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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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The B-17 Flying Fortress 'Memphis Belle' returns from one of her 25 mission over France and Germany.  Memphis Belle, a  B-17F-10-BO, USAAF Serial No.41-24485, was supplied to the USAAF on July 15th 1942, and delivered to the 91st Bomb Group in September 1942  at Dow Field, Bangor, Maine.  Memphis Belle deployed to Scotland at Prestwick on September 30th 1942 and went to RAF Kimbolton on October 1st, and then to her permanent base at Bassingbourn on October 14th.1942.  Memphis Belle was the first United States Army Air Force heavy bomber to complete 25 combat missions with her crew intact.  The aircraft and crew then returned to the United States to promote and sell war bonds.  The Memphis Belle B-17 is undergoing extensive restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Coming Home by Tim Fisher.
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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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 A pair of Focke Wulf 190A4s of 9./JG2 Richthofen based at Vannes, France during February 1943. The nearest aircraft is that of Staffelkapitan Siegfried Schnell. The badge on the nose is the rooster emblem of III./JG2 and the decoration on Schnells rudder shows 70 of his eventual total of 93 kills.

Looking for Business by Ivan Berryman. (F)
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 Spitfire L1000 (DW-R) of No.610 Sqn is terminally damaged by an Me109 over Dunkirk on 29th May 1940.  The Spitfire pilot, Flying Officer Gerald Kerr is listed is missing after this combat.

Kerrs Last Combat†by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 Two Spitfire Mk1Bs of 92 Squadron patrol the south coast from their temporary base at Ford, here passing over the Needles rocks, Isle of Wight, in the Spring of 1942.

In Them We Trust†by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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DHM925.  Harrier in a Hyde by Geoff Lea.

Harrier in a Hyde by Geoff Lea.
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 A pair of Spitfire Mk.IXEs of 611 Squadron make their way home from a patrol during the summer of 1942. At this time 611 Squadron were based at Kenley and were the first squadron to receive the new Mk.IX putting it on equal terms, for the first time, with the formidable Focke-Wulf 190.

Spitfire Mk.IXE by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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 P51D of Colonel Glenn Duncan C.O. of the 353rd Fighter Group, along with Betty-E flown by Lt. Colonel Wayne Blickenstaff, taking off on one of their last missions of the war, April 1945.

Dove of Peace by David Pentland.
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NAVAL PRINTS

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  T class submarine HMS Thorn surfaces during the work up exercises off the west coast of Scotland in late 1941. Taking part is an escort sloop of the Black Swan class and a Sunderland from 201 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command.

Working Up by Robert Barbour.
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 The heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen slips quietly through the waters of Kiel Harbour as one of her own Arado Ar.196s flies overhead. In the background, Bismarck, wearing her Baltic camouflage, is alongside taking on supplies.

Prinz Eugen by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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Key ships of the British task force sail in close formation in the Mediterranean sea during the build up to the coalition invasion of Iraq in march 2003, nearest is the flagship HMS Ark Royal with the commando carrier HMS ocean to her port side. other ships include a Type 42 destroyer , the Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria and an LSL††

NTG03 - Task Force to Iraq by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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One of the most decisive battles in the history of the Royal Navy, Nelsons defeat of the French fleet took place on 21st October 1805 off Cape Trafalgar and was conducted with not a single British ship lost, although few ships escaped severe punishment and loss of life on both sides was tragically high

The Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October 1805 by Ivan Berryman.
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B139P. HMS Royal Oak by Ivan Berryman. The R-class battleship Royal Oak lies at anchor in Scapa Flow between the wars ahead of her sisters Royal Sovereign and Revenge.  HMS Repulse is passing the line on the left of the picture
HMS Royal Oak by Ivan Berryman (P)
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H.M.A.S Hobart glides past Mount Fiji for the surrender ceremony with Missouri in the Background. Tokyo Bay 1945.

Slow Ahead by Randall Wilson.
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HMS Prince of Wales is shown firing on the Bismarck and in the background a huge black cloud is all that is left of HMS Hood.

