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Old 16-09-2011, 19:26
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Default The Battle of Trafalgar: After The Battle

After the Battle

In the first of this series of threads about the Battle of Trafalgar (Engage the Enemy), we had reached the point where the battle was over; Dumanoir’s counter attack had been thwarted. Nelson was dead - covered in the second thread (Death of Nelson), and the scene around Cape Trafalgar at 6.00 p.m. on the 21st of October, carnage.

This third thread in the series seeks to describe events after the battle

Monday 21st October 1805

Storm Brewing

After fighting had ceased, Captain Hardy was rowed across to HMS Royal Sovereign to let Collingwood know of Nelson’s death, and of his last order to anchor the ships immediately after battle was over; Nelson had forseen the likelihood of strengthening onshore winds and the difficulty damaged ships may have in manoeuvring out to sea.

Collingwood did not immediately grasp the significance of this order, naturally upset by the news of Nelson’s death, and probably very fatigued and maybe in pain from a leg wound he had received during fighting. Deciding there was no immediate danger Collingwood, instead, went about trying to regain some order to the fleet. Effecting emergency repairs, and putting prize crews on the captured ships. There were an estimated 20,000 prisoners huddled throughout the hulks.

Numbers and ship names regarding the situation in the late afternoon of the battle, seem to vary from account to account, but it appears that out of the Combined Enemy’s 33 ships, 17 had been taken as prizes - Bucentaure, Algeciras, Swiftsure, Intrepide, Aigle, Berwick, Achille, Redoubtable, Fougueux ( French), and, Santissima Trinidad, Santa Anna, Argonauta, Bahama, San Augustino, San Ildefonso, San Juan de Nepomuceno, and Monarca (Spanish).

The rest of the French and Spanish ships were attempting to escape; Dumanoir in Formidable, with Scipion, Mont Blanc, Duguay Trouin and Neptuno; Gravina in Principe de Asturias. along with Rayo, Heros, Neptune, San Leandro, San Justo, Pluton, Montanez, Argonaute, Indomptable, and San Francisco de Asisi

At 6.15 p.m., now in command of the Fleet, Collingwood transferred to HMS Euraylus - Royal Sovereign having no mast from which to hoist signals. He ordered all the disabled ships to be taken in tow.

With relatively light wind blowing onshore at this time, the only choice of course was to sail North West towards Cadiz, or South East to Cape Trafalgar, travelling as far as possible before being blown too near the shallows during the storm that was brewing. The dreaded shoals of Trafalgar were barely eight miles off dead to leeward.

It was not until 9.00 p.m. as the wind began to rise, and the swell deepen, that Collingwood realised the wisdom of Nelson’s last order. But it was too late. In any event, many of the ships, particularly those that had been raked, had had their anchors, cables and catheads shot away.

Some three or four of the prizes, however, did anchor and safely to weather the gale. The wind now rapidly freshened, and it became evident that in spite of all exertions many of the prizes were in grave danger of being lost.

Collingwood decided to try and make the safe haven of Cape Trafalgar, and then on to Gibraltar, the wind having changed direction so that it was coming more directly from the West. However, by midnight, with ever increasing winds that were changing direction again, and, as they were getting closer and closer to the shore and in shallow waters, Collingwood was forced to order the bedraggled convoy to drop anchor.
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Old 16-09-2011, 19:30
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

Tuesday 22nd October 1805

First Losses

HMS Phoebe had taken the French Fougueux in tow; but around midnight of the 21st, when the wind shifted to the south-west and began to blow a gale, she broke adrift. As the morning of the 22nd came on, it blew harder still, and in spite of every effort by Phoebe, during the earlier part of the day, to get hold of the prize again, Fougueux was driven ashore and was beaten to pieces on the rocks. Almost all on board were lost with the ship, including thirty of the prize crew from HMS Temeraire.

