Ship of the Day

H L Hunley – Confederate submarine, 1864

Diagram Of The 'H. L. Hunley' (Getty Images)

The H L Hunley carried two separate test crews with her to the bottom, as well as her final crew on 17 February 1864. But on that date, the hand-powered Confederate submarine did manage to sink the Union steam-sloop Housatonic – the first successful kill by a submersible warship in history. Throughout the American Civil [...]


Lusitania – Cunard ocean liner, 1915

Lusitania – Cunard ocean liner, 1915

Lusitania – Cunard ocean liner, 1915 The chilling reality behind this seemingly benign photograph is that it is reputed to be the last photograph ever taken of Cunard Line’s Lusitania before she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat at 2:10 pm on 8 May 1915 while approaching Queenstown for a scheduled stop on [...]


Bonhomme Richard – Frigate, 1779

Bonhomme Richard – Frigate, 1779

Bonhomme Richard – Frigate, 1779 Perhaps the most energetic captain serving in the ‘Continental Navy’, as the precursor of the United States Navy was named during the American Revolutionary War, John Paul Jones was determined to carry the struggle against King George back across the Atlantic into British waters. In his first foray in 1777, [...]


Trento – Trento class cruiser, 1927

Trento – Trento class cruiser, 1927

Trento – Trento class cruiser, 1927 The Italian cruisers Trento and Trieste were among the first of the so-called ‘treaty cruisers’, and made a huge impact when they first commissioned. Powerfully armed and moderately protected, Trento attained 35.6 knots on her 8-hour power trials, making her by a comfortable margin the fastest cruiser of her [...]


Bremen – Steam turbine liner, 1962

Bremen – Steam turbine liner, 1962

Bremen – Steam turbine liner, 1962 A 39ft (12m) scale model replica of North German Lloyd’s fourth Bremen (foreground) recalls the 1929-built ship’s sleek modern lines that made a clean and irrevocable break with traditional ship design. Below the waterline the hulls of Bremen and her near-identical sister-ship Europa were the first express liners to [...]


Royal George – First Rate ship of the line, 1759

The Royal George

Named for the monarch George II, at over 2000 tons Royal George was the largest warship in the world when launched in 1756. The date marked the beginning of the start of the Seven Years War, a global conflict fought across four continents that involved all of the major colonial powers. Royal George would prove [...]


Belfast – Cruiser, 1938

Belfast Cruiser - 1938

Belfast Cruiser – 1938 Belfast and her sister Edinburgh were the last in a series of large cruisers armed with 6-inch guns intended to match the IJN Mogami and US Brooklyn classes. Initial proposals were for four quadruple turrets of new design, but this was rejected in favour of the triple turrets of their predecessors. [...]


Penang – Three-masted barque, 1932

Penang – Three-masted barque, 1932

Penang – Three-masted barque, 1932 The Finnish barque Penang undergoing repairs in the Britannia Dry Dock during July 1932. She had just arrived in London from Adelaide, laden with a cargo of grain. Tucked in from the Thames, her bowsprit looms over the back yards of Millwall’s West Ferry Road – a vivid illustration, perhaps, [...]


Finnjet – Gas turbine cruiseferry, 1977

Finnjet – Gas turbine cruiseferry, 1977

Finnjet – Gas turbine cruiseferry, 1977 The need for a ferry service from Helsinki and Travemünde resulted from the closure of Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. As the Finnish and West German economies expanded and car ownership grew, by the mid-1960s, there was also a need to develop car ferry [...]


Sōryū – Aircraft Carrier, 1942

Sōryū

Sōryū The ‘Blue Dragon’ was the first of a class two aircraft carriers constructed by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid-1930s. The first of Japan’s third-generation carriers, the design of Sōryū incorporated all the basic features that characterised subsequent Japanese carrier designs. These included a high-aspect cruiser-like hull propelled by powerful engines with twin [...]


Glengyle – Cargo liner, 1939

Glengyle- Cargo Liner, 1939

Glengyle – Cargo liner, 1939 The Glengyle was a real merchant ship although the rescue incident depicted here derives from the artist’s imagination. She was a cargo liner built for the Glen Line in 1939. Constructed by the Caledon Ship Building & Dry-Dock company at Dundee, she was the fifth vessel to bear that name. [...]


Barbary ships – Corsairs’ raiding vessels, c.1640

Barbary Corsairs

Barbary Corsairs From the crusades right up to the 1830s the Barbary corsairs were the scourge of the Mediterranean and Atlantic trade.  The Battle of Lepanto may have halted Muslim expansion in the Mediterranean, but the pirates continued to raid  the coasts of Italy and Spain and  to prey on merchant ships, not only stealing [...]


