This item is sold. It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.
Gavel mounted on pounding block made of relic wood taken from the British Royal Navy ship the HMS Ajax, noted for its participation in World War II, especially in the Mediterranean. Although many relic wood gavel souvenirs have been made from dismantled ships and buildings, this one is unusual in having a separate base with a sounding block made from the same wood. An engraved metal plate attached to the base notes the ship’s participation in the Battle of the River Plate off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay in December 1939, in which the Ajax and other Allied Forces ships pursued and fatally damaged the German ship Admiral Graf Spee. We are pleased to have sold this gavel to the town of Ajax, in Ontario, Canada, for their historical collection.
The HMS Ajax was commissioned in 1935, and based at the America and West Indies Station until the outbreak of World War II, when the ship joined the South America Division. After the Battle of the River Plate, the Ajax was repaired and sent to the Mediterranean, where it took part in attacks on German and Italian warships from 1940 to 1942. The Ajax bombarded Gold Beach during the D-Day invasion and supported the landings in the south of France. The HMS Ajax has the unusual distinction of having a town named after it: Ajax, Ontario, in Canada, was named for the ship after the Battle of the River Plate.
John Cashmore, Ltd. was a ship breaker and scrap metal company at Newport in Monmouthshire, Wales. The firm scrapped a number of ships and locomotives from the 1940s to at least the 1960s.
Inscription on plate: “From HMS ‘Ajax’ who engaged the ‘Admiral Graf Spee’ in the River Plate Action 1939. Dismantled by John Cashmore, Ltd. 1949.”
“HMS Ajax (22).” Wikipedia. 14 September 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ajax_%2822%29 (14 September 2007).