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Auction: Conflicts of the 20th Century
was auctioned on: 29 January 2021
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Estimate: US$1,500 - US$2,000
Price realised:  n. a.
Lot number 26, Views: 28

Turner, Robert, Chief Officer SS Aruluen, during Dunkirk. [The red ensign flown from the stern of the SS Aruluen on her trip to Dunkirk.] An interesting grouping collected by Chief Officer Robert Turner on the Aruluen during Operation Dynamo, comprising: 1. The British woolen Red Ensign that flew from the stern of the Aruluen, with the Union Jack at upper left canton, with a red ground. This is the civilian flag to be flown by British Merchant marine ships. Hoist stenciled "2 RED ENSIGN." 840 x 1850mm. (33 x 71 inches.) 2. Chief Officer Robert Turner's jacket with 8 brass buttons, and 3 gold braid stripes at each cuff; together with his cap with the Merchant Marine insignia. 3. The metal name plate, bearing the name "Aruluen" from one of the lifeboats. 30 x 195mm. (1 x 7.5 inches.) 4. A 1p ALS, 8vo, from Marjorie Turner, Robert's sister, to a collector dated March 16th 1970, describing how the Araluen rescued over 600 British and French troops from the Dunkirk beaches "but never received Admiralty recognition of her part in the rescue." She earlier noted that her brother "was an officer on board the SS Araluen ... when the ship was requested to take troops from the beaches off France (Dunkirk). There is a well published photograph of British troops forming a line back to the beach and up to their shirts in water, awaiting to board the ship ... My brother kept a lifeboat plate & the ship's stern ensign. I also have his cap and tunic. For interest my brother Robert was lost when his ship, MV Underwood was torpedoed by a German E-boat while in convoy on January 6, 1944."; together with a copy of that classic photograph and a Press clipping. Provenance: Chief Officer Robert Turner; Inherited by his sister Marjorie Turner: Sold to a British Collector 1970; War Museum. A fine grouping of items relating to the rescue of the British and French Armies from Dunkirk. The SS Aruluen was a British freighter in the Merchant Navy, and was requisitioned for the rescue operation, Operation Dynamo, but due to the shallow waters had to stand off the beach at Dunkirk. The famous photograph of the soldiers wading in line some 100s of yards offshore waiting to be picked up, is taken from the side of the SS Aruluen. This is one of the classic images of the Dunkirk operation.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Bonhams London
Title: Conflicts of the 20th Century
Date of the auction: 29 Jan 2021
Address: Bonhams London
New York