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Stock No. 6813

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HMS Gunner Trench Art Ashtray - Click for the bigger picture

HMS Gunner Trench Art Ashtray

This is the second "Gunner" dish we have listed this week but with this one absolutely no doubt to which ship or base it relates to. It is ornately engraved "HMS Gunner" and also carries below the dated 1918. The only other Navy ship to carry this name was not launched until 1927 so this clearly relates to the WWI vessel that was based at Granton harbour in Scotland and was operational from 1915-1919 and used as the base for mine-sweeping, utilising mainly Scottish trawlers and their crews, called into active service and conscripted as part of the Royal Navy Reserve. The base itself also acquired the name of "HMS Gunner" in reference to the name of the largest converted trawler/minesweeper in its fleet. Granton harbour was also home to decoy ships (Q-ships) and anti-submarine vessels. Conscripted fishing vessels were regarded as part of the Royal Navy so our ashtray is probably associated with this vessel or possibly the Granton land base itself which was otherwise known as a "Stone Frigate".

The tray is made from beaten copper, in an arts and crafts style, and is clearly hand rather than commercially made. In addition to the ships name "HMS Gunner" and the date it also carries what appears to be initials to the centre reading "AWS", which could possibly help identify the hands that made it 4.5" (11.5 cm). With the festive season fast approaching this could be the ideal stocking filler for the Royal Navy or trench art collector in your life!

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