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Stock No. 2478

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HMS Apollo D- Day Trench Art - Click for the bigger picture

HMS Apollo D- Day Trench Art

Another item we bought at auction in 2005 but was subsequently mislaid in our stock room for the last 14 years, but it has finally seen the light of day, together with a number of other assorted items that came in the mixed lot. Small but historically interesting, it is made from a 1943 dated expended shell case that has been display mounted on a hardwood base. To the front is a white metal plaque that has been embossed 'HMS Apollo D-Day 6.6.44'.

Our research indicated HMS Apollo was an Abdiel-class minelayer of the Royal Navy, the eighth RN ship to carry the name. She was commissioned in February 1944 and joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow before setting out for Plymouth for minelaying operations in support of the planned invasion of France. She loaded mines at Milford Haven and commenced a series of operations off the French coast of Brittany between Ushant and Île Vierge. She was detached for duty in "Operation Neptune" and on 7 June and carried Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Naval Commander in Chief Admiral Bertram Ramsay, General Bernard Law Montgomery and staff officers from SHAEF, to visit the assault beaches. Unfortunately Apollo grounded while underway, damaging her propellers, and her VIP passengers were transferred to the appropriately named destroyer HMS Undaunted!

Sadly we have no provenance with the item but seems most likely it was made by a crew member of Apollo from scrap materials recovered but we have no idea where it subsequently resided for the next 61 years before turning up in an Exeter auction house.

An ideal Christmas stocking filler for anyone with associations with Apollo (she was placed on Reserve in 1961 and was broken up at Blyth, Northumberland in November 1962) or to the collector of Royal Navy trench art in your life. Measures 5" from base to top of shell case (12.5 cm)

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