Uganda, hospital ship, entering Falmouth after the Falkland’s War, to lay up.
50 x 76 cm (20″ x 30″), sold, a marine painting by Gordon Frickers.
“Uganda” British hospital ship as I saw her after the Falkland’s War.
In her career she was a liner sister to the ‘Kenya’, running Tilbury [London] to East Africa and then a very popular ‘school ship’ in the Mediterranean Sea.
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Uganda, the Royal Marines called her “The Big White Whale”, was the very last ship to carry ‘British India’ fleet colours although by then the ship was managed by P & O [Peninsular and Orient Lines] which had merged with B I.
Uganda was the last of what was at one time the largest merchant ship fleet in the world and her final assignment was as hospital ship during the Falklands war.
I painted this picture after seeing Uganda at Falmouth and King Harry’s Ferry Reach on the river Fal.
I worked from the experience, from photographs provided by the World Ship Society, Falmouth Branch, and from location sketches I’d made of Falmouth harbour.
Falmouth is a location I know well having lived and worked there for 5 + happy years.
I painted Uganda after seeing Uganda at Falmouth and King Harry’s Ferry Reach on the river Fal, from photographs provided by the World Ship Society, Falmouth Branch, and from location sketches of Falmouth harbour, a location the I know well having lived and worked there for 5 + happy years .
I chose to show Uganda at Falmouth as she is being manoeuvred into the docks by the local tugs.
The tug men I knew well, one was a neighbour and we all frequented The Chain Locker during my ‘press photographer’ days
I sailed the tugs by invitation on several times.
In my painting Uganda is shown flying flag “G” so I showed that although the flag surprised me.
Years later I was phoned one evening by the gentleman who had bought the painting.
He said a dinner guest of his, a P & O captain and no less, was querying the flag as incorrect.
He said he’d said, “if Gordon painted it that way I’m sure that is how it was”.
The captain rightly insisted it was wrong, so late evening or not, Brian phoned me.
This flag, ‘G’, International code, means “I require a pilot“.
When assured that was what happened and the painting was correct, the reply came, back, “Some body at P&O is going to get a Bo**ocking!”
The flag should be ‘H’, “I have a pilot”.
“Uganda” went to lay up near King Harry’s Ferry on the beautiful calm river Fal.
Eventually she was sold, re named ‘Triton‘ and sailed to a scrap yard.
I know know Falmouth very well and is well known there having lived and sailed there, worked as a press photographer (Packet Newspaper group), studied at Falmouth Tech, ship and boat building and was head hunted into the Marine industry. Great adventures, a fun part of my miss-spent youth.
See the BI web site or the P&O archives for more information.
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Gordon Frickers © updated 21.06.2021
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