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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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 During the years of the German occupation of Holland in World War II, more than 20,000 Dutch civilians perished through starvation and lack of basic provisions. Operation Manna was set in motion on Sunday, 29th April 1945 when Lancasters of the Royal Air Force began the first of 2,835 sorties, dropping 6,672 tons of food, to relieve the crisis in the Netherlands.  These humanitarian missions continued until 8th May, saving many thousands of civilians from certain death by starvation and malnutrition.  Here, Lancaster 4K765, LS-Z of 15 Sqn piloted by Flying Officer Jack Darlow, releases its precious cargo over a sports field north of The Hague.  Also in the crew was Alistair Lamb the Rear Gunner.

Operation Manna by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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A pair of RAF Tornado GRIs at low level during the Gulf War operation Desert Storm, in their distinctive desert pink camouflage colour scheme.
Pink Tornados by Geoff Lea.
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 One of the most notable pilots of 3 Squadron was the Frenchman Pierre Clostermann who enjoyed much success flying Spitfires with the Free French 341 <i>Alsace</i> Squadron before moving to 602 and 274 Squadrons RAF.  Once on the strength of 3 Squadron, however, he quickly got to grips with the mighty Hawker Tempest V in which he downed two Focke-Wulf Fw.190D-9s on 20th April 1945, just two of the confirmed 12 aircraft destroyed whilst flying the Tempest, plus 6 shared and two probables.  He is shown here flying Tempest V NV724, bearing the legend <i>Le Grand Charles</i> and the Squadron badge on the tailfin.

Tribute to Flt Lt Pierre Clostermann by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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Major John Gilmour by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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 Tribute to the ground crew of Bomber Command. Ground crew inspect and prepare the engines of a Stirling bomber as it is refuelled in preparation for that nights mission.

Stirling Work by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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B102.  Amy Johnson by Ivan Berryman.
Amy Johnson by Ivan Berryman.
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1st June 1940 - <i>Pete</i> Peters fights off an overwhelming attack over Dunkirk and destroys three fighters.  Anson MKV flown by pilot officer Phillip Peters was leading a patrol of three Ansons of No.500 Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadron over Dunkirk at the time the British Expeditionary Force was evacuating from the beaches.  He was flying at around 50ft when his mid upper gunner reported that nine Bf109s were attacking. Dropping to wave-top height the slow obsolescent twin engined aircraft tried to shake off their pursuers.  Two planes were severely damaged and Peters sent them home, leaving his own aircraft at the mercy of the enemy fighters.  It was at this point that Peters was grateful for his 'secret weapons'.  In addition to the Anson's nose gun and mid upper turret, guns had been fitted projecting out of the sides of the aircraft's long 'greenhouse' cabin. The extra guns were manned by the co-pilot and wireless operator. By throttling back and executing a number of skid turns Peters was able to out manoeuvre the enemy and allow his crew to fire on the attackers.  The first Bf109 was finished off with the nose gun as it did a stall turn in front off the aircraft. The second was shot down into the sea.  A third attacker sustained heavy damage and turned tail with the other pursuers.  Peters set course for Detling.  The news of the battle went on ahead of his arrival and he was greeted by applause and cheering of the squadron personnel.  When the aircraft was inspected, only one bullet hole was found. It wasn't until later when he had his parachute repacked that another armour piercing bullet was found lodged in the silk.  For the attack and morale boosting effect for the rest of the squadron, Peters was awarded the DFC.  The remaining crew, Sergeant Spencer, Corporal Smith, Leading Aircraftsman Dillnutt and Leading Aircraftsman Cunningham all received the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Improbable Victory by Tim Fisher (P)
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 In the early evening of the 18th of July 1941, following coastguard reports of an enemy aircraft in their vicinity, two Hurricanes of 87 Sqn  on detachment at the Airfield at St Mary's, Scilly Isles were scrambled  to an area some 30 miles south west of the Scilly Isles where they intercepted a lone Heinkel He111.  Alex Thom was the first to attack, his windscreen being sprayed with oil as his rounds tore into the Heinkel's starboard engine.  Breaking away, his wingman F/O Roscoe now took over the chase, but the German bomber was already mortally wounded and was observed to alight onto the sea where upon the crew immediately took to their life raft as the Heinkel began to sink beneath the waves just minutes later, Thom circled overhead until he saw the motor launch arrive to pick up the German aircrew before returning back to St Mary's.

