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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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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.
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 Equipped with the experimental <i>Monica IIIE</i> detection device, Hawker Tempest EJ535 was deployed to the Fighter Interception Unit at Newchurch for evaluation in July 1944.  Originally developed as the AN/APS 13, <i>Monica</i> had been intended as a rear-looking device to warn crews of attacks from behind.  Now modified to face forward, it became a valuable aid in the battle against Hitler's terror weapons, notably the V-1 Flying Bomb.  In the hands of the Fighter Interception Unit's then Commanding Officer Joseph Berry, this became a winning combination with no fewer than 52 <i>Doodlebugs</i> falling to Berry's guns – on one occasion, seven V1s being shot down by Berry in a single night.

Bug Killer by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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 On the 20th of April 1918, just one day before his death, the legendary Red Baron, Mannfred von Richthofen, claimed his final victory.  His famous Flying Circus was engaged in battle by Sopwith Camels of No.3 and No.201 Squadron.  Claiming his 79th victory, he had shot down Major Richard Raymond-Barker earlier in the dogfight - the British pilot being killed in the resulting crash.  However, it is his 80th and final victory that is depicted here.  In the centre of the painting, the Sopwith Camel of David Lewis has been brought into the firing line of von Richthofen, and is about to be sent down in flames from the sky - Lewis was fortunate to survive the encounter relatively unscathed.  Meanwhile the chaos of the dogfight is all around this duel, with aircraft of both sides wheeling and diving in combat.  The other pilots depicted are Weiss, Bell, Riley, Steinhauser, Mohnicke, Hamilton and Wenzl.

The Final Curtain by Ivan Berryman.
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 With his personal emblem of black and white fuselage band adorning his Fokker E.V, 153/18, Richard Wenzl briefly commanded Jasta 6, based at Bernes in August 1918, and claimed a modest 6 victories during his career with JG 1. The Fokker E.V was both fast and manoeuvrable, but a series of engine and structural failures meant that these exciting new machines saw only brief service before being re-worked to emerge as the D.VIII, sadly too late to make any impression on the war. Wenzl is shown here in combat with Sopwith Camels of 203 Sqn, assisted by Fokker D.VIIs, which served alongside the E.Vs of Jasta 6. The D.VII shown is that of Ltn d R Erich Just of Jasta 11, also based at Bernes.

Leutnant d R Richard Wenzl by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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 At 3.30am on the 23rd June 1945, a Dakota of 357 (special duties) Squadron took off from Mingaladon airfield nr.  Rangoon , to travel the 600 miles, 300 of them behind enemy lines, to rescue a downed American Liberator crew deep in the jungles of   Siam  .  The Dakota was flown by pilot Fl Lt. Larry Lewis, who already held the DFM awarded to him for 33 ops as a rear gunner on   Wellingtons  in 1941. Two crews had already failed when Lewis was asked to attempt this hazardous mission. Flying between 5,000 - 6,000ft he flew over The Hump, a ridge of mountains running down the spine of   Burma  . Local villagers had cleared a rough airstrip 800yds long with Lewis finding it by the time dawn broke. With monsoon clouds gathering, the Liberator crew aboard and the Dakota sinking in the wet ground, he managed, just, to get airborne. Flying at zero feet and looking out for Japanese Zero fighters Lewis took a different course back. Although being fired on from the ground they managed to make it all the way to the airfield at Dum Dum nr.   Calcutta ,  India  . Lewis was awarded an immediate DFC. By the end of the war he had completed 63 ops, held the rank of Squadron Leader with his service from 1938-1945, and was awarded the Air Efficiency Medal.

Larry Lewis DFC by Graeme Lothian. (B)
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A Lysander of 161 Squadron from RAF Tempsford banks to port as it circles a field somewhere in France 1943. These missions only took place on or around the full moon period to pick up or drop off SOE agents with the help of the Resistance. 161 Squadron, the most secret of all RAF squadrons, had in its flight, Lysanders, Hudsons, and Halifaxes which carried out parachute operations. Two of 161s top pilots Hugh Verity and Lewis Hodges both received the DSO & bar and DFC & bar, and from France the Legion dHonneur and the Croix de Guerre.

Lysander Pick Up by Graeme Lothian.
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 En route to the dams of the Ruhr Valley, the first wave of three specially adapted Avro Lancasters roar across the Dutch wetlands on the night of 16 -17th May 1943 led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, their mission to breach the Mohne and Eder dams, thus robbing the German war machine of valuable hydro-electric power and disrupting the water supply to the entire area. Carrying their unique, Barnes Wallis designed 'Bouncing Bomb' and flying at just 30m above the ground to avoid radar detection, 617 Squadron's Lancasters forged their way into the enemy territories, following the canals of the Netherlands and flying through forest fire traps below treetop height to their targets. Gibson's aircraft ('G'-George) is nearest with 'M'-Mother of Fl/Lt Hopgood off his port wing and 'P'-Peter (Popsie) of Fl/Lt Martin in the distance.

