Tag Archives: hms

Keelman and war hero Jack Crawford nails his colours to the mast

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crawford

Jack Crawford climbs the rigging

Searching a few weeks ago for information about a quite different Jack Crawford, I learned about the one pictured above.

He was a keelman from Sunderland until he was press-ganged into the Royal Navy in his early 20s, and found himself on board HMS Venerable under Admiral Duncan, the Royal Navy Commander-in-Chief of the North Seas. The story of this Jack Crawford’s fame, though, begins at the battle of Camperdown, in 1797, when the British and Dutch navies met in battle off the coast of Norway, near Camperdown, close to Bergen.

Instead of forming a line of ships, Admiral Duncan split the British fleet into two groups, which broke through the Dutch ships, firing broadsides. Although a daring move, it was successful because the Dutch ships were not yet ready for battle, and it prevented the Dutch fleet from joining the French navy in order to invade Ireland.

HMS Venerable’s main mast was broken in the fighting, but while under heavy fire the young Jack climbed it and nailed the Union Jack to it. This was the command flag of Admiral of the Fleet, and was both an  important identifier and a symbol of British power.

The loss of the flag could be a great blow to morale and could affect a battle, and the phrases to ‘nail your colours to the mast’ and ‘show your true colours’ are believed to refer to the importance of these flags.

In recognition Jack was later formally presented to King George III and granted a pension.

For much more on this story, the monuments to this local hero and information on material in Sunderland’s museum, click here.

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Campaign now to save the City of Adelaide

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The clipper City Of Adelaide, later renamed HMS Carrick, and finally SV Carrick.
The hull is visible on a slipway at the Scottish Maritime museum, Irvine, North
Ayrshire, Scotland. From the Wikimedia:the original author is Rosser1954.
Click on the photo for a larger image

City of Adelaide again. Photo courtesy of Paula Palmer of
the National Historic Ships

I imagine many intheboatshed.net readers have been troubled by the condition of the passenger clipper City of Adelaide as she moulders on a hard at Ayr. The following communication from National Historic Ships director Martyn Heighton makes it clear that we now have an opportunity to make our point heard, and to make a difference. Martyn’s email is below – please do what you can to put our message across.

‘Heritage protection Bill – Latest News

Dear Supporter,

You will be aware from our website and newsletters that the government will be considering a new bill in Parliament later this year which is designed to strengthen the protection of the UK’s heritage assets. As things stand, historic vessels are not included in the bill going before Parliament. National Historic Ships has responded formally to these serious omissions, and has published our case on our website. I have also been in correspondence with Margaret Hodge, who until recently was the Minister with responsibility for Culture and have received the letter set out below from her before she left office. A copy of the Ministers letter is attached, which I urge you to read.

Although this letter contains some encouraging statements on the future of historic ships, there is still no proposal to bring these vital heritage assets into the provisions of the Bill. Our earlier response to the Draft Bill raised many valid issues which in the end focus on 3 key matters

1. The Bill does not recognise National Historic Ships, the Advisory Committee which governs it, or the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV). The Bill makes specific reference to the registers run by English Heritage and Cadw. It is crucial that the NRHV, for which National Historic Ships is accountable to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, is recognised in a similar way.
2. Historic Ships are exposed to loss by neglect and demolition, with recent high profile examples such as
City of Adelaide and HMS Stalker. Thankfully the demolition of the City of Adelaide has been slowed down due to the fact that she is one of only 2 ships to enjoy protection as listed buildings. No such protection applies to HMS Stalker and we fear she will soon be nothing more than a memory. Something needs to be done to prevent the tragic loss of more of our significant historic ships. Where vessels in the National Historic Fleet (that is the Core Collection and Designated Vessels) are presented in a static form – either dry or afloat – they should be subject to similar protections as those applied to historic buildings. It is more complicated for those vessels which operate and move from port to port, but the Bill could at least recognise the issue and pave the way for further work.
3. The Small Grants scheme which we run has had positive impact far in excess of the amount of monies disbursed. We need to find ways to expand this scheme, especially for the Registered Vessels. The Draft Bill is concerned primarily with physical protection rather than funding. Nevertheless aspects of funding are referred to in the Bill and this needs to be recognised with regard to ships. Relatively small sums can be made to go a long way.

Robert Prescott, the Chair of National Historic Ships and I are in touch with Barbara Follett, the new Minister for Culture, Media and Tourism, and are asking for an early meeting so that we can set out our concerns and ambitions for historic ships in the UK. We need to know your views on all this, and are keen to hear from you. Please go onto our website – www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk, and click onto the heritage protection bill thumbnail, read our submission in full online, and let us know what you think by email julia.bray@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

We really do want to hear from you
Warm regards
Martyn
Martyn Heighton
Director & Secretary to the Advisory Committee
National Historic Ships

For more on National Historic Ships:

http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/

For more on the City of Adelaide:

http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/index.cfm/event/getVessel/vref/433

http://www.sunderlandmaritimeheritage.org.uk/adelaide.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Carrick

For more on HMS Stalker:

http://www.maritimesteamrestorationtrust.co.uk/projects/index.html

Follow this link for more on clippers at intheboatshed.net.

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Famous names at the 2008 Great River Race

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Kyle and friends pass by HMS Belfast in the Cutty Sark’s jolly boat –
as usual, click on the photo for a much larger image

The Victory’s cutter

Kyle Abingdon, who works on the Cutty Sark has sent me these photos with the following note. It’s great to see that while the old lady is undergoing some serious surgery, her jolly boat is still getting some use.

‘Hello there.

‘Great Site. I pass by a lot. Its right up on the top of my favorites list – I am always pleased to find lovely pictures and boats.

‘I thought you or somebody out there may like to see some half decent pictures of me and my team rowing in the Cutty Sark’s jolly boat, and also of the HMS Victory’s cutter during this years Great River Race just gone.

‘It was a great day out with lots of lovely mostly traditional boats.

‘All the best.

‘Kyle Abingdon’

Many, many thanks for your kind comments and for your pictures Kyle! It looks like a great day out.