Lieutenant Commander Stephen Halden Beattie (1908-1975)

A half-length portrait of Lieutenant-Commander Beattie, wearing lieutenant-commander’s undress uniform. The sitter took part in the successful raid on St Nazaire, aimed at the destruction of the lock gates of the great dry dock. This was achieved by filling the bows of the ex-American destroyer HMS 'Campbeltown’ with explosive and detonating her beside the gates. The raid took place on the night of 27 March 1942, when Beattie commanded the ‘Campbeltown’. Although under heavy enemy fire, he steamed in the direction of the lock gate and manoeuvred his ship in the correct position for the destruction of the only German occupied dry dock capable of handling large battleships. At the same time British commandos landed and destroyed the remaining installations. Beattie was subsequently taken prisoner.

This portrait was painted in 1944 on a German bed sheet in a prisoner of war camp. Later Beattie was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Legion d’Honneur and the Croiz de Guerre with Palms. Lieutenant-Commander Beattie’s Victoria Cross is publicly displayed at the Imperial War Museum in London, England.

The painting is signed ‘John Worsley Marlag ‘O’ Germany 1944’. It was received from the War Artists Commission in 1946.

Object Details

ID: BHC2536
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Display - QH
Creator: Worsley, John Godfrey Bernard
Date made: 1944
Exhibition: War Artists at Sea
People: Beattie, Stephen Halden
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1947
Measurements: Painting: 762 mm x 635 mm; Frame: 930 mm x 775 mm x 80 mm

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