H.M.S. Spartan Goes Down


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This master piece by famed painter and historian Richard DeRosset depicts the H.M.S. Spartan as is goes down on January 29, 1944. This glorious one-of-a-kind painting measures 51 3/4″ X 27.5″ framed.

About this painting & some history:

Commissioned with a Devonport crew under the command of Captain P.V. McLaughlin, Royal Navy, Spartan was originally intended for service with the Eastern Fleet, but after a couple of months with the Home Fleet, spent mainly working-up at Scapa Flow, on  October 17, 1943 she left Plymouth Sound for the Mediterranean, sailing by way of Gibraltar and Algiers, she arrived at Malta on October 28, 1943 to be temporarily attached to the Mediterranean Fleet. She went on to Taranto to join the 15th Cruiser Squadron on 8 November.

On January 27, she was ordered to report to CTF 81 for anti-aircraft protection duties off Anzio. At sunset on January 29, the Luftwaffe began a glide bomb attack on the ships in Anzio Bay. At the time of this attack, Spartan was anchored. Smoke had been ordered in the anchorage but was not fully effective owing to the short time it was in operation and the strong breeze. Spartan was making smoke from stem to stern but was not herself covered.

About 18 aircraft approached from the north and circling over land, delivered a beam attack against the ships that were silhouetted against the afterglow. The timing of the attack prohibited the aircraft from being sighted except by very few witnesses, and radar was ineffective owing to land echoes.

By the time the warning had been received and the ships had opened fire in the general direction of the attack, six bombs were already approaching the anchorage, most of them falling into the water. But about 18:00, one radio-controlled Henschel Hs 293 hit Spartan just abaft the after funnel and detonated high up in the compartments abreast the port side of the after boiler room, blowing a large hole in the upper deck.

The main mast collapsed and boiler rooms were flooded. Steam and electrical power failed, a serious fire developed and the ship heeled over to port. About an hour after being hit, Spartan had to be abandoned, and 10 minutes later she settled on her beam ends in about 25–30 ft (7.6–9.1 m) of water.

Five officers and 41 enlisted men were posted killed or missing presumed killed, and 42 enlisted men were wounded.

Artist Richard DeRosset is known for his depictions of maritime scenes which have been commissioned by numerous museums and private collections, notably, The San Diego Aerospace Museum, The Navy Combat Art Museum, and The Smithsonian Institution. He is also the official artist for the San Diego Maritime Museum.

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