Pierre Servaux, the master-at-arms of Fougueux, says this of the dreadful state of affairs on board during the night of the 21st, after the ship had broken away from HMS Phoebe:

"The ship was in a terrible condition, cut down to a hulk, without masts, sails, or rigging left. She was, too, without a boat that could swim, while the whole vessel was as full of holes as a sieve, shattered from stem to stern, and with two enormous gaps forced in on the starboard side at the water line, through which the sea poured in a stream. The water had risen almost to the orlop deck. Everywhere one heard the cries of the wounded and the dying, as well as the noise and shouts of insubordinate men who refused to man the pumps and only thought of themselves. The
scenes of horror on board the ship that night were really the most awful and fearful that imagination can call up."

Servaux himself escaped in the morning of the 22nd as Fougueux was nearing the rocks. When the water in the hold had reached the lower deck and matters were desperate, he jumped into the sea from one of the lower-deck ports and swam to a boat from HMS Orion, that was not far off.

The French prize Redoutable was in tow of HMS Swiftsure, and Swiiftsure’s log describes the unfolding events during the night of the 22nd:

"At 5, the prize made the signal of distress to us. Hove to, and out boats, and brought the prize officer and his people on board, and a great many of the prisoners. At a quarter past, the boats returned the last time with very few in them, the weather so bad and sea running high that rendered it impossible for the boat to pass. Got in the boats. At a quarter past 10, the Redoutable sunk by the stern. Cut the tow, and lost two cables of eight and a half inch, and a cable of five inches, with the prize."

There is also a shocking account of the last hours of Redoubtable in letter that Midshipman G. A. Barker, from Swiftsure, sent home:

"On the 22nd it came on a most Violent Gale of wind, the Prize in Tow seem'd to weather it out tolarable well notwithstanding her shatter'd state until about three in the afternoon, when from her rolling so violently in a heavy sea, she carried away her fore Mast, the only mast she had standing. Towards the evening she repeatedly made signals of distress to us : we now hoisted out our Boats, and sent them on board of her although there was a very high Sea and we were afraid the boats would be swampt alongside the Prize, but they happily succeeded in saving a great number, including our Lieut, and part of the Seamen we sent on board, likewise a Lieut, two Midshipmen with some Seamen belonging to the Temeraire.1 If our situation was disagreeable from the fatigue and inclemency of the weather what must the unfortunate Prisoners have suffered on board with upwards of 8 Thousand men, nearly five Hundred were killed, and wounded in the engagement, and more than one half of the remainder were drowned. What added to the horrors of the night was the inability of our saving them all, as we could no longer endanger the lives of our people in open boats, at the mercy of a heavy sea and most violent Gale of Wind ; at about 10.p.m. the Redoutable sunk, and the Hawser, by which we still kept her in Tow, (in order if the weather should moderate and the Prize be able to weather the tempestous night) was carried away with the violent shock ; this was the most dreadful scene that can be imagined as we could distinctly hear the cries of the unhappy people we could no longer assist.”

Another prize, the French Algeciras, dismasted and battered by shot, and without an anchor that would hold, drifted away from the British Fleet during the early hours of the 22nd, directly for the reefs to northward of Cape Trafalgar. Lieutenant Charles Bennett of HMS Tonnant, and fifty men, were in charge of the prize, and had under hatches in the hold two hundred and seventy French officers and men as prisoners. At daybreak the ship was too far off to get aid from the fleet, and as the morning advanced they neared the rocks fast. Lieutenant Bennett's men were too few to guard the prisoners and to rig the jury-masts, which alone could save the ship. As the only chance for those on board, the Lieutenant had the hatches taken off and the prisoners set free. They swarmed on deck and, instantly, headed by one of their own officers, Lieutenant De la Bretonniere, at once made it clear to Bennett that they resumed possession of the ship: if he and his men did not agree, they would be thrown overboard; if they did, and assisted to save the ship, they should be set at liberty. Under these circumstances Bennett yielded, and Englishmen and Frenchmen, working together, succeeded in getting up three topgallant masts as jury-masts, and after a perilous navigation reached Cadiz.

