Mons, Marne, Verdun and Somme

HMS Somme

The Royal Navy’s H.M.S. Somme (1918 – 1932).

The Royal Navy’s Great War Battle Commemorations

Recent research into the Royal Navy fleet that Admiral Sir Jacky Fisher, First Sea Lord of the Board of the Admiralty, built has led to some interesting discoveries. Fisher was instrumental, or rather was the powerhouse, in re-developing the British Navy. In October 1905 the Dreadnought program commenced leading to the February 10, 1906 launch of HMS Dreadnought.  Although Fisher’s Dreadnought program is the impetus of today’s discoveries it is four other vessels launched during the Great War that filled my spinnakers with wind and let me take heart in the comforting breeze of writing.

In 1915 two vessels were launched named for battles of the Great War, these two ships were HMS Mons and HMS Marne. A third ship followed in 1917 when HMS Verdun was completed and followed in 1918 by HMS Somme. Each vessel played its part during the Great War, though the Somme being competed a week before the Armistice did not see the service of the others.

HMS Mons
“M” class Destroyer
Launched May 1, 1915
Completed July 1915
Built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland
Battle of Jutland May 31 – June 1, 1916
Sold to the Slough Trading Co and scrapped in Germany, 1921

HMS Marne
“M” class Destroyer
Launched May 29, 1915
Completed September 1915
Built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland
Battle of Jutland May 31 – June 1, 1916
Sold to Cohen and scrapped in Germany, 1921

HMS Verdun
“V” class Destroyer
Motto: They Shall Not Pass
Launched August 21, 1917
Built by Hawthorn Leslie, Tyneside, England
Carried the remains of The Unknown Warrior home to Britain, November 8, 1920.
Also served during the Second World War
Scrapped at Granton, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1946
Verdun’s bell now hangs on a pillar at Westminster Abbey, London, England near to the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

HMS Somme
“S” class Destroyer
Launched September 10, 1918
Completed November 4, 1918
Built by Fairfield Govan, Clyde, Scotland
Scrapped Ward, Pembroke Dock, Wales, 1932
The official ship’s crest comprised a laurel wreath with a tin hat (helmet) in the center of the wreath. The crest was approved in March 1926.

HMS Somme Image: Courtesy of John Ward~McQuaid via Stuart Cameron at Clydesite/Clydebuilt.


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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