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HMS Wheatland 

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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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 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. (GL)
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 Douglas C-47s of the 439th Troop Carrier Group, 94th Troop Carrier Squadron, approach the Drop Zone above Normandy on the night of 5th / 6th June 1944 at the start of Operation Overlord.

Drop Zone Ahead by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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Dambusters - The First Wave by Ivan Berryman.
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Night Raiders by Ivan Berryman. (B)
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DHM683.  Alouette III Helicopter of Rhodesian Fireforce 1979 by John Wynne Hopkins.

Alouette III Helicopter of Rhodesian Fireforce 1979 by John Wynne Hopkins.
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 Avro Lancaster AJ-P of Flt. Lt. Martin  617 Squadron releases the bomb that successfully breaches the Mohne dam. In the foreground the electrical substation is burning from a previous attack by Flt.Lt. Hopgood.

GONER 58A - Mohne Dam, Germany, 17th May 1943 by David Pentland. (P)
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 HMS Benbow was completed in 1914, built by Beardmore (launched 12th November 1913). On the 10th of December she joined the Grand Fleet serving with the 4th Battle squadron. She was the flagship to Admiral Douglas Gamble until he was replaced in February 1915 by Sir Doveton Sturdee. During  the Battle of Jutland. she suffered no damage. After the war she served from 1919 in the Mediterranean providing Gun fire support to the white Russians in the Black Sea until 1920. She remained in the Mediterranean until 1926 joining the Atlantic fleet for the next three years until 1929 when she was paid off and scrapped in March 1931.

HMS Benbow at the Battle of Jutland by Anthony Saunders. 
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 In the early morning murk of 24th May 1941, the forward 15in guns of HMS Hood fire the first shots against the mighty German battleship Bismarck. Both Bismarck and her escort, the Prinz Eugen, immediately responded, the latter causing a fierce fire on Hoods upper deck, while plunging shot from Bismarck penetrated deep into the British ships hull, causing an explosion that ripped the Hood apart, sinking her in an instant. Tragically, just three survivors were rescued from the water.

HMS Hood Opens Fire Upon the Bismarck by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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VAR347B. H.M.A.S. Wyhalla 1943 by Brian Wood.
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USS Maddox engaging North Vietnamese torpedo boats with 5-in gunfire, August 2nd, 1964, in the Gulf of Tonkin.

USS Maddox by Randall Wilson.
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To increase the strength of the US fleet in the Pacific during the critical early months of the war, USS Indiana went through the Panama Canal.  On the 28th of November 1942 USS Indiana joined Rear Admiral Lee's aircraft carrier screening force.  For the next 11 months, USS Indiana helped protect USS Enterprise and USS Saratoga, which had been supporting the US invasion on the Solomon Islands.  On the 21st of October 1943 USS Indiana went to Pearl Harbor, but after only a couple of weeks left to support forces designated for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.  The battleship protected the carriers which supported the Marines during the bloody fight for Tarawa atoll.  Then, in late January 1944, she bombarded Kwajalein for eight days prior to the  Marshall Island landings on 1st February 1944.  USS Indiana collided with the battleship USS Washington while refuelling destroyers, killing several men.  Temporary repairs to her starboard side were made at Majuro and USS Indiana returned to Pearl Harbor on 13th February 1944 for additional repair work.  The painting shows USS Indiana with one of the two carriers she protected.

USS Indiana, First Tour of Duty by Anthony Saunders (Y)
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HMS Medway by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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HMS Ark Royal by Ivan Berryman.
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Admiral Graf Spee by Ivan Berryman.
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 Study for the original painting Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.
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Thermopylae 480BC, Spartan and Thespaian Hoplites. By Chris Collingwood. (GL)
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Alexander at Arbela, Plain of Gaugamela, Iraq, 331BC by David Pentland. (P)
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Siege of Louisburg, Canada, July 1745 by David Rowlands (B)
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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. (Y)
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 1st Battalion in action at Escaut Canal, Belgium, May 1940. The last Highland Regiment to wear a kilt in battle, attacking the Germans at the River Escaut.  From the Diary of Captain R. Leah, 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders : Tuesday 21st May : Bn left Ere about 2 a.m. to march back. Fortunately Coy Cmdr. were required for some sort of recce and we went in C.O.s car.  Arrived Taintignies 3 a.m. and self went out again with Wilkie in C.O.s car to look for for C Coy which had gone astray, and to see Q.M. about Bn rations in Wez-Velvain.  Could not find either.  Met the Battalion arriving from Ere when I left the village at 3 a.m.  Got back myself at 4 a.m. found empty house which I entered by window and slept well for 5 hours. Officers mess going in house beside M.T. park, and had good breakfast.  Fairly quiet morning and orders to move this afternoon to Bn assembly position S of Wez-Velvain.  Thence we were directed to Merlin and prepared for counter-attack to drive enemy off Western side of Escaut.

The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders by David Rowlands (C)
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Saint Joan of Arc ca. 1412 – 30 May 1431.   In France  she is a national heroine and a catholic saint.  Joan of Arc was a peasant girl born in eastern France, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years War, claiming divine guidance, and was indirectly responsible for the coronation of Charles VII.  Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court, and burned at the stake when she was nineteen years old.

Joan of Arc by Sir John Gilbert.
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DHM953.  An Incident During the Peninsula War by Robert Hillingford.

An Incident During the Peninsula War by Robert Hillingford.
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SPC5006. Ryan Giggs by Keith Fearon.
Ryan Giggs by Keith Fearon.
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Jeremy Guscott by Robert Highton.
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 Jim Clark in his Lotus-Ford 38 winning in the record breaking 1965 Indianapolis 500 Mile Classic.

Jim Clark by Ray Goldsbrough.
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2003 Grand Slam by James Owen. (Y)
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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.
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England v South Africa - Investec 2002 by Doug Harker. (Y)
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Patrick Vieira by Gary Brandham. (Y)
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MT26. Juan for Williams by Michael Thompson.
Juan for Williams by Michael Thompson.
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