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Christmas Card, 1916

  • Christmas Card, 1916
  • Christmas Card, 1916
  • HMS Atherstone, Wikipaedia Commons. This is photograph SP 106 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-01)

More Info

Rule was serving in HMS Atherstone sweeping the English Channel of German mines. Mines and German U-boats were a constant menace. Ships employed to detect these were called minesweepers.

In the sketch, a line of ships is spread evenly along the water. Under the water a German U-Boat can be seen firing a torpedo on the right-hand side, whilst on the left are three chained mines. Mines were fixed to the sea bed with chains and floated on the surface. If a ship hit a mine, it would explode, often setting off other mines in a cluster.

Built specifically for WWI, the HMS Atherstone was launched from a Scottish shipyard, the Alisa Ship Building Company on the 14th April 1916. The ship was first used for auxiliary patrols, before being commissioned for mine clearance post war. She was re-commissioned during WWII and then sold to the Red Funnel Line in 1949. She was scrapped in 1952.

Key facts: 
  • Christmas card hand-drawn by Robert Rule during his service in WWI. The drawing is a picture of his ship, HMS Atherstone

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