At 3.30 in the afternoon HMS Minotaur took the Spanish Neptuno in tow, putting her under the charge of a Lieutenant of the Marines with 68 of Minotaur’s crew. As the wind steadily increased to gale force, the tow soon broke, leaving Neptuno to drift off into the storm. Around midnight, her main mast broke and went crashing into the quarterdeck, killing one of the British seaman and a French marine Captain. Neptuno spent the rest of the night wallowing close to the lighthouse at Cadiz.
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Old 16-09-2011, 19:37
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

Wednesday 23rd October 1805

Early this morning the weather subsided, and in Cadiz, the senior surviving Captain in the French fleet, Cosamo Kerjulien, seeing several drifting hulks, and little evidence of any British ships, decided to lead a sortie to try and recapture the prizes. Kerjulien headed the sortie in his own barely seaworthy ship Pluton, followed by the battleships Indomptable, Neptune, Rayo, and San Francisco de Asis. They were accompanied by five French frigates and two brigs, plus as many men as could be mustered.

When the French and Spaniards were seen coming out, Collingwood ordered the prizes to be detached and for his strongest ships to form line of battle.

However Kerjulien’s small force were able to recover two ships. One was the three-decker Santa Ana, with the wounded Admiral Alava on board. She was drifting inshore, within two miles of Cadiz, in tow of HMS Thunderer. Thunderer, had cast off Santa Ana, after withdrawing the British prize crew. The enemy were then able to retake possession of the Spanish ship and take her back into Cadiz. The second ship retaken was another Spaniard, Neptuno who, as previously mentioned, was adrift near the lighthouse at the entrance to Cadiz harbour. At 4.00 p.m, the French frigate Horteuse intercepted her and took her also successfully into Cadiz Bay, taking the all of the British crew prisoners

When Kerjulien and his ships left Cadiz harbour, a favourable moderate wind was blowing from the north-west. As soon as they left the harbour however, the wind swung so that it was blowing more from the south-west, and was again gaining in strength. It was now also raining, and visibility was poor.

The retaking of Santa Ana and Neptuno was all that Kerjulien was able to effect. Hardly had the Franco-Spanish squadron gained the offing, when down came the gale once more; and at the same time they became aware of the approach of Collingwood with ten sail of the line, formed up by signal to cover the prizes. Daunted by such a show of force, the Franco-Spaniards turned back and made for Cadiz again.

When Collingwood order the British ships to form up, HMS Conqueror, which had been towing Villeneuve’s flagship Bucentaure, let go of her. The ship drifted helplessly towards the shore, and despite attempts by the French and the British to re-take her, she struck the Puercos rocks, at the entrance to Cadiz harbour and within a mile of the ramparts, where she went to pieces. Most of those on board, including the British prize crew, were rescued by boats from two of the French ships. The captured British crew, were treated with the utmost courtesy and kindness at Cadiz, and sent back to Collingwood later on under a flag of truce.
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Old 16-09-2011, 19:45
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

Thursday 24th October 1805

Collingwood had come to realize that with continuing weather, the extent of the damage to his ships, and the exhausted state of the crews, that unless he took some decisive actions, there was the danger of the whole fleet being lost.

At 8.30 a.m., Collingwood signalled the order “Prepare to quit and withdraw men from prizes after having destroyed or disabled them if time permits”.

The Santisima Trinidad was the greatest British prize; the largest warship in the world. After the battle the great Spanish ship had suffered massive damage and was in a poor state. She was in tow of HMS Prince, who had great difficulty keeping possession of her during the storms (some accounts say that Prince never managed to make a successful tow in the first place?). By the time Collingwood’s order to withdraw came the Spanish battleship was already taking in water in the heavy rolling seas. Upon the order, work started to remove all of the wounded and prisoners from the ship. The wounded were got out of the ship by lowering them with ropes from the stern and quarter gallery windows into the boats of the British ships HMS Prince, Neptune and Ajax. Whether all were got out of the ship is uncertain.