Dambusters - The First Wave by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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 The afternoon of 25th July 1940 was a desperate one for the already exhausted fighter pilots of the RAF defending the South coast of England.  As convoy CW8 made its way through the English Channel, sixty JU.87 Stukas and forty JU.88 bombers launched a brutal attack on the ships below, backed up by fighter cover of over 50 Messerscmitt Bf.109s.  Eight Spitfires of 64 Sqn (Kenley) were scrambled, together with twelve Spitfires of 54 Sqn (Hornchurch) and Hurricanes of 111 Sqn from Croydon.  The British pilots found themselves massively outnumbered, but nevertheless put up a spirited fight against the teeming enemy.  This painting shows Spitfires of 54 Sqn entering the fray, the pilots scattering as they choose their targets and go after the JU.87s. To the right of this, Bf.109Es of JG.26 are roaring in to join battle, whilst Adolf Gallands aircraft engages a Hurricane of 111 Sqn.

A Day for Heroes by Ivan Berryman.
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NAVAL PRINTS

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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 (AP)
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 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.
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 HMS Thrasher returning from patrol off Crete in March 1942.

HMS/M Thrasher by John Pettitt. (Y)
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 The second of the Royal Navy's Vanguard Class SSBNs, HMS Victorious is shown in the Gareloch, with the naval base of Faslane in the background.

HMS Victorious Departing Faslane by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 The cruiser HMS Frobisher dominates this scene off Houlgate at the Normandy landings of 1944.  The monitor HMS Roberts lies beyond Frobisher with a Large Infantry Landing Ship or LSI (L) unshipping its LCAs on the extreme right of the picture.  In the foreground, a motor launch attends a group of LCP (L)s as they head for the French beaches.  Two Spitfire Mk.IXs conduct sweeps overhead as Operation Neptune gathers momentum.

HMS Frobisher and HMS Roberts at Normandy by Ivan Berryman
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 The E-class light cruiser HMS Emerald is shown off the Newfoundland coast in company with a Flower class corvette.  Between October 1939 and August 1940, HMS Emerald carried £58 million in gold from Britain to Canada.

HMS Emerald by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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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
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 Under lowering arctic skies HMS Belfast (Admiral Burnets Flagship) leads HMS Sheffield and HMS Norfolk in the race to protect convoy JW55B from Scharnhorst.

HMS Belfast During the Battle of North Cape by Randall Wilson. (Y)
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 Soldiers of the Yorkist cause c.1461. Crossbowman, Man at arms and knight with the standard of the Sun in Splendour.

Sun in Splendour by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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The picture shows Prussian troops cheering the arrival of General von Bulow after they had routed the French army.

The Arrival of General von Bulow by Richard Knotel.
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 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)
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 Flanked by his Companion heavy cavalry, Alexander, King of Macedon, led the charge which broke through the left wing of the Persian army, and forced Darius, the Great King, to flee the battlefield. Persian success against his own left wing forced him to delay his pursuit of the routed troops, but by the end of the day the battle was won, and the heart of the Persian empire lay at his feet.

Alexander at Arbela, Plain of Gaugamela, Iraq, 331BC by David Pentland. (YB)
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DHM249.  Depicting General La Salle before his last charge before being killed at the Battle of Wagram.

La Salle at the Battle of Wagram by Mark Churms
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This picture depicts the closing moments of the life of Socrates.  Condemned to death or exile by the Athenian government for his teaching methods which aroused scepticism and impiety in his students, Socrates heroicly rejected exile and accepted death from hemlock.  Here the philosopher continues to speak even while reaching for the cup, demonstrating his indifference to death and his unyielding commitment to his ideals.  Jacques Louis David  painted this historical picture in 1787.  Commissioned by the Trudaine de Montigny brothers, leaders in the call for a free market system and more public discussion.

Death of Socrates by Jacques Louis David. (Y)
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 It is September 18th, 1805, off Plymouth. Led by the 74-gun HMS Thunderer, with HMS Ajax astern, HMS Victory, with Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson aboard, begins her journey south to join the rest of the British fleet off Cadiz where the combined French and Spanish fleets lay blockaded. This was the prelude to the Battle of Trafalgar and the last time Nelson would see his beloved England.

Hearts of Oak Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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The American Civil War saw not only the split between north and south but also even between family members.
Brother Against Brother by Chris Collingwood.
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SPORT PRINTS

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 A great tribute to one of the all time greats in golf who will be sadly missed.

Seve Ballesteros by Peter Deighan. (Y)
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Lester Piggott by Gary Keane. (Y)
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Champion racing horse West Tip at Cheltenham race course.

West Tip by Mark Churms.
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 Valentino Rossi at speed on his Repsol Honda.
Rossi at Speed by Derrick Mark.
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 Sir Bobby played more than 750 games for Manchester United, scoring 247 goals. He also played 106 times for his country and scored a record 49 goals. One of only two Englishmen to have won World Cup and European Cup medals his name will always remain synonymous with some of the greatest moments in the English game.

Sir Bobby Charlton by Gary Keane. (Y)
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Celebrating Sir Alexs magnificent orchestration of Manchester Uniteds historic treble cup success of 1999.

Sir Alex Ferguson by Darren Baker.
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From behind 10th green looking back towards lighthouse, Ailsa Craig and monument.

Turnberry - Ailsa Course by Mark Chadwick
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SFA18.  Going Home by Chris Howells.

Going Home by Chris Howells.
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