On the 23rd February 2016 the London Mint Office in conjunction with the Merchant Navy Association held an evening aboard a Vessel situated on the River Thames London. The HQS Wellington is moored at Victoria Embankment and once served under the Royal Navy during the battle of the Atlantic. It even shares equal credit for its contribution in sinking a German U-boat. It is one of the few surviving vessels from WWII and Serves in 2016 as a floating museum dedicated to sharing and educating visitors about the sacrifice made by the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets.
The event was a special evening to officially donate a collection of coins developed to recognize the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets during the Battle of the Atlantic. The collection is donated for permanent exhibit in pride of place on the HQS Wellington.
Ron Quested Veteran Radio Officer from the Battle of the Atlantic with the Bell of the SS Ohio in the
background. The SS Ohio was an oil tanker built for the Texas Oil Company (now Texaco); she was the largest oil tanker in the world at the time of construction. The tanker was launched on April 20, 1940 at the Sun Shipbuilding Yard in Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. The tanker would end up bound in the struggle for the re-supply of the island fortress of Malta, during the Second World War. The tanker played a fundamental role in Operation Pedestal, which is considered to be one of the fiercest and most heavily contested convoys, in August 1942. Although Ohio reached Malta successfully, she was so badly damaged that she had to be effectively scuttled in order to offload her cargo, and never sailed again. The tanker is fondly remembered in Malta, where to this day it is considered to be the savior of the beleaguered islands. The bell of the SS Ohio is also exhibited aboard the HQS Wellington.
Captain McNaught officially welcomed the donation of the coin collection on behalf of the Wellington Trust. Captain McNaught has 40 years maritime experience, he is Deputy Master of Trinity House, and was Captain of ships for Cunard and Seabourn including the last Captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2). He was delighted to receive the coin collection and was thrilled by the efforts made to recognize the forgotten fourth service.
Throughout history the Merchant Navy have been sidelined second to almost every other service and the realities of life at sea in the Merchant Navy were harsh and fraught with danger. Aerial assaults, U-boats and not to mention the harsh weather and thrashing seas of the Atlantic. In 2016 however this imbalance was addressed. Ron Quested a veteran radio officer who served during the battle of the Atlantic knows all too well the realities of life in the Merchant Navy. Today he is awarded with a set of his very own Official Battle of the Atlantic coin collection in honour of his service in the merchant navy and to that of his country.
Source: London Mint Office