Once upon a time (and I am talking last century here), cameras could not produce colour images, or should I say that photography was a monochrome activity. Like so many others of my generation I have a whole stack of images of family members who are no longer with us, and all of these images are in black and white. I have to admit I have a soft spot for mono images, they can be extremely atmospheric and their quality seemingly does not deteriorate as quickly as a colour print. Ship photographs in black and white are not as rare as you would think, and even in the time when colour photography was normal a lot of professional and press photography was in black and white. Over the years I have picked up some odds and sods and I want to put them up here for posterity. At some point Google will spider this page and they will become a part of the internet and hopefully survive long after I have popped my clogs.
I somehow acquired some images of the Royal Navy in Malta, and particularly prominent were 2 images of HMS Courageous. She was sunk by U29 on 17 February 1939 with the loss of 519 of her crew. Originally built as a the lead ship of Courageous-class cruisers she participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917 and after the war was converted into an aircraft carrier between June 1924 and February 1928. How do I know it is Courageous? It was written on the back of the pic.
The fleet is in. This image shows elements of the Royal Navy supposedly in Grand Harbour, Malta. It may also be back to front. Unfortunately I cannot ID any of the vessels.
The image below is part of a Christmas card that was amongst the collection. The Spithead Review of 1953 was a large one, and our RFA was in “Line H”. A number of the ships names are familiar to me, but notables are: Amerigo Vespucci, Pretoria Castle, HMS Eagle, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Vanguard, Andes, THV Patricia, HMS Sheffield, HMS Maidstone, RMS Mauretania, etc. There is a nice pdf at http://cloudobservers.co.uk/ that shows the ships names and layout of the fleet.
Quite by accident I have an old Illustrated London News from 1953 that has a section on the Coronation Review of 1953, and there is an image of part of the fleet with the RMS Mauretania steaming between the columns en route for Southampton. (Image is 1500 x 675 px)
Not all of the images that I got were from the Navy, a number featured passenger ships too. It is either the Armadale or Kenilworth Castle.
This is either Winchester or Carnarvon Castle as built, or possibly Warwick Castle. Unfortunately the image did not have a name written on the back.
Two more unidentified Union-Castle ships in Southampton.
The same collection had the following two images:
3 funnel ship in floating dock. Possibly RMS Majestic in Southampton? Unfortunately the image is damaged and I will see whether I can restore parts of it.
RMS Aquitania in New York. Unfortunately I am unable to find a larger version of this image in my files.
Many years ago I was given this image of the Queen Elizabeth in Cape Town during the 2nd World War. I was never able to scan it one piece because it was wider than the scanner was which is why it has a definite “join” in the image.
I was also given this image that they said was of HMS Vanguard, however Vanguard had a transom stern and she clearly does not, It is actually HMS Howe (you can read the name on the ship if you look close enough).
And another that I was given: MV Diplomat.
I also managed to scrounge some ship images that were taken in Cape Town, the physical images themselves are roughly 50 x 50 mm and they scanned quite well but within the limits of the originals. They were also scratched and battered, but are better than nothing. I will try clean them up as best I can. (images open are 800×600)
DRW © 2020. Recreated 30/05/2020. Unfortunately I am unable to credit the images to anybody as I do not know the names of the original photographers, however I would like to thank them for recording this slice of shipping history. Special thanks to Ken Malcom for his ID’s of some of the ships.