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HMS Wheatland a Hunt Class Type II Escort Destroyer. Web page dedicated to HMS Wheatland and the history of the ship with a message board attached for naval enthusiasts. HMS Wheatland was built by Yarrow and was launched on 7th June 1941. 

A History of HMS Wheatland provided by Graham Overton

HMS Wheatland she was a type 2 Hunt class destroyer named after “The Wheatland Hunt” in Shropshire. She was built by Yarrow’s and completed 3rd November 1941. Robert joined the ship before completion, and he served on this vessel from 17th October 1941until 4th October 1942. On completion the Wheatland was allocated to Portsmouth Command and in December, attached temporarily to the Home Fleet, she took part in operation “Anklet”, the aim of which, was to land in the Lofoten Islands which are off the north-west coast of Norway, to cut the enemy lines of communication with northern Norway. All the landings were unopposed and German prisoners were taken.

The Wheatland returned to Portsmouth Command and served on patrols until March 1942 when she was allocated to the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. From that time until September she was chiefly employed escorting Russian convoys.

The following is a list of actions during the above period:

 Early in May 1942 the Wheatland left Scapa Flow (which is in the Orkney Islands in the far north of Scotland) for Iceland to escort the King George V, the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, she had been damaged in a collision on 1st May, while providing heavy cover for a pair of Russian convoys.

On 23rd May Wheatland left Iceland with the Duke of York, flagship of the Commander-in Chief, Home Fleet and a battlefleet that was to cruise northeast of Iceland ready to deal with the German battleship Tirpitz, in case she attacked convoys P.Q.16. (which left Hvalfiord on 21st May) and  the P.Q.12. (which left Murmansk, which is on the Barents Sea coast in the U.S.S.R. on the same day). The convoys were often sailed simultaneously, so that heavy cover could be provided for the Western half of the journey for both convoys. P.Q.16. was continuously shadowed by enemy aircraft and attacked by them for five consecutive days from 26th May. One merchant ship was sunk by a U-boat on the 26th; six were sunk by enemy bombers on the 27th, but the remaining twenty seven ships arrived safely on 30th May / 1st June. The homeward bound convoy (P.Q.12.) had an uneventful trip, arriving in Iceland intact on the 29th May. Wheatland and the battlefleet returned to Scapa Flow on 29th May.

At the end of June 1942 the Wheatland again left Scapa Flow with H.M.S. Duke of York, being one of fourteen destroyers escorting the battlefleet to provide distant cover for convoy P.Q.17. this convoy suffered severe losses. Of the thirty-three merchant ships that had cleared Iceland, only eleven completed the voyage. P.Q.17. was subjected to air and U-boat attacks and on the 4th July was ordered to scatter because intelligence had been received that the battleship Tirpitz and the cruiser Hipper were at sea. The convoy was too far eastwards to reverse its course and so could not safely reach battlefleet protection. The Wheatland arrived back in Scapa Flow on 8th July 1942.

The next pair of Russian convoys left Loch Ewe (which is in the north-west of Scotland to the north of Skye) on 2nd September 1942 and Archangel (which is on the White Sea coast in north-west U.S.S.R.) on the 13th. This convoy had a new “escort” aircraft carrier, H.M.S. Avenger and a force of sixteen Fleet destroyers led by the cruiser H.M.S. Scylla, this was in addition to the permanent escort. The Wheatland and a sister ship H.M.S. Wilton escorted the Avenger.

 German surface ships made no attempts on the convoys’ outward journey, but torpedo-bombers sank ten of the forty ships, three others were sunk by U-boats, most of the damage being done on the 13th September, (it is unlucky!). About sixty-five aircraft were used in the attacks and thirteen were destroyed by ships fire. Next day about fifty torpedo-aircraft were employed of which twenty were destroyed, five by fighters from the Avenger. The returning convoy lost three of its fifteen merchant ships, two escorts and a Royal Fleet auxiliary to U-boat attacks. It wasn’t all one-sided; we managed to definitely sink three U-boats, U589 on the 12th September, U88 on the14th and U457 on the 16th.

 The Wheatland received battle honours for “The Arctic 1942”, she went on to gain battle honours in North Africa 1942-43, Sicily 1943, Mediterranean 1943, Salerno 1943, Adriatic 1944. This vessel certainly saw a lot of action, but Robert was only involved in the Arctic battles.

 

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Click above to see all of our aviation art index - Eight random half price aviation items are displayed to the right.

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On 11th September 1944, Urban <i>Ben</i> Drew claimed his third aerial victory claiming another Me109 in his P-51 Mustang.

Urban 'Ben' Drew - Aerial Hat-Trick by Brian Bateman. (P)
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 Britain's highest scoring Typhoon ace, Wing Commander J R Baldwin sweeps above Utah Beach on a sortie in support of the Allied forces' drive into mainland Europe following D-Day in June 1944.  He is shown flying one of his personal aircraft, Typhoon 1b MN935 'JBII'.

