A Precious and Unique Reference Book

Whilst still waiting in lockdown for the paints I need to crack on with my recently converted 1-350 model of HMS Rutherford, I thought I would share this unique historical resource I'm lucky enough to have for World War 2 naval wargaming...

This beautiful artefact was compiled during World War 2 by... someone. I don't know their name - all I know is that in the late 1990s it was bequeathed to my father in Portsmouth by an elderly Canadian widow he'd looked after, named Ruth.

As it was evidently compiled by someone on the home front with a bit of time on their hands, I like to imagine that it was Ruth herself who compiled it, keenly following the [censored] fortunes of His Majesty's ships through the radio and newspapers and surely trying to trace the seafaring career of a brother, husband or sweetheart.

It's indexed alphabetically and supported by a fascinating array of newspaper clippings (some pasted in; many loose), but the ships' names seem to have been entered in a more 'organic' order - here under 'H' for example, HMS Hood is given pride of place, sadly short-lived:

Two annotations here: "Largest Warship" and then "SUNK OFF GREENLAND"

...And hundreds of others are added and memorialised as the news of their adventures became known:

Here are some other highlights: as a Portsmouth lad, I particularly like the note next to the entry for the Ark Royal, reading "Seen at Pompey":

...but she too was lost:


We have entries for HMS Eskimo, my other Trumpeter 1:350 ship:

...and this rather shocking story and picture too, from 1943 (the Editor is a fan of the Flower Class Corvettes):

But I shall leave you with this stunning portrait of HMS Victorious and its enjoyably chipper caption:

NB: Should any readers wish me to look up a particular vessel (it's a fairly comprehensive list), please feel free to leave a comment, below.


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