WW1 Pair. Wilson, Chilthorne nr Yeovil. HMS Sandhurst “Dummy ship”

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A nice pair to somewhat of an oddity.

Correctly named K43967 WT Wilson STO1 RN

Born in December 1885, William Thomas Wilson worked as a carman and hailed from Chilthorne South Somerset. He enlisted 4th July 1917.

He served aboard HMS Sandhurst which was originally the Manipur (1906) and served as a dummy HMS Indomitable and as a repair ship.

In 1914, Manipur (1906) was requisitioned by the Royal Navy to be used as a dummy copy of the battleship HMS Indomitable. The idea for this deception is said to have come from Winston Churchill who wrote the following in October 1914 after becoming First Lord of the Admiralty. The conversion work, including the addition of two false funnels, was apparently done by Harland & Wolff at Belfast:

“It is necessary to construct without delay a dummy fleet. Ten merchant vessels…should be selected at once. They should be distributed among various private yards not specially burdened with warship building at the present time. They are then to be turned mocked up to represent fast battleships of the First and Second Battle Squadrons. The actual size need not correspond exactly, as it is notoriously difficult to judge the size of vessels at sea, and frequently even destroyers are mistaken for cruisers. We are bearing in mind particularly aerial and periscope observation where deception is much more easy. . . Very little metal would be required, and practically the whole work should be executed in wood or canvas”   Winston Churchill 1914

On original silk ribbons

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