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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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Depicting Dauntless and Devastator attacking the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi during the Battle of Midway.

Midway - The Setting Sun by Ivan Berryman.
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 Routine, though essential, maintenance is carried out on a 501 Sqn Hurricane at the height of the Battle of Britain during the Summer of 1940.   Hurricane P3059 <i>SD-N</i> in the background is the aircraft of Group Captain Byron Duckenfield.

Ground Force by Ivan Berryman. (C)
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On an RAF airfield in the early evening, a squadron of Lancaster bombers of Bomber Command prepare for another bombing sortie against targets of the German war machine.  A fitting tribute to all Bomber Command aircrew who flew in the Avro Lancatser.

Distant Dispersal by Graeme Lothian. (E)
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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.
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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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 British Midlands 737 (300 series) en route from London to Belfast. 1993.

Boeing 737 by David Pentland.
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 This was the moment when the massive Möhne dam was finally breached on the night of 16th-17th May 1943 during the top secret Operation Chastise. The specially-converted Lancaster B MkIII of Fl/Lt David Maltby ED906(G) AJ-J roars between the towers of the dam, having released the Upkeep bouncing bomb that would ultimately cause a cascade of water to flood into the valley below. Fl/Lt Harold Martin's identical aircraft, ED909(G) AJ-P can be seen off Maltby's port wing with all of its light ablaze, drawing enemy fire from the attacking bomber.

Dambusters - Moment of Truth by Ivan Berryman.
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 Westland Wessex of No.72 Squadron based at RAF Aldergrove, flying over the Copeland Islands in Belfast Lough.

Wessex Over the Copelands by David Pentland.
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NAVAL PRINTS

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 The submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone is pictured off Hong Kong with a quintet of British submarines alongside for replenishment, namely (left to right) an S-class, a U-class, a T-class and two more U-class.

HMS Maidstone by Ivan Berryman
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 HMS Intrepid embarks some of her landing craft during the Falklands conflict of 1982.
HMS Intrepid by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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B103AP.  HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Warspite departing Malta by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Warspite departing Malta by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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HMS Glowworm, burning severely after receiving hits from the mighty Admiral Hipper, is depicted turning to begin her heroic sacrifice off the Norwegian coast on 8th April 1940. Hugely out-gunned and already crippled, Glowworms captain, Lieutenant-Commander Roope rammed his destroyer into the side of the Admiral Hipper, inflicting a 40 metre rip in its armour belt before drifting away and exploding. 38 British sailors were rescued from the sea and Roope was awarded a posthumous VC for his bravery, the first earned by the Royal Navy in WWII.

The Attack on the Admiral Hipper by HMS Glowworm by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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B64AP.  HMS Centaur Departing Devonport by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Centaur Departing Devonport by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Between 24th may and 4th June 1940 an extraordinary armada of craft, large and small, naval and civilian, embarked on one of the greatest rescue missions in history. the evacuation of 330,000 British and French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. the destroyer HMS Wakeful dominates the foreground here as troops pour onto the beaches and harbour moles in search of salvation. Both Wakeful and distant HMS Grafton were lost during the evacuation.

Dunkirk by Ivan Berryman.
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 The key to Nelsons victories always lay in his meticulous planning and the Battle of Copenghagen was no exception as he used his fleet to first destroy the Danish floating defences so that his bomb vessels could be brought up to bombard the city itself. The Danes eventually capitulated, but they had fought hard and over 2,000 men had died on both sides before the end of the battle. In this view, HMS Elephant, carrying the flag of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, dominates the scene as the battle gathers intensity. British ships depicted, left to right, are the Glatton (54), Elephant (74), Ganges (74) and Monarch (74)

The Battle of Copenhagen, 2nd April 1801 by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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HMS Glowworm, burning severely after receiving hits from the mighty Admiral Hipper, is depicted turning to begin her heroic sacrifice off the Norwegian coast on 8th April 1940. Hugely out-gunned and already crippled, Glowworms captain, Lieutenant-Commander Roope rammed his destroyer into the side of the Admiral Hipper, inflicting a 40 metre rip in its armour belt before drifting away and exploding. 38 British sailors were rescued from the sea and Roope was awarded a posthumous VC for his bravery, the first earned by the Royal Navy in WWII.