Wing Commander J R Baldwin by Ivan Berryman.
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Major Albert Carter by Ivan Berryman. (GL)
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Mosquito Attack by Graeme Lothian. (Y)
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 Nine O Nine awaits her next mission over occupied Europe. Part of the 91st Bomb Group, 323rd Squadron, this B-17 went on to complete a record mission tally of 140 without an abort or loss of a single crew member. She started operations in February 1944. By April 1945 Nine O Nine had flown an extraordinary 1,129 hours. This aircraft and crew represented just one of many who fought in war-torn skies for the freedom we now enjoy.

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The Night They Broke the Dams - Operation Chastise by Ivan Berryman.
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 Major Hans-Ekkehard Bob is shown claiming his 5th victory – a Blenheim – 60km west of Rotterdam on 26th June 1940.  Bob went on to serve with JG.54, JG.51, JG.3, EJG2.2 and JV.44, scoring a total of 60 confirmed victories in the course of his Luftwaffe service.  The Blenheim claimed as his 5th victory is likely to have been R3776 of No.110 Squadron, which was the only Blenheim recorded to have been lost participating in Operation Soest on that day - while another returned to base damaged and crash landed.  The three crew of the Blenheim were all missing in action - P/O Cyril Ray Worboys, Sgt Gerald Patterson Gainsford and Sgt Kenneth Cooper.

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Guardian Angel by Anthony Saunders.
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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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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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 HMS Norfolk and HMS Belfast of Force I are shown engaging the Scharnhorst which has already been hit and disabled by both HMS Duke of York and the cruiser HMS Jamaica.  Scharnhorst was never to escape the clutches of the British and Norwegian forces for, having been slowed to just a few knots by numerous hits, fell victim to repeated torpedo attacks by the allied cruisers and destroyers that had trapped the German marauder.

HMS Norfolk at the Battle of the North Cape by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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B219AP.  Deutschland Passing Through the Kiel Canal by Ivan Berryman.

Deutschland Passing Through the Kiel Canal by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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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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 Admiral von Spees Flagship SMS Scharnhorst leads SMS Gneisenau in the opening stages of engaging the Royal Naval ships east of the Falklands, 8th December 1914.

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USS Oakland Escorting the Damaged USS Lexington by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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HMS Anson at Sydney Harbour, July 1945 by Ivan Berryman.
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The Battle of Marathon 490 BC during the Persian Greek Wars. King Darious I of Persia sent his son in law Mardonius to invade Greece in 492 BC.  The Persian Forces conquered Thrace and Macedonia before their fleet was devastated by a storm. Mardonia was forced to return to Asia.  A second Persian invasion force crossed the Aegean sea. After conquering Eretria, the Persian Army under Datis (15,000 strong) landed near Marathon.  (Marathon is 24 miles northeast of Athens.) General Miltiades, general in the Greek army gathered a force of 10,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plataean citizen Soldiers.

Battle of Marathon by Brian Palmer (P)
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 Acting Assistant Commissary J.L. Dalton commissariat and transport department and colour sergeant F. Bourne, during the battle at the front wall about 6pm at Rorkes Drift. Frank Bourne was born  on the 27th April 1854  in Balcombe Sussex, when Bourne was 18 he joined the 24th Regiment in 1872, being promoted to Corporal in 1875 and Sergeant in 1878.  Sergeant Bourne was promoted to Colour Sergeant soon after the rgeiment arrived in Natal.  Colour Sgt bourne was part of B company whose job was to guard the hospital at Rorkes Drift.  Colour Sgt Bourne played a major role in keeping the defending troops effective.  Colour Sgt Bourne was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his role in the defence, and it is surprising that he was not awarded a Victoria Cross as 11 were awarded for the defence. Col Sgt Bourne retired form the army in 1907, but  joined again for WW1, serving in Dublin.  He was the last survivor of Rorkes Drift, passing away at the age of 91 on the 8th May 1945 by coincidence being VE day.

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The Storm and the Sabre by Simon Smith. (P)
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 Blackbeard the Terrible, otherwise known as Edward Teach, Thatch or Drummond. Circa 1718.

Damnation Seize My Soul by Chris Collingwood. (Y)
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Operation Dynamo, Dunkirk, France 24th May - 4th June 1940 by David Pentland. (Y)
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 A Provisional IRA bomb left outside the Unionist Party Headquarters, exploded prematurely injuring several police, army and civilians. At the same time it devastated the recently repaired Grand Opera House and Europa Hotel.

Business as Usual, Glengall St, Belfast, December 1991 by David Pentland.
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 Displaying the captured standards from the Battles of Austerlitz and Ulm through the streets of Paris.
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 McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth.  World Champion 1976.
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Matt le Tissier by Gary Brandham. (Y)
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Jenson Button 2004 BAR 006 by Ivan Berryman.
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Rory Underwood by Rodger Towers.
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Dawn Run by Peter Deighan.
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