Painting Commemorates Naval Sacrifice


The Historic Dockyard Chatham, 16th October 2001
Unveiling of the painting "The Convoy Got Through"

 

One of the most courageous naval actions of the Second World War will be commemorated at The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Tuesday 16th October at Noon.

The Convoy Got Through

The merchant cruiser HMS Jervis Bay sank with the loss of 198 crewmen, 84 from the Chatham Manning Division. Its final moments were such an act of bravery that its captain was awarded the VC. Relatives of those lost, many from Kent, will be attending an unveiling of the painting "The Convoy Got Through"; by Montague Dawson that has been loaned to The Historic Dockyard and depicts the famous engagement.

On the 5th November 1940 a convoy of merchant ships were sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to the UK. Only one warship, HMS Jervis Bay, was escorting them. Shortly after 5pm the German surface raider Admiral Sheer, a pocket battleship, discovered the vulnerable convoy and opened fire.

HMS Jervis Bay ordered her convoy to scatter before she turned to confront the enemy alone. The German vessel outgunned the British ship by a massive margin and within twenty minutes Jervis Bay was reduced to a wreck, quickly sinking.

The sacrifice made by Jervis Bay gave the convoy vital time to escape and 31 of the 38 ships reached Britain. Jervis Bay's Captain, E.S. Fogarty Fegen was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross "for valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his life to save the many ships it was his duty to protect."

The painting has been loaned to The Historic Dockyard Chatham by the shipping group Furness, Withy and Company. It will be unveiled in The Museum of The Royal Dockyard by Michael Chappell from Edenbridge Kent , son of Jervis Bay's Chief Engineer who was killed during the action. Around thirty other relatives of those lost from the ship will be attending the ceremony.

Montague Dawson, artist of "The Convoy Got Through", served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the First World War and later achieved artistic success with his paintings of large clipper ships under sail. Montague Dawson died in 1973.

 

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Mike Chappell giving speech prior to the unveiling

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Unveiling: Mike Chappell, Alison Marsh (museum curator), Mr. Edwards & Ron Rainsbury

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Unveiling: Alison, Mike & Mr Edwards

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Unveiling: same group as above.

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JB Unveiling group : All those that attended (all relatives) .

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Mr.Edwards, MD of Furness Withey, the shipping company that have given the painting on a long term loan.

 

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Sid Peters, son of the Chief Butcher of the Jervis Bay, with Mr. Edwards.

     


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