British Army in Burma


THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 1824) Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, with Major General G N Wood in a jeep during a visit to the 25th Indian Division, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205135

Frightfully unqualified for anything, Mountbatten made numerous ghastly mistakes. His appointment in South East Asia did increase morale of the “Forgotten Army of Burma” since he was a member of the royal family and enjoyed massive press coverage.  In fact, Mountbatten made the “forgotten army of Burma” quite famous. Very keen on publicity was Dickie Mountbatten. His HQ in Ceylon had a staff of 7,000 men and women a number of whom spent their time getting him publicity.

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 2358) A 25-pdr field gun and its crew about to start their journey on a pontoon raft down the Kalapanzin River from Buthidaung, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205199

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 2355) A 25-pdr field gun and jeep being transported on a pontoon raft down the Kalapanzin River from Buthidaung, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205198

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 2188) Sherman tanks moving forward to support infantry in the Myebon area, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205180

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3167) A Daimler scout car, Sherman tank and Dodge weapons carrier disembarking from a pontoon raft after crossing the Irrawaddy at Ngazun, 28 February 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205470

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 1931) Men of the 6th Gurkha Rifles go into action at Singu on the Irrawaddy bridgehead, with Sherman tanks in support, February 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205147
THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3111) The crew of a jeep take stand ready with Sten guns beside their vehicle during an encounter with the Japanese in the advance on Mandalay, February 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126435
THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3342) The .50-inch machine gun of a Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, 7 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205504

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3335) The crew of ‘Deepcut’, a Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, have a cup of tea and play a hand of cards during a lull in fighting, 7 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205503

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3346) Priest 105mm self-propelled gun in action, 7 March 1945 Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205505

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3361) Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, 7 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205506

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3074) Sherman tanks of Probyn’s Horse (5th King Edward VII’s Own Lancers), 255th Armoured Brigade, advancing on the road between Myaungyu on the Irrawaddy bridgehead and Meiktila, March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205451

British Indian Army, British Army and British Commonwealth Troops Reclaim Burma from Japanese

The largest all-volunteer fighting formation of the British Empire in World War Two was the British Indian Army which was recruited in British India then comprised of modern day Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. More than 2.5 million men served in the British Indian Army and they fought all over the world.

 

 

ALLIED FORCES IN NORTHERN BURMA, JUNE 1945 (HU 87180) Mandalay fell to the 19 Indian Division after fierce fighting during the drive on Mandalay from the north. Picture shows: Tanks with infantry speeding along the road to attack a village near Madaya, 12 miles north of Mandalay. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205085629

 

THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 87182) Mule convoy carrying supplies into Burma. Photo shows: Mule convoy crossing a stream, the water is muddy and leech infested. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205088016
THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 88980) Imphal to Kohima: the meeting at MS 109 of the 7th Cavalry and 33 Corps. Jemader Karnail Singh of 7th Cavalry shakes hands with Major AC T Brotherton, a 33 Corps Staff Officer. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219276

 

THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 88979) Wingates Expedition: Air Supply Dropping of Rations. View from an aircraft of a message written on the ground with parachutes. It reads ‘Plane land here now’. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219283
BURMA VICTORY: 4TH CORPS CAPTURE MEIKTILA (IND 4447) Men of an Indian Regiment charge burning remnants of Seywa during the drive on Meiktila. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205225485

 

BURMA: BRITISH TROOPS CROSS SHWELI RIVER (SE 1790) After the heaviest air and land bombardment in this sector of the Burma front, British and Indian troops of the 36th Division forced a crossing in assault craft over the Shweli river to Myitson. The Shweli is the last river barried to the 36th Division’s advance into central Burma, and the Japanese opposed the ferry crossing fanatically. This image shows men of the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205225496
THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 87183) Tanks of the 25th Dragoons near Fort White. 25-pounders re-established in the gunners box on Kennedy Peak open fire again on the retreating Japanese. Picture shows: General Lee tank on Hill 8225. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205088015
THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4470) British troops in the Sittang Bend area, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205584

Defensive measures for Burma were never put into place by the British because they did not believe Burma was under much threat. By the time they did, it was too late. After a series of small engagements with invading Japanese, British Army, British Indian Army and Commonwealth troops under General Sir Harold Alexander (later Field Marshal, Earl Alexander of Tunis) made a fighting retreat to British India where the Japanese were halted. The climate made fighting even more miserable than fighting could be.

