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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

 Sopwith Camel with 65 Squadron, on routine patrol, meet head-on with the unmistakable Albatross fighters of the German air force.

The Sky Warriors by Anthony Saunders. (Y)
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It was during the inter-war period that a reawakening interest in twin engined fighter design prompted several countries to investigate a number of revolutionary concepts, of these only the Lockheeds sleek and unconventional P.38 was to be put into large scale production, proving to be a versatile and dominant fighter possessed of extremely long range, good speed and manoeuverability and a formidable armament. When production ceased in 1945, 9,923 examples of the P38 Lightning had been delivered.

Fork Tailed Devil (Lightning) by Ivan Berryman
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 A Mosquito Mk.BIX above the clouds in late 1943. Mosquito B.IX LR503 holds the record for the most combat missions flown by a single Allied bomber in the Second World War, serving 213 sorties.

A De Havilland Beauty by Ivan Berryman. (C)
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 Designed by the great Ernst Heinkel, the diminutive D.1 was an essential stop-gap that provided the Austro-Hungarian pilots with a front line fighter until they were able to re-equip with Albatros scouts in the Summer of 1917. This little aircraft performed well and was generally held in high regard by its pilots, although it did have some shortcomings, namely that forward vision was extremely limited and the Schwarzloses gun was completely concealed in the overwing pod that made it inaccessible in the air. Most unusual of all was its interplane strut arrangement, designed to reduce drag, which gave it the nicknames Starstrutter or Spider. These examples are shown passing above the German cruiser Derfflinger. 

Brandenburg D.1 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. (P)
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 The highest scoring US pilot of the Second World War, Richard Bong, is depicted in his personal P.38J <i>Marge</i>, claiming just one of his 40 confirmed victories. Insisting that he was not the greatest of marksmen, it was Bongs habit to manoeuvre to impossibly close distances before opening fire on his opponents. His eventual total may well have been greater than 40, as a further 8 probables could be attributed to him, together with 7 damaged. He was killed whilst testing a P.80 jet for the USAF in August 1945.

Richard Bong by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 Harrier GR3s of No. 1 squadron in a secluded hide following a field exercise. The unique vertical take off capabilities of the Harrier allow front-line squadrons to deploy from dispersed sites.

GR3 Field Trip by Stuart Brown. (Y)
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 Returning from a dogfight raid over Germany, B-24s of 93rd Bomb Group fly low over an East Anglian fishing village on Britains east coast.
Safe Haven by Nicolas Trudgian. (Y)
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NAVAL PRINTS

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 Royal Fleet Auxiliary Olna prepares to receive HMS Active (F171) during the Falklands campaign of 1982.  HMS Coventry (D118) is in the background
RFA Olna by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Besstrashniy (meaning Fearless) 434 heavy rocket ASW Destroyer is shown swinging to the port side of Pyotr Velikiy (meaning Peter the Great) a Kirov Class Cruiser as they clear a path for the carrier Minsk.

Arctic Waters by Randall Wilson. (AP)
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B114.  HMS Carmania sinking the German armed liner SS Cap Trafalgar off Ilha da Trindade, South Atlantic. 14th September 1914.  By Ivan Berryman.
HMS Carmania sinking the German armed liner SS Cap Trafalgar off Ilha da Trindade, South Atlantic. 14th September 1914. By Ivan Berryman.
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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 (AP)
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February 1942 and Viz. Admiral Ciliaxs mighty Scharnhorst leads her sister Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen up the English Channel during Operation Cerberus, their daring breakout from the port of Brest on the French Atlantic coast to the relative safety of Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuttel. All three ships survived what became known as the Channel Dash, not without damage, but the operation proved a huge propaganda success for Germany and a crushing embarrassment for the British. A number of torpedo boats are in attendance, including Kondor and Falke and the Z class destroyer Friedrich Ihn in the distance.

Operation Cerberus, Channel Dash by Ivan Berryman.
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 Late October 1942 in the waters east of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Santa Cruz saw the sinking of the US carrier Hornet, in what proved to be the last major carrier battle of the South Pacific theatre.

USS Hornet, Eye of the Storm by Anthony Saunders
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The nuclear-powered submarine HMS Repulse (S23) manoeuvres in preparation to berth at HMS Dolphin in Portsmouth harbour in the late 1970s.

