Royal Navy's HMS Gladiator crash postcard pictures go up for sale at Southsea auction house

POSTCARDS capturing the aftermath of a Royal Navy ship’s peace-time tragedy are set to go on sale at auction.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Sunday, 13th December 2020, 11:19 am
Postcards going on sale at Southsea auction house Nesbits showing the aftermath of HMS Gladiator crashing in 1908. Picture: Nesbits

HMS Gladiator foundered when the Portsmouth-based cruiser and American steamer SS Saint Paul collided in a snowstorm off the Isle of Wight on April 25 in 1908.

Visibility was less than 750 metres when they collided. Lookouts had spotted the danger off Hurst Point.

The crash ripped open the sides of both ships. Gladiator foundered almost immediately, while the American ship remained afloat and made it to Southampton.

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Postcards going on sale at Southsea auction house Nesbits showing the aftermath of HMS Gladiator crashing in 1908. Picture: Nesbits

Gladiator settled on her starboard side in shallow water close to Fort Victoria. Salvage work began almost at once, but it took over five months to right the ship, re-float her and tow her to Portsmouth.

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The tragedy saw 28 sailors lost. Only three bodies were recovered.

Now Southsea auction house Nesbits is selling postcards showing the aftermath. Some are the work of Stephen Cribb, a former chairman of Portsmouth Football Club.

They are estimated to be worth £125-£150. The auction takes place on December 16.

Auctioneer John Cameron, celebrating 25 years at Nesbits, said: ‘Where better for these fabulous naval cards to find a new home than the proud city which is home of the Royal Navy. We are very excited to be able to offer them for the vendor, who lives locally.’

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