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4459) General Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief India, inspecting troops, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205588

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4463) 4.2-inch mortars of 33rd Anti-tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, in the Sittang Bend area, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205582

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4468) 5.5-inch guns of 63rd Medium Battery firing on Satthinagyon, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205583

Spitfires to Malta

AChtung! spitfire!

Attention! Spitfire!

This was not a warning German pilots liked hearing over the headphones during air battles over England.

Flames roar from the exhaust of a Spitfire as it starts its engine. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images. August 2015. Courtesy of the Guardian.

spitfires to malta

 

SPITFIRES FOR MALTA. 19 TO 23 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD HMS EAGLE. HMS EAGLE IN COMPANY WITH ‘FORCE H’ TAKING SPITFIRES FROM GIBRALTAR TO MALTA FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE ISLAND. THE AIRCRAFT WERE FLOWN OFF HMS EAGLE AFTER BEING TAKEN HALF WAY ON BOARD THE CARRIER. (A 9580) Securing Spitfires on the flight deck of HMS EAGLE. On the port side of deck are more planes ready for their flight to Malta. In the background is the island of HMS EAGLE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143392

 

SPITFIRES FOR MALTA. 19 TO 23 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD HMS EAGLE. HMS EAGLE IN COMPANY WITH ‘FORCE H’ TAKING SPITFIRES FROM GIBRALTAR TO MALTA FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE ISLAND. THE AIRCRAFT WERE FLOWN OFF HMS EAGLE AFTER BEING TAKEN HALF WAY ON BOARD THE CARRIER. (A 9586) One of the Spitfires taking off on its way to Malta. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143396

 

SPITFIRES FOR MALTA. 19 TO 23 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD HMS EAGLE. HMS EAGLE IN COMPANY WITH ‘FORCE H’ TAKING SPITFIRES FROM GIBRALTAR TO MALTA FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE ISLAND. THE AIRCRAFT WERE FLOWN OFF HMS EAGLE AFTER BEING TAKEN HALF WAY ON BOARD THE CARRIER. (A 9584) Spitfires on the deck of HMS EAGLE on their way to their flying off destination. In the background can be seen HMS ARGUS and the cruiser HMS HERMIONE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205143395

 

BRITISH AIRCRAFT CARRIERS CONVEY SPITFIRES PART WAY TO MALTA. 7 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD THE CRUISER HMS HERMIONE, AT SEA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. FLYING SPITFIRES OFF THE CARRIER HMS EAGLE, THE FIRST TIME SPITFIRES HAD BEEN FLOWN OFF. (A 7953) The aircraft carrier HMS ARGUS which acted as fighter escort, with HMS EAGLE (centre) and the battleship HMS MALAYA (right distance) prior to flying off to Malta of the Spitfires. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205141947

 

BRITISH AIRCRAFT CARRIERS CONVEY SPITFIRES PART WAY TO MALTA. 7 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD THE CRUISER HMS HERMIONE, AT SEA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. FLYING SPITFIRES OFF THE CARRIER HMS EAGLE, THE FIRST TIME SPITFIRES HAD BEEN FLOWN OFF. (A 7954) The aircraft carrier HMS ARGUS which acted as fighter escort, with HMS EAGLE (centre) and the battleship HMS MALAYA (right distance) prior to flying off to Malta of the Spitfires. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205141948

 

BRITISH AIRCRAFT CARRIERS CONVEY SPITFIRES PART WAY TO MALTA. 7 MARCH 1942, ON BOARD THE CRUISER HMS HERMIONE, AT SEA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. FLYING SPITFIRES OFF THE CARRIER HMS EAGLE, THE FIRST TIME SPITFIRES HAD BEEN FLOWN OFF. (A 7956) Left to right: HMS ARGUS, EAGLE and MALAYA seen under the guns of HMS HERMIONE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205141950

 

ROYAL AIR FORCE: OPERATIONS IN MALTA, GIBRALTAR AND THE MEDITERRANEAN, 1940-1945. (CM 3215) Ground crew of No. 249 Squadron RAF take a break from maintaining their Supermarine Spitfire Mark VCs at Ta Kali, Malta, to observe the activity on the airfield. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208952

 

Arrive in Malta at last. If the Spitfire pilots didn’t keep an eagle eye on their fuel mixture and fly in such a way as to conserve fuel they coulnd’t make it to Malta from their flying off point and over the years a number of them crashed into the Med never to be heard from again.

