Frank Henry Mason R.I., R.S.M.A. (1876-1965)

H.M.S. Warspite and the destroyers pressing to the attack, Narvik, 13th April 1940
signed `FRANK H MASON.` (lower right)
17 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (44.5 x 66.7 cm.)


HMS Warspite's participation in the Narvik campaign resulted in more of a boost for morale than a step forward in the stagnating land based conflict .

Narvik provided an ice-free harbour for the movement of iron ore , so vital for both of the warring sides. The land based contest between British, Norwegian and German forces remained indecisive but from an air and sea perspective, the battles of April 10th and 13th 1940 had a very positive outcome.

The first Battle of Narvik saw the destruction of naval and merchant shipping in the close vicinity of the harbour by the British force. However the surprise attack was then challenged by the emergence of a supporting naval force of five German destroyers from adjacent fjords and the battle intensified. Both sides suffered considerable damage and some losses and therefore broke off the action and withdrew.

HMS Warspite with an escort of eight destroyers and air support from carrier Furious then arrived to find the hostile force of eight destroyers and two U-boats isolated, and running short of fuel and ammunition. Aided by the failure of German torpedo detonation, the superior fire power of Warspite's guns proved decisive with all enemy shipping destroyed - apart from U51 which escaped down the fjord to the open sea.

Mason has endorsed this triumphant action by depicting the passage of the British force advancing down the fjord to vanquish the stranded enemy.

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