Midshipman Badcock, of HMS Neptune, gives this account of how Santisima Trinidad came to her end:

"I was sent on board the Santissima Trinidada a few days after the action to assist in getting out the wounded men previous to destroying her. She was a magnificent ship, and ought now to be in Portsmouth Harbour. Her top-sides it is true were perfectly riddled by our firing, and she had, if I recollect right, 550 killed and wounded, but from the lower part of the sills of the lower-deck ports to the water's edge, few shot of consequence had hurt her between wind and water, and those were all plugged up. She was built of cedar, and would have lasted for ages, a glorious trophy of the battle, but 'sink, burn, and destroy' was the order of the day, and after a great deal of trouble, scuttling her in many places, hauling up her lower-deck ports that when she rolled a heavy sea might fill her decks she did at last unwillingly go to the bottom."

Some accounts say that Santisima Trinidad was not in fact scutlled, and with already having five feet of water in her hold, sank as a result of the heavy seas; “At some moments she rolled so completely over on her beam ends that it seemed as though she must go to the bottom …” With these severe rolls more water would have been taken in over the decks and down to the holds below, inevitably contributing to her final demise.

In pursuance of Collingwood's order the HMS Britannia, Orion, and Ajax cleared the French Intrepide of the prisoners on board, and at eight o'clock that evening the HMS Britannia set the empty hulk on fire. She blew up a little after nine o'clock.

When Kerjulien’s group turned back to Cadiz on the 23rd, the French 80-gun twodecker Indomptable, blundered across to Rota, on the northern side of Cadiz Bay, and in the morning of the 24th, was wrecked there. She had upwards of a thousand men on board, from all accounts, including extra hands intended to man the ships it was hoped to recapture. Apparently every man on board perished, including the survivors from the French flagship Bucentaure five officers and two hundred men.

Monarca, with her British prize crew on board, was drifting in a crippled state on to the dangerous shoals off San Lucar when she was overtaken, during the afternoon of the 24th, by the HMS Leviathan. Sending his boats alongside, Captain Bayntun removed the prize crew and the greater number of the Spanish prisoners, and then anchored the Monarca for the night. Before morning, however, the ship broke away from her cables in a sudden squall, drove ashore and went to pieces. A party from HMS Bellerophon had been in charge of Monarca, and a midshipman from that ship describes how the end came on.

"You will imagine what have been our sufferings, in a crippled ship, with 500 prisoners on board and only 55 Englishmen, most of whom were in a constant state of intoxication. We rolled away all our masts except the foremast; were afterwards forced to cut away 2 anchors, heave overboard several guns, shot, &c. to lighten her; and were, after all, in such imminent danger of sinking that, seeing no ship near to assist us, we at length determined to run the ship on shore on the Spanish coast, which we should have done had not the Leviathan fortunately fallen in with us and saved us, and all but about 150 Spaniards. The ship then went ashore and was afterwards destroyed."
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Old 16-09-2011, 19:53
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

The Following Days

The accounts that I have studied, including Collingwood’s dispatches, eyewitness accounts (in letters), and also French accounts, now seem to differ in their chronology. Accordingly, here is a general account describing the fates of the other ships of the combined enemy’s ships.

Of the other Franco-Spanish ships that escaped back to Cadiz, the San Francisco de Asis, a Spanish 74, anchored outside safely, but parted her cables and drove ashore in Cadiz Bay, near Fort Sta. Catalina.

The third ship, the Spanish three-decker Rayo of 100 guns, unable to regain Cadiz, anchored off San Lucar, some miles up the coast, rolled her masts overboard, and had to surrender at discretion to the HMS Donegal (Captain Sir Pulteney Malcolm), which came on the scene fresh from Gibraltar. HMS Leviathan was in company. “On a shot being fired at her, she hauled down her colours and surrendered”. Three days later, while in charge of a prize crew, "after a number of her men had been removed from the ship, drove from her anchors and was totally lost. Many Spaniards, and some of the English officers and crew perished in her”.