Baldwin Eviscerated by Churchill

War_Industry_in_Britain_during_the_First_World_War_Q84077

Minister of Munitions Winston Churchill meets women war workers at Georgetown’s filling works near Glasgow during a visit on 9 October 1918. Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.

“…they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent…”

 

Stanley_Baldwin_resize

The incompetent Stanley Baldwin in the 1920s. He served as Prime Minister of Great Britain on three occasions: 1923 to 1924, 1924 to 1929 and 1935 to 1937. 

Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was a wealthy man, quite out of his depth, entirely out of touch with his times, and possessed of a foolish rigidity of thought which ill-prepared Great Britain for the coming war. His nickname, “the Vicar” will give you an idea of how he was seen. (And it was a compliment). Worse, his personal and his campaign slogan was ‘Safety First.’  This actually meant, ‘don’t do anything which might rock the boat’ which was manifested by his not doing anything.

Baldwin still saw England as a nation of small villages, inspired by the narrow values and philosophies of small villages. He did not understand and could not understand the threat Hitler and other totalitarian states were to Great Britain and the British Empire.

churchill11

Winston Churchill in full cry on the campaign trail during a speech in Uxbridge, Middlesex, during the general election campaign on 27 June 1945. (photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum).

On 12 November 1936, in a debate in the House of Commons over what Winston Churchill believed was a far-too-casual and much-too-small initial rebuilding of the armed forces of the Crown, he excoriated Baldwin and his cabinet for their timidity and indecision about rearmament.
“The Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence has argued as usual against a Ministry of Supply. The arguments which he used were weighty, and even ponderous… But then my right hon. friend went on somewhat surprisingly to say, ‘The decision is not final’. It would be reviewed again in a few weeks. What will you know in a few weeks about this matter that you do not know now, that you ought not to have known a year ago, and have not been told any time in the last six months?….
The First Lord of the Admiralty in his speech the other night went even farther. He said, ‘We are always reviewing the position. Everything, he assured us is entirely fluid. I am sure that that is true. Anyone can see what the position is.

The Government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.”

 

churchill from NPR

Churchill speaking during the General Election campaign of 1945 which took place after the surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May 1945.

Churchill,_uniform resize

21 year old Winston Spencer Churchill of the 4th Queens Hussars. 1895

One of the reasons so many of Churchill’s speeches are remembered is he rarely spoke off the cuff. He always carefully prepared his remarks, usually spending hours and hours of labor upon the drafts.  He dictated his speeches to a secretary then revised then over and over before delivering them.

A fascinating article about Churchill’s speeches can be found here:

www.winstonchurchill.org/his-speeches-how-churchill-did-it

 

Malay Emergency Instead of War So Insurers Will Pay

Headline from New York Times 16 August 1951

 

THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960 (BF 48) British 25 pounder field guns of the Royal Artillery in position outside a Malayan village during the Malayan Emergency. They are ready to give fire support if called for by the infantry. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212425

 

The Communist insurgency and successful counter-insurgency by British, Commonwealth and Malaysian troops became known as the “Malayan Emergency,” or “Malay Emergency.”

Had the British government used the word “war” then Lloyds of London and other property insurers would have been able to avoid paying out damage claims on policies written on tin mines, rubber plantations, and manufacturing plants destroyed or damaged in war. Insurance policies written for property exclude from recompense damages caused by war and “Acts of God.” These are defined as natural catastrophes over which no human agency could exert control or caused. Tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, tidal waves etc are “Acts of God” in the legal sense of the term.