HMS Dolphin by Ivan Berryman.
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Swordfish of 825 Sqn led by Lt-Cdr Esmonde begin their heroic attack on the battlescruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen as they make their way up the English Channel from Brest during Operation Cerberus on 12th February 1942.  Although all the aircraft were lost and no significant damage was done to the German fleet, all the pilots were decorated for their bravery and Lt-Cdr Esmonde received the first Fleet Air Arm VC to be awarded, albeit posthumously.  The painting depicts the first wave of Swordfish attacking the Scharnhorst with Gneisenau taking avoiding action in the distance.  A German torpedo boat has turned to confront the attacking aircraft.

Attack on the Scharnhorst by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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MILITARY PRINTS

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 Tanks of the Queens Royal Irish Hussars in action during the Gulf War, February 1991.

Challenger by Simon Smith.
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 AH-1 Whiskey Cobras of the US marine Corps in Action, Kuwait, February 1991.

Cobra Attack by David Rowlands. (Y)
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 With Fixed Bayonets soldiers of 2nd battalion Scots Guards clear enemy positions of 5th Argentine Marine Battalion on the slopes of Tumbledown

Battle for Tumbledown by Mark Churms. (P)
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 Cheux, Normandy, 25th June 1944.  Royal Armoured Corps Recce troops of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division set up a temporary observation post to locate 12th SS Panzer Division positions, prior to Operation Epsom.  The 15th Division comprised of 9th Cameronians, 2nd Glasgow Highlanders, 7th Seaforth Highlanders, 8th Royal Scots, 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers, 6th King's Own Scottish Borderers, 10th Highland Light Infantry, 2nd Gordon Highlanders and the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Enemy in Sight by David Pentland. (P)
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 3rd Battle of Ypres, 31st July 1917.

Sgt. Robert Bye VC, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards near Langemarck by David Rowlands (GL)
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 Study for the original painting March Past of the Grenadier Guards.
2nd Life Guards Band 1829 by Mark Churms. (P)
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 Study for the original painting Charge and Pursue.
Officer of the Queens Bays, Lucknow 1857 by Mark Churms. (P)
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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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SPORT PRINTS

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Jason Leonard by Robert Highton. (Y)
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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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 Jimmys total of 516 league appearances produced an amazing 357 goals.

Greavsie by Gary Keane.
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 Following the success of several French imports to Highbury, Arsene Wenger again turned to his home country in search of another midfield maestro.  Robert Pires was duly signed from Marseille in July 2000 in a £6 million deal.  Robert Pires has adjusted quickly to the English game.  Pires and his love affair with English football comes from the intensity of the game teamed with the passion from the Highbury fans.  On describing the fans' reaction when he scores, he said, <i>It's an unbelievablesensation to be standing on the pitch when the whole crowd erupts.</i>  For a man who played in a European championship final, and who won the World Cup, these words must sound sweet to the Highbury faithful.  Robert Pires received the recognition his talent deserved on winning the Football Writer's Player of the Year Award in the 2001/02 season.

Robert Pires by Gary Brandham.
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 Marlboro McLaren Mercedes MP4/11. 1996.
David Coulthard by Michael Thompson.
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 Ally McCoist of Glasgow Rangers and Scotland.  Produced to celebrate Scotlands most prolific goalscorer.  Super Ally became nothing short of a legend during his tenure with Glasgow Rangers of the Premier League.  It was not until Graeme Sounes took over as player manager of Rangers that McCoist really hit his stride and began to excel himself as the most prodigious goalscorer in the history of Scottish football.  Allys unprecedented career includes over 300 league goals for Rangers helping the club to 9 titles in a row, a Scottish Cup Winners medal, 2 UEFA Golden Boot awards, Scottish player of the year 91/92 and 61 Caps for his country resulting in 19 international goals.  Ally became one of Glasgow Rangers and Scotlands all time football heroes, and is now part of the Rangers coaching staff under Walter Smith.

Ally McCoist MBE by Scott Bridges.
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 Valentino Rossi on his way to a seventh Moto GP World Championship in the 2009 season on his Yamaha, scoring thirteen podium finishes, including six race wins, leaving him 45 points clear of his nearest rival.

Valentino Rossi by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 The legendary Welsh rugby union captain Gareth Edwards is brought to life in the triple portrait. Gareth Edwards is revered in Wales and considered one of the finest players ever. in part of the montage he is shown going over for a try against England.
Gareth Edwards by Darren Baker. (AP)
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