The Western Union Fleet, Mount's Bay

© the artist's estate. Image credit: Penlee House Gallery & Museum

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The Western Union Fleet sailed into Mount's Bay on June 30 1949. It comprised 109 ships from Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Altogether there were 22,000 seamen. The fleet was formed shortly after the Western Union Pact was introduced, and was part of a huge peace-keeping exercise carried out in the Bay of Biscay. En route, the ships gathered in Mount's Bay, where they stayed for four days before heading out past the Isles of Scilly to engage in submarine detection and aircraft bombardment exercises. Field Marshall Montgomery flew to Penzance to greet the fleet and spent so long viewing it from the air that he lost his landing slot and had to circle the Bay until he could land safely.

Penlee House Gallery & Museum



The Western Union Fleet, Mount's Bay




oil on canvas


H 95 x W 146 cm

Accession number

PEZPH : 1989.207

Acquisition method

commissioned by the Borough of Penzance, 1949

Work type


Penlee House Gallery & Museum

Morrab Road, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4HE England

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