Many policies also include exemptions from paying claims by civil unrest, riot and other events of mass violence. What constitutes such events area the kinds of things which keep lawyers busy.

 

THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960 (MAL 35) Men of the Malay Police Field Force wade along a river during a jungle patrol in the Temenggor area of northern Malaya. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212413
“Don’t you think, sir, you should have an escort,” said a policeman to the British Adviser to the Sultan of Perak, then part of the British colony of Malaysia. A Communist insurgency had recently broken out and the Adviser had come to inspect a rubber plantation where several British estate managers had just been murdered by Communist thugs.
“Escort? Good God! Why on earth should I need an escort? I’ve got my walking stick and my wife.”

[Source: War of the Running Dogs: Malaya, 1948-1960 by Noel Barber, foreign correspondent of the London Daily Mail in the 1950s and 1960s who later became a bestselling novelist including several romance novvels the most famous of which was “A Farewell to France.”

 

THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948 – 1960 (GOV 3828) Soldiers of 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment patrol in the jungle shortly after arriving in Malaya, c 1951. A patrol spreads out across the ‘lallang’ (tall grass) as they move into the jungle after leaving the shelter of their armoured vehicles. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205189572

The Communist insurgency in Malaya was heavily supported by the Communist Government of the People’s Republic of China. In spite of the immense difficulties involved in chasing down the Communist guerrillas and killing or capturing them in some of the most forbidding terrain in the world, this was the only successful anti-Communist campaign won by any of the Western powers in Asia that did not involved either outright defeat or a partition of the original nation.

 

THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960 (MAL 304) A soldier practicing stalking in the Malayan jungle in preperation for jungle patrols as part of the counter-insurgency campaign of the Malayan Emergency. He is using an air rifle and has a fencing mask to protect his face and eyes from pellets. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212410

After the defeat of the Japanese, the British re-occupied Malaysia which had been a British crown colony before World War Two, that is, a colony ruled by a Governor appointed by the Crown as advised by the sitting Prime Minister. The British wanted the opportunity to re-open tin mines and rubber plantations because of their desperate need of foreign currency.

 

THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960 (MAL 157) British and Malay infantry being transported up river on an armed launch of the Malayan Naval Force during a sweep to locate communist guerillas hidden ain the jungle along the riverside. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212404

 

The British were also determined to hand over a stable, democratic, free and independent nation to the native Malay officials and Parliament. It was a very long haul. This conflict began in 1948 and continued until the destruction of Communist forces in 1960.

Through the use of Malaysia soldiers and police, British and Commonwealth troops, and funds and supplies from the USA, the British succeeded and after they succeeded, they left. This was one of the few success stories of a country emerging intact from its days as a colony of the British Empire. Malaysia was and continues to be a multi-ethnic state because over the decades the British glued different pieces of territories into one colony. So it wasn’t as if one large piece of territory was just sitting there and they came along and snatched it.

 

THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY, 1948-1960 (MAL 2) A patrol of the Security Forces, possibly from either the Malayan Police Field Force or the Malayan Regiment, prepare to travel by raft down a river in the Temenggor area of northern Malaya. The local men accompanying the troops were employed as armed trackers, scouts, guides and boatmen. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212411

The British Empire was built on trade and the suppression of ethnic violence. In many colonies the ethnic mix was such that these different groups had been warring with each other for endless amounts of time. The British usually imposed order by recruiting native police and military units under British command backed up by British troops and the Royal Navy. Hence, there was an unspoken social contract. The British ruled the colony and made money from it and in return provided order and stability so that native elites could also make money and maintain their traditional powers.

The British preferred to rule through native elites and these groups were often among their strongest supporters.

Malaysia was never a “settlement” colony such as Canada or Australia.  At its peak the white population before World War Two might have number 10,000 people. The brutally hot climate of Malaysia was such that few white Europeans wanted to go there for any length of time. It was a trading colony exporting raw sap from rubber trees as well as an immense amount of tin from mines that had been opened up. Because of this, Malaya earned large amounts of foreign currency, especially dollars for the British and this became more and more important as the twentieth century went on.

