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Boxing on board

Catalogue number 35266

Boxing match on a British battleship

Boxing was a way of keeping fit when space was limited and also developed an aggressive spirit. Here a group of officers and men are watching a boxing match on the quarterdeck of a British battleship at anchor some time during the Second World War. Often matches were organized between different divisions of the same warship and bets were placed on the contestants.

13.4cm x 8.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 78180

Boxing on an American warship

Boxing match on an American warship, probably at Scapa Flow during the First World War. The three judges are in place and the referee is giving his last instructions to the two boxers, one of whom still has his tracksuit top on. Boxing matches and sports in general, were popular ways of passing the time away when a ship was in such a remote anchorage as Scapa Flow. A Royal Navy Arethusa class light cruiser with the post-1918 tripode mast is in the background.

12.9cm x 7.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 68031

An impromptu boxing match on a French cruiser

An impromptu boxing match has been organized on the deck of a French cruiser, this photograph was part of a series of photographs of the cruiser Dupleix taken in the 1930s. There is neither a formal ring nor designated judges but an officer acts as the referee.

5.8cm x 10.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 36111

Royal Navy versus US Navy

Here we have a much more formal affair and appears to be a match between the Royal Navy and the US Navy. Sitting to the right of the ring we can see US Navy officers and British and American flags can be seen behind the ring. There are three judges by the ringside but there is no referee. The ship looks like one of the old Royal Navy training and accommodation ships. In the first row behind the ring and at the extreme right are three men with first aid badges on the left arm…just in case! Notice the trophies on the table to the left.

13cm x 8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 43075

Learning to box

Physical education including boxing had an important place in the training of sailors and here two young trainees are boxing in front of their colleagues on board the training ship HMS Implacable based at Portsmouth 1939.

17.2cm x 11.8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 102039

Royal Navy boxing team

A severe-looking Lieutenant Commander and a Petty Officer see over this lightweight boxing team probable at a Naval training establishment (NE?). Competitions would be organized between divisions on the same ship or between ships of the same fleet and much betting would go on! The winning team would be the pride of the ship.

12.9cm x 7.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 102066

Training at the French Navy base, Cherbourg

Here's an aggressive squad ready for a fight at around the time of the First World War. Boxing was not just to keep fit but also necessary skill for forming a naval landing party which may have to fight on land in a trouble spot. We can read part of the tally as "Défense Fixe…". The photograph was taken in Cherbourg.

13.9cm x 9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 70095

A match between the Royal Navy and the FNFL

These two photographs are from a series of four showing a boxing tournament between the Royal Navy and the Forces navales françaises libres (FNFL). In the top photograph, one of the boxers seems to be in trouble. The front row of seats has been reserved for the FNFL sailors, bottom photograph, and the scene takes place in Britain. From the style of the houses, it looks like somewhere in the South of England.

15,2cm x 10,7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 70094

A match between the Royal Navy and the FNFL

15,2cm x 10,5cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 54007

Boxing on HMS Centaur

A boxing ring has been set up in the hangar deck of HMS Centaur with Hawker Sea Hawks in the background. Everything is ready for the match, bucket, stool, towel, sponge and the bell on the judge's table. This photograph is prior to the 1959 in-flight collision involving the Sea Hawk XE34, seen just behind the ring.

15,2cm x 10,5cm Gelatin silver print