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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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 The Sopwith Dolphin was a radical departure from previous Sopwith design philosophies, embodying a reverse-stagger on the wings, a water-cooled Hispano-Suiza engine and an unusual, but highly popular positioning of the cockpit which gave the pilot unprecedented views. One exponent of this purposeful looking machine was Canadian Major A D Carter who claimed many of his 31 victories flying the Dolphin. He is shown here sending an Albatross to the ground on 8th May 1918 whilst flying C4017. Carter was himself shot down soon after became a prisoner of war. He was killed in 1919 whilst test flying a Fokker D.VII at Shoreham, Sussex.

Major Albert Carter by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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 Squadron Leader H C Sawyer is depicted here flying his 65 Sqn Spitfire Mk.1a R6799 (YT-D) in the skies above Kent on 31st July 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain. Chasing him is Major Hans Trubenbach of 1 Gruppe, Lehrgeschwader 2 in his Messerschmitt Vf109E-3 (Red 12) . The encounter lasted eight minutes with both pilots surviving.

High Pursuit by Ivan Berryman. (D)
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 With a final 47 victories to his credit, Robert Alexander Little was one of the highest-scoring British aces of World War 1, beginning his career with the famous No 8 (Naval) Squadron in 1916, flying Sopwith Pup N5182, as shown here. On 21st April 1917, he was attacked and shot down by six aircraft of Jasta Boelke, Little being thrown from the cockpit of his Sopwith Camel on impact with the ground. As the German aircraft swooped in to rake the wreckage with machine gun fire, Little pulled his Webley from its holster and began returning fire before being assisted by British infantry with their Lewis guns. Such was the character of this great pilot who finally met his death whilst attacking Gotha bombers on the night of 27th May 1918.

Captain Robert Little by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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 Lieutenant Robert C Wattenburger shows off the unique lines of the Vought F.4U Corsair 124723 (NP-8) of VC-3 during a low-level fly-by of USS Valley Forge in May, 1952.

Valley Forge Fly-By by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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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 Douglas C-47 of the 91st Troop Carrier Squadron, 439th Troop Carrier Group gets away from the Devon airfield of Upottery on 5th June 1944 carrying paratroops of 101st Airborne Division.  The company departed from Upottery airbase in Devon, England, and dropped over the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy, France in the early hours of the morning of June 6th, 1944 at the start of the Normandy invasion.

101st Airborne en route to Normandy 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. (E)
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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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Captain Morgan by Chris Collingwood (Y)
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 The Queen Elizabeth class battleship HMS Malaya is pictured at Capetown in April 1942 en route to Durban from Gibraltar. A veteran of the First World War, Malaya took part in the Battle of Jutland, receiving eight hits, and going on to serve throughout World War Two, surviving a torpedo off Cape Verde in 1941. She is seen here about to recover her Fairey Swordfish floatplane beneath the dramatic outline of Table Mountain.

HMS Malaya at Capetown, South Africa. by Ivan Berryman (Y)
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HMS Eagle and the commando carrier HMS Albion during the withdrawal from Aden in November 1967.  One of HMS Eagles Sea Vixen is passing overhead and RFA Stromness is at anchor in the distance.

HMS Eagle and HMS Albion by Ivan Berryman.
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Depicting Titanic with the sun going down for the last time.

Titanic by Robert Barbour (AP)
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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.
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 Spearheading the Falklands Task Force as it heads south in 1982, the carrier HMS Hermes is shown in company with two Type 21 frigates, HMS Arrow on the left and HMS Ardent in the near foreground.  In the far distance, HMS Glamorgan glints in the sun as Type 42 HMS Sheffield cuts across behind Hermes.

HMS Hermes by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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Hawker Sea Furies buzz the stern of HMAS Sydney during fleet exercises off Jervis Bay 1956.