 

 

BRITISH FORCES IN THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960 (DM 138) Members of the Malay Regiment inspect equipment, supplies and documents captured in a raid on a communist terrorist jungle camp. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127197

 

BRITISH FORCES IN THE MALAYAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960 (DM 179) Sergeant A J Foster of the Malayan Police sets up a trip-wire across a path on a rubber plantation known to be used by communist terrorists. When touched the wire would set off a flare to illuminate the surrounding area. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127194

 

Mighty Royal Navy 1930s

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65675) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS REPULSE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212368
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65675) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS REPULSE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212368

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65620) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212370
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65620) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212370

Built to the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, HMS Rodney and her sister ship, HMS Nelson, both had all three turrets of their main armament on the fore deck of the ship. As odd as these ships looked, their carried 16 inch guns, the largest in the Royal Navy.

 

THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 83396) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY at Devonpart Dockyard in December 1927. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205090613
THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 83396) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY at Devonpart Dockyard in December 1927. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205090613

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65664) The battlecruiser HMS HOOD. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212356
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65664) The battlecruiser HMS HOOD. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212356

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65673) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS RENOWN. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212367
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65673) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS RENOWN. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212367

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65625) The Royal Sovereign Class battleship HMS RESOLUTION in September 1933. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212369
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65625) The Royal Sovereign Class battleship HMS RESOLUTION in September 1933. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212369

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65690) The aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212323
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65690) The aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212323

 

THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 93334) The Flower Class sloop HMS CROCUS whilst serving in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, 1922-23. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127179
THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 93334) The Flower Class sloop HMS CROCUS whilst serving in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, 1922-23. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127179

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65612) The Nelson Class battleship HMS NELSON. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212363
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65612) The Nelson Class battleship HMS NELSON. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212363

Germans Built Mine Sweepers for RN

One of the crew makes his way from the bridge down to the main deck of HMT NORTHERN SKY. The trawler is pitching and rolling at slow speed along her patrol lines. There is a slight sea running and she ships water continually, but this is mild weather for trawlers.
One of the crew makes his way from the bridge down to the main deck of HMT NORTHERN SKY. The trawler is pitching and rolling at slow speed along her patrol lines. There is a slight sea running and she ships water continually, but this is mild weather for trawlers. Official Royal Navy photograph by Lt. R.G.G. Coote, courtesy of the Imperial War Musuem. 

 

14 steel hulled, coal fired fishing trawlers were built on order in Germany for a London company which could only get blocked credits out of Nazi Germany by using the money to buy something in Nazi Germany. So the company bought trawlers, each one christened with the first name of ‘”Northern.” Hence they became known as “Northern Class trawlers” although they were not purpose built for the Royal Navy.

Northern Foam, Northern Gem, Northern Pride, Northern Dawn, Northern Sky, Northern Chief, Northern Isles, Northern Princess, Northern Gift, Northern Reward, Northern Rover, Northern Spray, Northern Duke, Northern Sun and Northern Wave.

 

after months at sea, the rough wear on the ship is obvious.
HMT Northern Pride circa toward the end of the war. After many years at sea, the rough wear on the ship is obvious. 

HMT Northern Pride was a built in 1936 by Deschimag, Germany. taken over by the admiralty in August 1939. returned to her owner in November 1945. and scrapped at Gateshead in 1964. Photo and caption courtesy of  harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/warships/trawlers/

 

All 14 were requisitioned by the Admiralty and refitted as mine sweepers and later several were refitted as convoy rescue ships. After being taken-over by the Royal Navy, each was designated with the prefix HMT–His Majesty’s Trawler. These were robust ships and many served as rescue and escort ships on the Murmansk run through the Arctic Sea as well as in the North Atlantic. They swept for mines, rescued people and had enough armaments to give a respectable account of themselves.