The French ship Berwick, on the afternoon of Friday the 27th, "after having anchored in apparent safety, was wrecked off San Lucar, entirely owing to the frenzied behaviour of a portion of the prisoners, who cut the cables. HMS Donegal, being at anchor near by, cut her own cables, and, standing towards the drifting ship, sent her boats to save the people on board. This noble proceeding of Captain Malcolm was only partially successful, when Berwick struck upon the shoal, and in her perished about 200 persons."

Another of the French ships, Aigle stranded off Port St. Mary's, and was wrecked during the night of Friday 27th , after being forced by the weather into Cadiz Bay, in spite of every effort by the HMS Defiance to keep her out.

On the 27th and 28th HMS Orion and HMS Leviathan took out prisoners from the Spanish San Agustin, nearly three hundred men in number. On the 30th Leviathan destroyed her, and with Ajax sank the Spanish Argonauta, "the finest two-decker in the world." Says Leviathan's log: "October 30th: Received some Warrant officers' stores from the San Agustin. Set her on fire; about 8, she blew up. The Argonauta was scuttled at her anchor."

What remained of the wrecked ships was destroyed on the morning of the 31st, when the British frigate HMS Naiad set fire to the wrecks of Rayo and Neptuno off San Lucar "both aground" in the words of the ship's log, “to the westward of San Lucar”. The log proceeds: "Saw a French line of battle ship, the Berwick, 74 guns, totally lost, having parted asunder amidships. November 1st a.m. At 1 observed the Neptuno blow up. At 4 the Rayo in full blaze. At 6 in boats. Weighed and made sail."

Four ships, one French and three Spanish, escaped destruction. "Four only remained as trophies of the victory, and these by cruel chance happened to be the most worthless. They were the (French) Swiftsure, the San Ildefonso, San Juan Nepomuceno and Bahama, but they made no effective addition to the English Navy."

Their preservation, too, was only effected with great difficulty. HMS Defence, after a very anxious time and a succession of mishaps, anchored with the San Ildefonso, and " with four cables an end on one anchor and one on another" rode the storm out. The Bahama, which HMS Orion had in charge, came within an ace of perishing.

"I kept the Bahama with the poor lieutenant and his four men in tow," says Captain Codrington, "until the absolute necessity of getting the ship's head the other way obliged me to cast him off, and the opportunity of the violence of the wind abating a little, allowed of making the necessary sail to claw the ship off shore ; and you may judge of the pain I felt on seeing her signals of distress in consequence of being left in so hopeless a situation ! The necessity of the case, however, raised a little unusual exertion in the poor Spaniards, and, by getting up an anchor out of the hold and letting it go, they saved both the vessel and their lives ; and she is now in Gibraltar Mole, waiting the opportunity of going to England. She was finally saved by the unremitting exertions of the Donegal."

The Spanish San Ildefonso" and the Bahama, with the ex-British Swiftsure, were brought to England in May under escort of HMS Britannia. Bahama and Swiftsure (renamed somewhat meaninglessly Irresistible), were made prison hulks in the Medway. San Ildefonso was made a receiving hulk at Portsmouth. All three were broken up in 1816.

The old Spanish ship San Juan Nepomuceno, in her fortieth year at Trafalgar, was kept as a hulk at Gibraltar. None of the five French ships of the line which escaped into Cadiz harbour, it may be added, ever saw a French port again. Collingwood held them fast there until, in June, 1808, Spain rose against Napoleon. Admiral Rosily, who had remained in command, with his squadron, unable to escape, were attacked at close quarters by the Spanish land batteries, and had to surrender at discretion. The Spanish Navy took over the ships, and found employment for them as harbour hulks for many years. The last left, Heros, was broken up at Ferrol in 1860. Her ensign and Admiral Rosily's flag are now kept as trophies at the Naval Museum in Madrid.
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Old 17-12-2011, 18:48
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

Quite a tale. I had missed this when first posted. I will have to read it several more times to absorb it all. Quite an ordeal after the great victory.
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Old 17-12-2011, 19:01
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Exclamation Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

Clive-I have assiduously read through and digested your magnificent Magnum Opus. The amount of detail and minutiae is absolutely the work of master scribe.You do have a rare gift; and I sincerely thank you for all the work that you have put into this masterpiece for our delectation.