HMS Prince of Wales by Brian Wood. (B)
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Captain Charles Vane was born in 1680, and was an English pirate who preyed upon English and French shipping.  Vane began piracy in 1716 and lasted 3 years. Vane captured a Barbados sloop and then a large 12-gun brigantine, which he renamed the Ranger.   Vane was among the pirate captains who operated out of the Bohama at the notorious base at New Providence after the colony had been abandoned by the British.  His pirate attacks made Captain Charles Vane well known to the Royal Navy and in February of 1718 Vincent Pearse, commander of HMS Phoenix cornered Vane on his ship the Lark.  Vane  had heard of the recent royal pardons that had been offered to pirates in exchange for a guarantee they would quit plundering, so Vane claimed he had actually been en route to surrender to Pearse and accepted the pardon on the spot,  Charle Vane gained his freedom but as soon as he was free of Pearse he ignored the pardon and resumed his pirate ways.  Charles Vane was again captured and in 1721 was executed by hanging at Gallows Point, Port Royal, Jamaica on March 29th 1721.

Captain Charles Vane by Chris Collingwood.
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MILITARY PRINTS

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 Private Robert Jones. Decorated for conspicuous bravery and devotion to the wounded at Rorkes drift. Private Robert and William Jones, posted in a room of the Hospital facing the hill, kept up a steady fire against enormous odds, and while one worked to cut a hole through the partition into the next room, the other shot Zulu after Zulu through the loophooled walls, using his own and his comrades rifle alternatively when the barrels became to hot to hold owing to the incessant firing. By their united heroic efforts six out of the seven patients were saved by being carried through the broken partition. the seventh, sergeant Maxwell being delirious, refused to be helped, and on Robert Jones returning to take him by force he found him being stabbed by the Zulus in his bed, Robert Jones died in 1898 in Peterchurch Herefordshire . Both men were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Last Man Out by Mark Churms. (Y)
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CC066. Original pencil drawing by Chris Collingwood produced on art board.
Original pencil drawing by Chris Collingwood produced on art board. (P)
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 Scouts of the 13th Light Dragoons keep watch on the advancing French Army.

The Vedette of the 13th Light Dragoons by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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VAR461.  Royal Artillery 10in Howitzers by Campion.

Royal Artillery 10in Howitzers by Campion.
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 Depicting soldiers of the French Second Empire dreaming of the victorious French Army of the Napoleonic period.
La Reve (The Dream) by Edouard Detaille. (Y)
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DHM212.  The 55th Regiment at the Battle of Inkerman by Orlando Norie.
The 55th Regiment at the Battle of Inkerman by Orlando Norie.
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VAR128. Pinned Down (Highlanders Engage Boers) by John Farquharson
Pinned Down (Highlanders Engage Boers) by John Farquharson
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3 Para group during Operation Agricola, Kosovo, 12th June - 1st August 1999.†

Mobile Patrol in Pristina by David Rowlands (GL)
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SPORT PRINTS

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 David Coulthard. McLaren Mercedes MP4/13
A Scottish Gentleman by Michael Thompson.
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B43. Damon Hill/ Williams Renault FW.18 by Ivan Berryman

Damon Hill/ Williams Renault FW.18 by Ivan Berryman
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 Marcus Gronholm.  Peugeot 206 WRC.
Reflections of a Champion by Michael Thompson.
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 Richard Burns and Robert Reid.  Subaru Impreza WRC 99
Rain or Shine by Michael Thompson
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DB006. Michael Schumacher by Darren Baker.
Michael Schumacher by Darren Baker.
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B47. Eddie Irvine/ Ferrari F.310. by Ivan Berryman.

Eddie Irvine/ Ferrari F.310. by Ivan Berryman.
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Heroes of Goodison Park by Doug Harker. (Y)
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SP4.  Desert Orchid by Mark Churms.

Desert Orchid by Mark Churms.
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