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HMS Centurion 

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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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 In one of the finest portrayals of the Avro Lancaster, Moonlight Run depicts the aircraft of Fl. Lt. Mickey Martin (ED909 AJ-P) at the moment of release of the Wallace Bomb during the Dams raid on the Ruhr in 1943. With only the gentlest of moonlight rippling over the dark water of the Mohne, this dramatic picture plays homage to the impossible low altitudes and high speeds that were necessary to complete successfully their heroic mission. A stark and refreshing treatment of a subject at the hearts of all aviation historians.

Moonlight Run (Dambusters) by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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 Aircraft number 2247, flown by Lt McElroy, attacks the Yokosuka Yard near Tokyo. He was one of the 18 B25 Mitchell bombers which took part in the famous retaliatory raid on Japan.

Doolittle Raider, Tokyo, April 18th 1942 by David Pentland.
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 Under the watchful eye of his more experienced tutor a trainee pilot gets his first taste of the Spitfire Mk.IIa, airborne from Tangmere early in 1941. the nearest aircraft is P7856 (YT-C) which enjoyed a long career, surviving until 1945.

The Fledgling by Ivan Berryman. (D)
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Albert Ball in his Nieuport 17 having just shot down a German LVG.  His aircraft, A134, was distinctive in having a bright red spinner.  He was the first Royal Flying Corps pilot to score a hat-trick (3 kills on a single mission) and, in the course of his career, scored another two on his way to his outstanding 44 victories.

Albert Ball by Ivan Berryman. (B)
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 A moment during the fraught encounter on 27th May 1940 over Dunkirk between Spitfires of 610 Sqn and an estimated 40 Bf.110s during which three Zerstorers were shot down.

A Dunkirk Encounter†by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 Hurricanes of 607 County of Durham Squadron diving down and attacking Heinkels over the Needles on the Isle of Wight, after a raid on the southern coast. 607 squadron were stationed at nearby Tangmere from the start of September 1940 and saw continuous action throughout the Battle of Britain until the 16th October, when it withdrew to Scotland having raised its total victory to 102. Also aiding in the pursuit are Spitfires of 602 City of Glasgow Squadron based at Westhampnett.

Hurricanes Over the Needles by Graeme Lothian. (Y)
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Depicting the morning after a gruelling operation during the autumn of 1944. As day breaks a returning crew awaits the crew bus at their aircraft dispersal, grouped before their mighty bomber which shows fresh scars of battle from an arduous mission over occupied Europe. The exhausted men are clearly relieved and thankful to be safely home at their in Lincolnshire base.

Mission Completed by Simon Smith.
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 Wing Commander J R Baldwin is depicted flying Typhoon MN934 whilst commanding 146 Wing, 84 Group operating from Needs Oar Point in 1944, en route to a bombing raid on 20th June with other Typhoons of 257 Sqn in which both ends of a railway tunnel full of German supplies were successfully sealed.

Typhoons Over Normandy by Ivan Berryman.
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NAVAL PRINTS

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 In support of the American landings at Utah and Omaha beaches, the USS Texas slugs it out with German heavy gun emplacements during the D-Day landings.

Gunline Omaha - USS Texas by Randall Wilson.
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B65AP. HMS King George V by Ivan Berryman.

HMS King George V by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Type 21 frigate HMS Ambuscade (F172) is shown passing the swing bridge as she enters Taranto Harbour.

HMS Ambuscade by Ivan Berryman (P)
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Originally constructed as a Home Fleet Repair Ship, HMS Cyclops was later converted into a submarine depot ship and enjoyed a long career, both in the Mediterranean and in home waters.  Here she prepares to receive HMS Sceptre.  Another S-class submarine is already tethered alongside.

HMS Cyclops Prepares to Receive HMS Sceptre by Ivan Berryman
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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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  Fairey Swordfish I, L9726 4M of 818 Sqn, HMS Ark Royal pulls a tight, climbing turn through a hail of anti-aircraft fire as its torpedo strikes home, jamming the steering gear of the mighty Bismarck and setting in motion the beginning of her dramatic end.

Bismarck by Ivan Berryman.
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HMS Illustrious slips quietly away from the docks at Devonport, Plymouth with the Fiji class cruiser in the middle distance, 1941.