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Old 17-12-2011, 20:20
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

Well thank you for those kind comments Jim, albeit somewhat underserved ....; I think when writing about something that is of great interest, the words flow much more easily, and the enthusiasm shines through.

But thanks again ....
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Old 18-12-2011, 09:09
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Cool Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

My pleasure Clive- for the beautiful prose; and if I may say so, you have to be a practised typist to boot.

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Old 18-12-2011, 12:12
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

I have just noticed this thread, and I have no idea how I have managed to miss it for three months! Well done Clive; an excellent postscript about the aftermath of one of the best known battles in history. Although the loss of the prizes was lamented, I wonder how many of them could really have have had their extensive damage repaired to become useful additions to the Royal Navy. Perhaps the real loss was only to British naval pockets.
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Old 10-02-2012, 18:41
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Default Re: THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR: After The Battle

A wonderful tour de force! Well done indeed.
For anyone interested in the full story try:
TRAFALGAR
The Men, the Battle, the Storm
By Tim Clayton and Phil Craig.

best wishes
Jan
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 Rothmans Williams Renault FW18.  World Champion 1996.
Damon Hill by Michael Thompson.
Half Price! - £25.00
Matt Le Tissier is quite simply a legend of Southampton Football Club. Since making his debut in 1986, Matt played 462 games for the Saints scoring 209 goals (including 49 penalties out of 50!)

Matt le Tissier by Gary Brandham. (Y)
Half Price! - £60.00

AVIATION PRINTS

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Hawker Hurricanes of 249 squadron (RAF) departing off HMS Ark Royal in June 1941 as par tof Force H. The Hurricanes were to become part of the Defence of Malta against the onslought and non stop bombing by the Axis Bombers and HMS Ark Royal would be sunk only a few months later when on the 13th November 1941 HMS Ark Royal was hit by a single torpedo from the German U-boat U81. The torpedo hit  on the starboard side near the starboard boiler room causing a 130ft by 30ft hole. Water poured in causing a 10% list immediately. The flooding spread quickly to the middle of the ship and then to the port boiler room, eectric power failed,  and after 14 hours while in tow to Gibraltar she capsized and sunk the following day.

Malta Relief by Tim Fisher.
Half Price! - £20.00
The leading ace of the mighty Eighth Air Force, Gabby Gabreski. He finished the war with a total of 28 air victories and 2 1/2 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground by strafing airfields. Gabreski also scored 6 1/2 air victories in the Korean war.

Return From Bremen by Simon Smith.
Half Price! - £70.00
Depicting Mustang aircraft escorting Flying Fortresses on a bombing raid over Germany.

Guardian Angel by Anthony Saunders.
Half Price! - £25.00
 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.
Half Price! - £75.00

MILITARY PRINTS

Click above to see our military art portal - Four random half price items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Offers

 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)
Half Price! - £50.00
<b>Ex-display prints in near perfect condition. </b>

Lance-Corporal Harry Nichols, 3rd battalion Grenadier Guards, winning the Victoria Cross at the River Escaut, 21st May 1940 by David Rowlands. (Y)
Half Price! - £20.00
A Tiger I and PAK 40 anti tank gun of the Müncheberg Division, field a final defence of the capital in front of the Brandenburg Gate under the shattered remains of the famous Linden trees. The under-strength division had just been formed the previous month from a mixture of ad hoc units and various marks of tank. Despite this it put up a spirited fight until its final destruction in early May.

Tiger at the Gate, Berlin, 30th April 1945 by David Pentland. (GL)
Half Price! - £300.00
 Braving intense enemy fire, Lt. Col. RB Mayne, Commanding Officer 1st SAS Regiment devastated a German ambush and subsequently rescued wounded troops of his own unit who had been pinned down while on a reconnaissance mission for the 4th Canadian Armoured Division.

Paddys Fourth DSO, The Olderburg Raid, 9th April 1945 by David Pentland. (GS)
Half Price! - £250.00
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