As the country, but especially the navy, reveres our most important seascape depicting the Battle of Trafalgar, which is a painting finished just before the death of the artist ably assisted by his daughter, HMS Ganges chooses to abandon a specially commissioned  nautical scene drawing penned by the same artist, arguably, the most important marine artist the world have ever known.  How is that for vandalism ?

Easter has always been an important time in my yearly calendar as far back as I can remember as a young boy.

From my collection of SHOTLEY MAGAZINES, I have chosen Easter Time as my theme for this page, and with it comes a story which many will not know about and which should not be forgotten.

Below, in these files, you will see three pictures of the front cover of a Shotley Magazine.

GANGES MAGAZINE EASTER 1938 (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).jpg

GANGES MAGAZINE EASTER 1954 (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).jpg


GANGES MAGAZINE EASTER 1966 (2012_11_19 20_20_07 UTC).jpg

For many long years (from the early 1930s) the front cover was the same, and as such, it became a Ganges tradition:  regrettably that was later broken as can be seen in the 1966 Magazine, as indeed many traditions were broken in the name of so called modernity. The reason I have chosen the first two dates is that I was born in the summer of 1938 (and now turned 72) so it pre dates my time on earth, and 1954 was the time that I myself was at Ganges - October1953 to February 1955: 1966 is shown, only as a `tradition breaker` as I have said above.

Mr Fisk (the official Establishment photographer and before him Mr Charles (Chas) Driver) is a Ganges legend and rightly, but the artist responsible for the old front cover is a pan navy legend, indeed, a very famous and much respected international painter. His name was W. Lionel Wyllie 1851-1931. W.L.Wyllie was responsible for the 42 foot long `Panorama of the Battle of Trafalgar` which can be seen in the Naval Museum* in Portsmouth, and when he died in 1931, he was reputed to be the finest marine artist in the world.

* The Museum is in the Royal Dockyard immediately opposite the starboard side of Nelson's flagship, H.M.S. Victory.

His son Harold Wyllie - 1880 to 1975 followed his equally (and perhaps more) famous father, and both painted countless pictures about the navy and both loved the sea. Today their works command a high price and are eagerly sought after by art dealers and art owners.

Born in London on 29th June 1880,  he fought in South Africa during the Boer War. He served in the Royal Flying Corps in France as a pilot in 1914-18 war and received a Commission in the Regular Army. Posted to the Wiltshire Regiment in 1916 and awarded O.B.E. 1919, and was granted rank of Lieut.-Colonel on retirement in 1920. He was appointed Hon. Marine Painter to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1934, and became Vice President of the Society of Marine Artists in 1958. His work is represented in several public collections. He lived in Portsmouth and later in Perthshire.

The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich has thousands of Wyllie painting and drawings from various members of this famous family.

The picture on the front cover of the Shotley Magazines above (1938 & 1954)was specially drawn by W.L. Wyllie R.A., to honour H.M.S. Ganges and her boys`.

The ship in the centre is the old Ganges as she was with her sails loosed on her last trip from Sheerness to Harwich.  The artist made a sketch of her at that time.  The battleship on the right is the Queen Elizabeth ammunitioning in Portsmouth harbour.

 Wyllie died on the 6th April 1931 in Hampstead, and scouts from the 1st Portchester Sea Scout Troop, which he had founded, rowed his coffin across Portsmouth Harbour for his burial at Portchester Castle escorted by personnel from the Royal Navy.

A picture of this great man. I wonder what he would have thought about the wanton abandonment of his special picture to honour the Ganges and its boy's?