HMS Illustrious and HMS Kenya at Devonport by Ivan Berryman (P)
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DHM1322.  HMS Glasgow by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Glasgow by Ivan Berryman.
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MILITARY PRINTS

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 Edward departs from his almost completed Rhuddlan Castle at the conclusion of his second Welsh campaign.

Edward the 1st in Wales by David Pentland. (P)
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DHM709.  Men of the United States Navy During the Battle of Lake Erie 1813 by Chris Collingwood.

Men of the United States Navy During the Battle of Lake Erie 1813 by Chris Collingwood.
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 Depicting Captain Lindsay of the Scots Guards advancing with the colours which were shot through and staff broken. By this example he helped to restore order after a Russian onslaught had put the regiment in disorder.

Scots Guards Saving the Colours at Alma by Lady Elizabeth Butler (Y)
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 French domination of Europe could never be assured without Britains defeat. Had he defeated Russia, Napoleon may have been able to launch an invasion of England in 1813. Using American designed paddle steamers.

Napoleons Dream by Mark Churms.
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 Sturmtigers of Sturmmorser Company 1002, commanded by Lieutenant Zippel, take on ammunition in preparation for the battle to come. These fearsome monsters 38cm rocket projectors could penetrate up to 2.5m of reinforced concrete. Luckily for the Allies only 18 were completed by the wars end.

Preparing for the Day, the Reichswald, February 1945 by David Pentland.
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 After suppressing the initial German defences, the Sherman Crab flail tank of Lance Sgt Johnson, 3 Troop C Squadron the 22nd Dragoons, 79th Armoured Division,  clears a path through a minefield to allow tanks of 27th Armoured Brigade, and men of 3rd Infantry Division to breakout  from the beaches. Fire support from surviving Sherman DD (amphibious) tanks of 13th /18th Hussars (QMO), proved invaluable in the initial push towards Caen

D-Day, Sword Beach, Normandy 1944 by David Pentland. (GS)
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Captain W Macleods Company, 1st Battalion Royal Artillery. Battle of Quebec 13th September 1759 was Wolfs final attempt to take the city. His army scaled the cliffs from Wolfes cove and fought the French army which was larger than Wolfes on the Plains of Abraham. During this battle General Wolfe was hit twice  and eventually mortally wounded when a bullet passed through his lungs. As he lay dying he heard someone shout They run - see how they run. Wolfe gave his last order to cut of the enemies retreat and his last words being Now God be praised. I will die in peace.

The Battle of Quebec, 13th September 1759 by David Rowlands (B)
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 Showing members of the 10th Hussars during the Peninsula War.

Scouts by William Barnes Wollen. (Y)
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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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 Three Steps To Heaven pays tribute to one of the greatest strikers to play for Liverpool and in particular, the historic Cup treble in 2001. It contains details of the FA Cup triumph over Arsenal, Worthington Cup win over Birmingham City and the unforgettable 5-4 defeat of Spanish side Alaves to complete the cup treble and bring back the UEFA Cup to Merseyside.

Three Steps to Heaven by Robert Highton. (Y)
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Johnny Herbert is shown in the Benetton B195.  Herbert took a deserved victory at his home British Grand Prix at Silverstone, beating the Ferrari of Frenchman Jean Alesi into second place by more than 16 seconds, and ahead of fellow briton David Coulthard in the third placed Williams.  He also claimed victory at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.  Along with Michael Schumachers nine victories, Herbert  helped Benetton win their first constructors championship in the 1995 season.  The Formula One Benetton B195 was designed by Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn for use in the 1995 Formula One season by Benetton.  The B195 was almost identical to the B194 but for a change of engine supplier from Ford to Renault V10 engine, the same type the rival Williams team was using.  With his first two Formula One wins under his belt in 1995, Johnny Herbert won just one more race, winning at the Nurburgring at the European Grand Prix in 1999, racing for Stewart Ford.  He retired from Formula One in 2000.

Johnny Herbert/ Benetton B.195 by Ivan Berryman
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 The English football team for 2002.
England by Peter Deighan.
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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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 Eddie Irvine.  Jaguar-Cosworth 2002
Green Giant 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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 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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