H.M.S. ML 579, torpedo boat flag.  British, c.1943.
Lot 1208
H.M.S. ML 579, torpedo boat flag.
British, c.1943.
Sold for US$ 3,750 inc. premium

Voices of the 20th Century

6 Dec 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
H.M.S. ML 579, torpedo boat flag.  British, c.1943.
H.M.S. ML 579, torpedo boat flag.
British, c.1943. A British Royal Navy National Flag, sewn linen, with central red cross 4 blue sectors and red diagonal cross, with a white surround, the upper luff with stencilled number "579," the right hand side with white linen partly blown out. 830 x 1,300 mm.

A flag rescued from HMS ML 579, a special operations torpedo boat, commissioned in June 1943, and lost at sea off Leros on October 26th, 1943, when, while hiding in a bay from German aircover, she was spotted and sunk by a German Stuka. The ship sank losing 4 men but 13 men survived who were rescued by locals, and passed from island to island until they could get back to Alexandria. The important role of the Motor launches and MTBs in the Mediterranean, as fast striking vessels is not fully appreciated, travelling in packs or alone they were able to do significant damage to axis power transport vessels. This flag is accompanied by a printout of online correspondence between the heirs of the Captain of ML579 and a naval historian. The flag was likely taken down and retained by the Captain, who survived the bombing.
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