A painting of the destroyer HMS Somali by James Leech - presented to Arnold Nyburg DSO in 1974. Lt Cmdr Arnold Nyburg was in commanding officer of the 28th Flotilla of tank landing craft on June 6th 1944. During the assault on Gold beach his LCT received a direct hit on the bridge, disabling the ship and leaving Nyburg unconscious - for his part in the action he was awarded the DSC (one of the first to be earned during D-Day).
Although we cannot find his name amongst the recorded crew members of the Somali he must surely have had a direct connection with this warship which had been sunk earlier in the war whilst escorting an arctic convoy - PQ14.
The Tribal class destroyer Somali, launched in 1937, had a notable if short life on several counts.
She was the first ship of the Royal Navy to capture an enemy vessel in WW2 - taking the German freighter Hannah Boge as a prize on September 3rd 1939. During 1940 whilst involved in the Norwegian campaign she was bombed and damaged. Later in the year she, along with destroyers Matabele and Punjabi, shelled and sank the German WBS Adolf Vinnen, which had been engaged in covert operations. In May 1941 she intercepted and boarded the German weather ship Munchen which was equipped with an Enigma coding machine. Although the crew threw the top secret machine overboard they neglected to
dispose of the vital codebooks and their capture gave Bletchley Park's code breakers the vital information they had long sought and as a result German naval coded signals could henceforth be read.
Whilst escorting Arctic convoy PQ14 the Somali was torpedoed and although taken in tow by sister ship the Ashanti, broke her back and sank in heavy weather five days later.
The painting measures some 20 by 30 inches whilst overall dimension are about 2 by 3ft. Although the frame perhaps does not do the subject justice it is the original so we have left things as they are.
Included in the sale are an original christmas card from Arnold Nyburg to his wife whilst serving on the Somali, photos of the painting being presented to him plus various copy documents of the ships service history.
Price £520 €600.13 $678.39