Orcades – Ocean liner, 1947

Orcades – Ocean liner, 1947

Orcades – Ocean liner, 1947 Orcades was the first of three replacement liners built for the Orient Line’s Australia route after the Second World War, the others being Orsova and Oronsay. Four of the company’s liners had been lost during the war. The illustration shows one of Orcades’ two propellers being inspected at the works [...]


Great Britain – Iron screw steamship, 1843

Great Britain – Iron screw steamship, 1843

Great Britain – Iron screw steamship, 1843 The visionary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel conceived the Great Britain as the first propeller driven transatlantic liner, to provide a fast service from England to New York. Her steam engine was assisted by sails and she was the largest ship in the world. Great Britain’s early transatlantic passages [...]


Iron Duke – Iron Duke class battleship, 1912

Iron Duke – Iron Duke class battleship, 1912

Iron Duke – Iron Duke class battleship, 1912 The four ‘super-dreadnoughts’ of the Iron Duke class were the last British battleships to be armed with the 13.5-inch gun and the first to carry a heavy secondary battery of 6-inch guns for use against enemy torpedo-boats and light cruisers. The increase in calibre of the secondary [...]


Sea Cloud II – Sailing cruise ship, 2001

Sea Cloud II – Sailing cruise ship, 2001

Sea Cloud II – Sailing cruise ship, 2001 The tough world of the merchant sailing ship has been replaced by the high luxury of the sailing cruise ship, of which increasing numbers are getting to sea. The character of these sailing cruise ships is unlike that of the huge cruise liners, and much more like [...]


Carrack – Trading ship, c. 1521

Carrack – Trading ship, c. 1521

Carrack – Trading ship, c. 1521 The carrack, which developed in the fourteenth century and could still be seen three hundred years later, was something of a cross between the north European cog and the Mediterranean caravel, but larger than both. Early carracks had two masts, but as they increased in size – later Spanish [...]


Cutty Sark – Tea Clipper, 1869

Cutty Sark – Tea Clipper, 1869

Cutty Sark – Tea Clipper, 1869 By 1869 advances in technology and metallurgy meant that fast merchant ships like the tea clippers could be very strongly built, with hulls and masts and standing rigging all made of iron, so that they could be driven in all weathers to unprecedented speeds – the American clipper Sovereign [...]


Hermes – Aircraft carrier, 1919

Hermes – Aircraft carrier, 1919

Hermes – Aircraft carrier, 1919 In 1917 the Royal Navy, the largest and most successful naval air arm of the age, used the hard won experience of he First World War to design and build the world’s first purpose built aircraft carrier. Hermes reflected the uncertain, experimental era in which she was designed. Initially designed [...]


Mayer de Rothschild – Sandgate lifeboat, 1891

Mayer de Rothschild – Sandgate lifeboat, 1891

Mayer de Rothschild – Sandgate lifeboat, 1891 The hurricane-force winds that sprang up across England shortly before dawn on 11 November 1891 caused havoc at sea. The Sydney-bound sailing ship Benvenue was being towed down the Channel by tug when at 0530 off Folkestone the tow parted and Captain James Moddrel dropped anchor to stop [...]


Enterprise – Yorktown class aircraft carrier, 1942

091-Enterprise---pic

Enterprise – Yorktown class aircraft carrier, 1942 The ‘Big E’ was part of the U.S. Navy’s pre-war carrier programme and went on to become the most decorated warship in American naval history.  She was the second of the Yorktown class of fast aircraft carriers, and pushed the limits of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty at [...]


Gorch Fock – Sail-training ship, 1961

Gorch Fock – Sail-training ship, 1961

Gorch Fock – Sail-training ship, 1961 When sailing ships retired from the ocean trade routes some found employment as sail training ships with various navies and mercantile marines. This tradition has continued, often leading to the construction of new vessels to replace their ageing forebears or initiation of the practice in emergent maritime nations. The [...]


Novgorod – ‘Popovka’ ironclad warship 1873

Novgorod – ‘Popovka’ ironclad warship 1873

Novgorod – ‘Popovka’ ironclad warship 1873 In an age of extraordinary naval designs and technological innovations, this Russian circular ironclad warship ranks as among the most bizarre. The brainchild of Admiral Andrey Alexandrovich Popov, a veteran of the Crimean War who was well versed in the latest naval developments in America, France and Great Britain, [...]


Dunkirk ships – ‘Little ships’, 1940

Dunkirk ships – ‘Little ships’, 1940

Dunkirk ships – ‘Little ships’, 1940 ‘…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…’ Winston Churchill’s famous speech of 4 June 1940 encapsulates one of the most enduring of British [...]


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