The work on the Sammy Ofer Wing is continuing, and we are busy preparing the collections to move into the new building in April-July 2011. We’ve updated the information on the progress of the building work and our plans for the new research and reading room on the website. The information is updated every two months, so please take a look at the blog or website in the future.
Eleanor (Head of Archive & Library)
November’s item of the month is actually two items of the month! Taken from the Museum’s chart and map collections are two very fine manuscript track charts dated 1802 and 1808 respectively. These items provide a fascinating and unexpected glimpse of the wider goings-on in a most turbulent time in world history.
Brian (Curator of Hydrography)
November this year marks the seventieth anniversary of the Jervis Bay action.
This oil painting by Charles Pears (1873-1958) depicts the armed merchant cruiser HMS Jervis Bay, during the heroic action of 5 November 1940.
Launched in 1922 as a passenger ship for the Shaw Savill Line, the Jervis Bay was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1939 and equipped with seven 6-inch guns. The role of the ship was to be an escort vessel for the Atlantic convoys.
Under the command of Captain Edward Fogarty Fegan the Jervis Bay was the only escort ship with convoy HX84. When the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer attacked the convoy, Captain Fegan ordered the convoy to disperse and steered towards the Admiral Scheer. With its superior firepower and armour the Jervis Bay was no match for the German ship, however the Jervis Bay pressed home its attack and came under fire from the Scheer’s 11-inch guns. Badly damaged and ablaze the Jervis Bay continued to advance on the Scheer, this action provided precious time for the convoy and enabled the majority to escape. Severely wounded, Captain Fegan remained at his post and was later killed, for his actions he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Eventually the Jervis Bay was halted and orders were issued to abandon ship.
The Admiral Scheer took almost 30 minutes to destroy the Jervis Bay and expended over 300 of its valuable arsenal of shells. The Scheer was not damaged – the Jervis Bay’s armament did not have sufficient range to take effect.
In March 1945 the Admiral Scheer returned to Kiel. On the night of 9 April 1945, during a RAF bombing raid on the dockyard the Scheer was hit and capsized.
Various documents in the Museum’s manuscript collection relate to the early service of the Jervis Bay. The original painting (Reference: BHC2412) is presently in storage.
Colin (Library Assistant)