HMS Glowworms Attack on the Admiral Hipper by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Depicting one of the nighttime Zulu attacks on Rorkes Drift. The South Wales Borderers defend the outpost by the light of the burning hospital building.

Night of the Zulu by Bud Bradshaw. (Y)
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 Camerons and Stuarts attack the centre and flank of Barrells Regiment (4th Foot) at the Battle of Culloden.

Broadsword Charge on Brown Bess by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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 Depicting the Ox and Bucks during close quarter combat amongst the forest area around Ypres. 1914.

Defeat of the Prussian Guard at Ypres, 1914, by the 2nd Battalion Ox and Bucks (52nd) by William Barnes Wollen. (Y)
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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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 M3 Lee tanks and troops from General Slims 14th Army clear Japanese resistance form the village of Ywathitgyi in their drive to Mandalay.

Road to Mandalay, Burma, February 1945 by David Pentland. (Y)
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The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on a calm, almost windless day, on 21st October 1805.  Nelsons revolutionary battle plan was to cut apart the larger Franco-Spanish fleet of Vice-Admiral Villeneuve by sailing in two single column divisions directly at right angles into the combined fleet and thus rendering almost half of the leading ships useless until the could turn and join the fight, which in such calm conditions could take hours.  The battle raged for five hours in which time not one British ship was lost, however, Nelson would tragically lose his life at the very moment of his triumph, a triumph which rendered the British Navy unchallenged in supremacy for over a century.  Here HMS Mars passes between the French ship Belleisle on her starboard and the French ship Fougeux on her port, firing a murderous hail of gunfire at both ships.  Also shown in the painting on the left hand side is the Spanish ship Monarco and the French ship Pluton.

The Battle of Trafalgar - Mars Breaks the Line by Anthony Saunders. (AP)
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At 12.30pm on the 21st of October 1805, Admiral Lord Nelson on board his flagship, HMS Victory, breaks the line of the combined French and Spanish fleets.  The Victory is delivering a devastating stern rake to the 80 gun French ship Bucentaure, the flagship of the combined fleets, commanded by Vice-Admiral P. C. J. B. S. Villeneuve.  Starboard to the Victory is the 74 gun Redoutable.  This ship, the Victory and HMS Temeraire, seen left, became locked together soon after, the unequal exchange resulting in the Redoutable having the highest casualties during the entire battle.

Breaking the Line at the Battle of Trafalgar by Graeme Lothian
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 A Tiger (P) Ferdinand, 7th Company, 654th Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung passes a knocked out Soviet Su122 on the German advance towards the village of Ponyri.  The fighting around this small agricultural settlement was some of the most savage of the entire battle.

The Battle for Ponyri Station, Kursk, 9th July 1943 by David Pentland.
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 Eddie Irvine.  Jaguar-Cosworth 2002
Green Giant by Michael Thompson.
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 Schumacher and Ferrari, the winning team.

Sea of Red by David Evans
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Throwing the Discus by Eduard Joseph Danton.
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This montage shows Trigger winning the Goodwood Cup in 1995, 1997 and 1998.

Double Trigger by Stephen Smith.
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Jason Leonard by Robert Highton. (Y)
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 A celebration of Nigel Mansells success in winning the Formula 1 World Championship and the Indy Car Championship in successive years. A celebration of the magnificent talents of Nigel Mansell. He made his debut in Formula 1 in 1981 and his superb driving technique made an instant impact. He recorded victory after victory coming agonisingly close to being world champion many times before gaining his well deserved Formula 1 title in 1992. The following year he recorded an unprecedented double, gaining the Indy Car championship in 1993. A feat that reserves his name quite rightly in the record books.
Mansell by Peter Deighan.
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 Marcus Gronholm.  Peugeot 206 WRC.
Reflections of a Champion by Michael Thompson.
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 Michael Schumacher wins again!

From Pole to Flag by Graham Bosworth
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