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Ships and Sailors › Articles

Ocean liners, submarines, destroyers, aircraft carriers, battle ships - and yachts. Photos of all kinds of ships used in war, commerce, and pleasure and the men and women who sail on them.

The ocean - and even large bodies of water - conjures images of mystery, romance, and sometimes danger in the human imagination. Soothing to some and scary to others, sailing the seas has always been an act of adventure. Whether during wartime or peacetime, escapades on ships have been amazing.

For instance:

  • After Jeanne de Clisson's husband was beheaded as a traitor in 1343, she sold her property, bought 3 ships, and became a pirate as a way to seek retribution. Her flagship was named My Revenge. For 13 years, she sought out French ships (the French government had killed her husband) and killed the crews.


  • During the War of 1812 between the newly formed United States and the British, a shipwrecked British crew was rescued by a US sealer ship near the Falkland Islands. The captain of the American ship told the Brits that their two countries were at war but rescued them on humanitarian grounds. While the American crew was on a nearby island seeking more provisions, the British crew absconded with their ship, stranding the Americans on the island. They were rescued in 1814 by another British crew.


  • In 1784, a Japanese treasure hunter, along with 43 others, was shipwrecked on an island in the Pacific. With no fresh water and only crab and coconuts to eat, the sailors began to die. Before his own death the treasure hunter wrote about their plight on pieces of coconut bark, put the letter in a bottle, and threw it into the sea. In 1935, about 151 years later, the bottle washed ashore at the village in Japan where the treasure hunter was born.


  • During World War II, a minesweeper from the Netherlands didn't have the weapons to adequately defend itself so the crew gathered jungle vegetation and disguised the ship as a small island, painting the hull to resemble rocks. She was the only ship of her class in the region that survived.


These vintage photos of ships of all kinds, and the people who lived on and worked with them, show some of the challenges and thrills of this type of transportation.