In this photograph we see three sailors from the V class destroyer HMS Verdun. She was the only ship ever given the name, after the battle of Verdun during the First World War.
HMS Verdun later achieved a fame of sorts as she was the ship that brought the remains of the Unknown Warrior home from France on November 10, 1920.
The coffin was placed on the quarterdeck covered in wreaths of white flowers. Some were so large it took four soldiers to lift them.
There was an escort of six other destroyers to Dover where the coffin was placed on a train at Dover Marine and taken to London.
The following day the coffin was lowered into its grave in the aisle of Westminster Cathedral, where it has been a place of homage ever since.
These photographs were sent in by David Savin, who found them among his grandfather’s belongings. There were also four medals.
In this photograph we see the sailors from the Verdun. Looking at them you would think they had the same uniform as today’s sailors, but there are several differences.
The jerseys they are wearing were pullover-type, long before the modern jacket with a zip up the front.
The famous naval collar was separate from the jersey and tied around the white front. The black silk is also a separate item and it was hung around the neck under the collar, then tied by a tape in a fancy bow at the chest.
The famous bell bottoms have the seven creases sideways up the legs. Lastly, the cap tally, that is the ribbon with the ship’s name in gold thread, which was also tied in a neat bow.
The bow was worn, unofficially, over the left eye when it should have been above the left ear with the V or E of VERDUN in line with the nose.
The photograph opposite shows a group of destroyer men in winter as their caps have black tops and they are wearing sea jerseys.
What the one sailor is doing wearing tropical whites, I have no idea.
David thinks the chief petty officer might be his grandfather. If anyone recognises faces in the two photographs, then please do get in touch and let me know.