An Early Bath by Ivan Berryman. (B)
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 The destroyer HMS Kelly passes close to the old carrier HMS Eagle as she escorts a convoy in the Mediterranean early in 1941.

HMS Kelly by Ivan Berryman.
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 Launched on Trafalgar Day, 1960, HMS Dreadnought was the Royal Navy's first nuclear powered submarine, entering service in 1963.  She is depicted here in the Firth of Forth with the iconic Forth Bridge in the background in December 1963 when she was docked at Rosyth for re-coating of her hull and a general examination.

HMS Dreadnought S101 by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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HMS Prince of Wales is shown firing on the Bismarck and in the background a huge black cloud is all that is left of HMS Hood.

HMS Prince of Wales by Brian Wood. (B)
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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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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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B63AP.  HMS Malaya at Capetown by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Malaya at Capetown by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Lieutenant of the Royal Navy commands marines and crew during a sea battle with the French during the battle of Cape St Vincent.

In the Thick of Battle by Chris Collingwood.
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 A pair of 272 Squadron Bristol Beaufighters roar over the extensively rebuilt battleship HMS Valiant as she lies at anchor at Alexandria late in 1941, accompanied by the cruiser HMS Phoebe and Valiants sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth (in the extreme distance)

HMS Valiant and HMS Phoebe at Alexandria, 1941 by Ivan Berryman (Y)
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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. (AP)
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 Hauptsturm fuhrer Fritz Klingenberg, and the men of 2nd SS Divisions Motorcycle Reconnaissance battalion stop at the swollen banks of the River Danube. The following day he and six men, a broken down radio, and totally unsupported were to capture the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade.

The Magician, Balkans, 11th April 1941 by David Pentland. (Y)
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 Hannibal had invaded Italy by taking his army including war elephants across the mountains and into northern Italy. He defeated the Romans in three major battles including Cannae, but he did not take Rome when he had the chance.  Once Rome had strengthened its forces, the Romans invaded Carthage. The second Punic War between Rome and Carthage was brought to a conclusion on the plains of Zama (modern Tunisia) with the Romans inflicting a crushing defeat on the army of Hannibal.

Battle of Zama by Brian Palmer. (Y)
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 Battle of Hydaspes. Porus had a very large army which included 200 war elephants. The battle saw a charge by the elephants, against the Macedonian forces, which began to look successful. Seeing this, Porus Cavalry charged, against Alexanders cavalry (in this period it was very unusual to have cavalry contact) The elephant charge began to falter and the battle edged towards victory for Alexander. Due to his admiration of Porus as a leader, Alexander granted him honourable terms and built an alliance with him. His army was not so fortunate, with 3,000 cavalry lost and 20,000 infantry killed.

Defeat of Porus by Alexander the Great 326BC by Francois Louis Joseph Watteau. (Y)
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 British military manoeuvres with the Duke of Cambridge watching the advance of a highland regiment.
Manoeuvres at Aldershot by Edouard Detaille. (Y)
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English soldiers search a blacksmiths hunting for highlanders who fled from after the battle of Culloden.
After Culloden, Rebel Hunting by J.S. Lucas.
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 Depicting members of the 9th Regiment of Hussars 1806.

Point of the Advance Guard (Title in French) by Edouard Detaille (Y)
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MARK5. Original Oil Study of Officer Skinners Horse painting by Mark Churms.
Original Oil Study of Officer Skinners Horse painting by Mark Churms. (P)
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Heroes of Goodison Park by Doug Harker. (Y)
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 Rothmans Williams Renault FW18.  World Champion 1996.
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 Michael Schumacher wins again!

From Pole to Flag by Graham Bosworth
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Florida Pearl by Stephen 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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Celebrating Sir Alexs magnificent orchestration of Manchester Uniteds historic treble cup success of 1999.

Sir Alex Ferguson by Darren Baker.
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MC0042P. Tomahawk by Mark Churms.

Tomahawk by Mark Churms. (P)
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Neil Lennon by Gary Brandham.
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