Fly Past by Randall Wilson.
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On the 11th August 1942, Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Wellum DFC, having just taken off from the deck of HMS Furious, leads his section of gathering Spitfires on the long journey to Malta. They are much-needed reinforcements for the beleaguered island, now in the twenty-sixth month of its siege. To enable each of the 38 Spitfires dispatched from Furious to reach Malta, over three hours flying time away, they carry maximum fuel together with a centre-line over-load tank. Even their ammunition is removed to save weight. Escorting Furious to her aft is the Cruiser HMS Manchester together with Destroyers Brave and Lithe. To their port side is the Ohio tanker laden with fuel during what became an epic voyage. In the distance HMS Eagle succumbs to an Axis torpedo attack. The success of Operation Pedestal was absolutely critical for the survival of Malta, bringing desperately needed fuel, food and ammunition to the Island. Losses were heavy but the courage and determination by all involved prevailed: five of the fourteen merchant ships, including the Ohio, made it through and the island was saved.
Spitfires - Malta Bound by Philip West.
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 Study for the original painting Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.
Bosworth 1485 - Knight by Mark Churms. (P)
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DHM657.  Hessian Troops Near Chambord, 9th December 1870 by Richard Knotel.

Hessian Troops Near Chambord, 9th December 1870 by Richard Knotel.
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 Depicting troopers of the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (Scots Greys) on the morning of 18th June 1815. before the Battle of waterloo, and their great charge into history.

The Dawn of Waterloo by Lady Elizabeth Butler. (Y)
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DHM821.  Austrian Generals Watching the Battle by Albrecht Adam.
Austrian Generals Watching the Battle by Albrecht Adam.
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The Brethren of the Coast or the Brethren, was a loose coalition of pirates and privateers also known as Buccaneers who operated during the 1600s and 1700s in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and also in the Atlantic Ocean.  They were a syndicate of pirate captains with letters of marque and reprisal who regulated their privateering enterprises within the community of privateers.
Brethren of the Coast by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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 Showing William III in full Black Armour at the time of the Battle of Boyne.

William III by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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 Depicting the charge of the Bucks, Berks and Dorset Yeomanry on November 13th 1917 during the Palestine campaign.

Action of the 6th Mounted Brigade at El Muhgar by J P Beadle. (Y)
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 Men of the US 381st Infantry Regiment, 96th Division supported by the tanks of 763rd and 713th Flamethrower Tank Battalions, during the assault on Yaeju Dake. This escarpment, known as Big Apple was the last in a series of tough Japanese defence lines on the south of the Island.

Taking of Big Apple, Okinawa, 10th - 14th June 1945 by David Pentland.
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Heroes of Goodison Park by Doug Harker. (Y)
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Unarguably the most famous Flying Finn of the past years has been Mika Häkkinen who won the F1 championship twice 1998-1999 and also raced in DTM between 2005 and 2007.

The Flying Finn by Ray Goldsbrough
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 Martin strikes again with this portrait of Nigel Mansell OBE walking, perhaps to the pits, or away from the race track, characteristiclly with his hand to his forehead.  Maybe hes planning his strategy for the day or is just plain frustrated.
A Hard Day at the Office by Martin Smith.
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 The Welsh Six Nations Grand Slam of 2005 is completed as Wales beat Ireland in their final game. <br>Results : Cardiff, 5th February : Wales 11 - 9 England<br>Rome, 12th February : Italy 8 - 38 Wales<br>Paris, 26th February : France 18 - 24 Wales<br>Edinburgh, 13th March : Scotland 22 - 46 Wales<br>Cardiff, 19th March : Wales 32 - 20 Ireland.

Grand Slam 2005 by James Owen. (Y)
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SC34. Throwing the Discus by Eduard Joseph Danton.

Throwing the Discus by Eduard Joseph Danton.
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 David Coulthard. McLaren Mercedes MP4/13
A Scottish Gentleman by Michael Thompson.
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 Carl Fogarty testing the new Foggy Petronas FP1 at Brands Hatch, 2003.
Back on Track by Dave Foord. (Y)
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 Rothmans Williams Renault FW18.  World Champion 1996.
Damon Hill by Michael Thompson.
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