 

THE BRITISH TRAWLER NORTHERN GEM. 29 AND 30 JULY 1943, WALLASEY TRAWLER BASE. HMT NORTHERN GEM, A CONVERTED FISHING TRAWLER, HAS SERVED AS AN ESCORT FOR MANY CONVOYS, AND HAS RESCUED MANY SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN CONVOY SHIPS. (A 18410) De-ammunitioning ship. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205151161
THE BRITISH TRAWLER NORTHERN GEM. 29 AND 30 JULY 1943, WALLASEY TRAWLER BASE. HMT NORTHERN GEM, A CONVERTED FISHING TRAWLER, HAS SERVED AS AN ESCORT FOR MANY CONVOYS, AND HAS RESCUED MANY SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN CONVOY SHIPS. (A 18410) De-ammunitioning ship. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205151161

Depending on their operational schedule, they would “de-ammunition” the ship before a boiler clean or a refit since the navy did not want the ship filled with live ammunition while it was being worked on.

 

THE BRITISH TRAWLER NORTHERN GEM. 29 AND 30 JULY 1943, WALLASEY TRAWLER BASE. HMT NORTHERN GEM, A CONVERTED FISHING TRAWLER, HAS SERVED AS AN ESCORT FOR MANY CONVOYS, AND HAS RESCUED MANY SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN CONVOY SHIPS. (A 18413) 'Stand Easy' study of the men of HMT NORTHERN GEM. In the background is another of the Northern Class trawlers leaving base for a further duty spell. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205151164
THE BRITISH TRAWLER NORTHERN GEM. 29 AND 30 JULY 1943, WALLASEY TRAWLER BASE. HMT NORTHERN GEM, A CONVERTED FISHING TRAWLER, HAS SERVED AS AN ESCORT FOR MANY CONVOYS, AND HAS RESCUED MANY SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN CONVOY SHIPS. (A 18413) ‘Stand Easy’ study of the men of HMT NORTHERN GEM. In the background is another of the Northern Class trawlers leaving base for a further duty spell. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205151164

 

 

THE BRITISH TRAWLER NORTHERN GEM. 29 AND 30 JULY 1943, WALLASEY TRAWLER BASE. HMT NORTHERN GEM, A CONVERTED FISHING TRAWLER, HAS SERVED AS AN ESCORT FOR MANY CONVOYS, AND HAS RESCUED MANY SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN CONVOY SHIPS. (A 18411) HMT NORTHERN GEM's crew. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205151162
THE BRITISH TRAWLER NORTHERN GEM. 29 AND 30 JULY 1943, WALLASEY TRAWLER BASE. HMT NORTHERN GEM, A CONVERTED FISHING TRAWLER, HAS SERVED AS AN ESCORT FOR MANY CONVOYS, AND HAS RESCUED MANY SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN CONVOY SHIPS. (A 18411) HMT NORTHERN GEM’s crew. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205151162

 

AT SEA WITH BRITISH MINESWEEPERS. NOVEMBER 1941, ON BOARD A MINESWEEPING TRAWLER OF THE DOVER COMMAND DURING A SWEEP WITH OTHER MINESWEEPING TRAWLERS OF THE COMMAND. (A 6293) A look-out on the after gun platform of a minesweeping trawler watches other ships of the group moving up to take station. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205140428
AT SEA WITH BRITISH MINESWEEPERS. NOVEMBER 1941, ON BOARD A MINESWEEPING TRAWLER OF THE DOVER COMMAND DURING A SWEEP WITH OTHER MINESWEEPING TRAWLERS OF THE COMMAND. (A 6293) A look-out on the after gun platform of a minesweeping trawler watches other ships of the group moving up to take station. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205140428

 

AT SEA WITH BRITISH MINESWEEPERS. NOVEMBER 1941, ON BOARD A MINESWEEPING TRAWLER OF THE DOVER COMMAND DURING A SWEEP WITH OTHER MINESWEEPING TRAWLERS OF THE COMMAND. (A 6304) Minesweeping trawlers in line ahead on patrol off the South coast. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205140438
AT SEA WITH BRITISH MINESWEEPERS. NOVEMBER 1941, ON BOARD A MINESWEEPING TRAWLER OF THE DOVER COMMAND DURING A SWEEP WITH OTHER MINESWEEPING TRAWLERS OF THE COMMAND. (A 6304) Minesweeping trawlers in line ahead on patrol off the South coast. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205140438