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With HMS Warspite keeping a watchful eye off her port bow, the Illustrious class carrier HMS Formidable prepares to recover a Fairey Albacore TB MK1 of No. 826 sqn. following a vital sortie against Italian shipping at the start of the Battle of Cape Matapan in march 1941. Led by Lt Cdr W G H Saunt DSC, Formidables Albacores launched torpedo attacks on the battleship Vittorio Veneto, seriously damaging her, despite coming under intense anti aircraft fire and a splash barrage of 15-inch shells.

HMS Formidable by Ivan Berryman (P)
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Captain Charles Vane was born in 1680, and was an English pirate who preyed upon English and French shipping.  Vane began piracy in 1716 and lasted 3 years. Vane captured a Barbados sloop and then a large 12-gun brigantine, which he renamed the Ranger.   Vane was among the pirate captains who operated out of the Bohama at the notorious base at New Providence after the colony had been abandoned by the British.  His pirate attacks made Captain Charles Vane well known to the Royal Navy and in February of 1718 Vincent Pearse, commander of HMS Phoenix cornered Vane on his ship the Lark.  Vane  had heard of the recent royal pardons that had been offered to pirates in exchange for a guarantee they would quit plundering, so Vane claimed he had actually been en route to surrender to Pearse and accepted the pardon on the spot,  Charle Vane gained his freedom but as soon as he was free of Pearse he ignored the pardon and resumed his pirate ways.  Charles Vane was again captured and in 1721 was executed by hanging at Gallows Point, Port Royal, Jamaica on March 29th 1721.

Captain Charles Vane by Chris Collingwood.
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HMS Ark Royal IV - Flagship of the Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers - a mobile airfield and a most impressive sight as she launches a Phantom from one of her catapults. She had a standard displacement of 43,000 tons, a beam of 168 feet, and was 846 feet long. Ships company numbered 2,570 and her Air Group consisted of Phantom Interceptors, Buccaneer strike and Gannet AEW aircraft together with Wessex SAR and Sea King ASW helicopters. She served her Nation and the Royal Navy for 23 years and sailed 800,000 miles of valuable service, finally being decommissioned in 1979.
Ark Royal by Philip West (AP)
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 Viewed from beneath the blistered guns of the damaged X and Y turrets of her sister HMS Ajax, Achilles come sunder fire from the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee during what was to become known as the Battle of the River Plate on the 13th December 1939. Shells from Achilles are closing on her opponent as the Graf Spee alters course at the start of the doomed battleships flight to Montevideo.

The Pursuit of the Graf Spee by Ivan Berryman.
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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 (P)
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 Type 21 frigate HMS Ambuscade (F172) is shown passing the swing bridge as she enters Taranto Harbour.

HMS Ambuscade by Ivan Berryman (P)
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B146.  HMS Jamaica by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Jamaica by Ivan Berryman.
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 The allied invasion of Normandy Operation Overlord was the greatest sea-bourne military operation in history. Key to its success and at the heart of the invasion were the Landings of the British 50th division on Gold beach and the Canadian 3rd Division on Juno beach. They provided a vital link between the landings of the British 3rd Division on Sword beach and the Americans on Omaha and Utah beaches. They were also crucial in securing the beachhead and the drive inland to Bayeux and Caen.
Glosters Return by David Griffin (Y)
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