocking the harbour entrance. In the immediate foreground, the lightly damaged USS Tennessee is trapped inboard of USS West Virginia which has sunk at her moorings, leaking burning oil and hampering the daring operations to pluck trapped crew members from her decks, while just visible to the right is the stern of the USS Maryland and the capsized Oklahoma.
Attack on Pearl Harbor by Ivan Berryman
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B146AP.  HMS Jamaica by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Jamaica by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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Seen here from the deck of an escorting destroyer.
HMS Prince of Wales by Ivan Berryman.
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 HMS Medway was the first Royal navy submarine Depot ship that was designed for the purpose from the outset. She is shown here with a quintet of T-class submarines on her starboard side, whilst an elderly L-Class begins  to move away having completed replenishment. HMS Medway was sunk on 30th June 1940 having been torpedoed by U-372 off Alexandria.

HMS Medway by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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MILITARY PRINTS

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 Replacements from 1st Battalion Irish Guards and Sherman tanks of the 46th Royal Tank Regiment move through the debris of Anzio town towards their jump-off positions for the Battle of Campoleone Station.

Anzio, Italy, February 1944 by David Pentland. (GL)
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<b>Ex-display prints in near perfect condition. </b>

The Battle of Kulm by Carl Rochling. (Y)
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DHM324.  Les Ordannces by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier.
Les Ordannces by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier.
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DHM825GL. Centurian by Chris Collingwood.

Centurian by Chris Collingwood (GL)
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DHM120.  The Battle of Trafalgar by W Stuart.

The Battle of Trafalgar by William Stuart.
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 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.
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 Trapped within a rapidly decreasing perimeter, the exhausted BEF along with elements of the French 1st Army appeared to be at the mercy of the mighty Luftwaffe. No one though had reckoned on the brilliant leadership of Admiral Ramsay nor the gallant and unstinting efforts of the military and civilians who managed to rescue over 330,000 troops in nine days.

Operation Dynamo, Dunkirk, France 24th May - 4th June 1940 by David Pentland. (Y)
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DHM219.  With Banners Bravely Spread by Sir John Gilbert.

With Banners Bravely Spread by Sir John Gilbert.
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SPORT PRINTS

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 M. Schumacher / JP Montoya.  Brazilian GP 2001.

Close Encounters by Michael Thompson.
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 Jonjo O'Neill.  Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 1984, Cheltenham Gold Cup 1986.

Dawn Run by Peter Deighan.
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 McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth.  World Champion 1976.
James Hunt by Michael Thompson.
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 Depicting Englands emphatic 1995 grand slam victory.

1995 Grand Slam by Scott Bridges. (Y)
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 Ralf Schumacher winning the first Grand Prix of his career in the Williams FW23. Ralf dominated the San Marino Grand Prix from the first corner to the chequered flag giving Williams its first win since 1997. History was made when the Schumachers became the first brothers in Formula 1 to win a Grand Prix. Imola April 2001.

The Italian Job by Michael Thompson
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 Ferrari F310.  1996.
Eddie Irvine by Michael Thompson.
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 It was Saturday 4th May 2002, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.  Wonderful goals by Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg for Arsenal were too much for their London rivals Chelsea to capture the FA Cup.  Four days later, on Wednesday 8th, Arsenal rode into Old Trafford.  This time a goal by Sylvain Wiltord on his 100th appearance for the club was enough for Arsene Wenger's team to overcome Manchester United and clinch the Premiership title, maintaining a record of scoring in every league game of the season.  For the second time in four years under their long-serving and inspirational captain Tony Adams, Arsenal had performed the classic double of English football, the third in their history making 2001-02, a season never to be forgotten.

The Double 2001 / 2002 by Gary Keane. (Y)
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 The Minstrel, 1977, Shergar, 1981, Golden Fleece, 1982, .Teenoso, 1983, Reference Point, 1987, Nashwan, 1989.

Derby Winners by Peter Deighan.
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