Original British WW2 Hall-Marked Presentation Silver Cigarette Case with Inscription - Dated 1943

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. Just received and we'd all love to know the back story behind this item. It is a fine solid HALLMARKED STERLING SILVER Cigarette Case, apparently made, according to the date letter in 1941. The outside is monogrammed with the initials J.T. for John Thompson. It is marked H B R O S inside diamonds before "Anchor" "Lion" "R", the hallmark of Birmingham, England, in the year 1941. The case is heavy (0.4lbs) and substantial, measuring 5 x 3 1/4 inches, and has an elastic strap inside for holding cigarettes in place.

On the interior of the lid is nicely engraved:-

Presented by
the War Risks Underwriters
to Chief Engineer John Thompson
S/T Nairana
as a memento of his courage & devotion
to duty when his ship was damaged
by Enemy Action. 23th Sept. 1943


Internet research tells us that "H.M.S. NAIRANA" was launched May 20th 1943, and then completed and commissioned on December 12th. of 1943 and joined the war in the North Atlantic. Most likely she was damaged by an attack during working up, as the shipyards were common targets during the war. She saw action and at the end of WW2 was decommissioned in 1946 and transferred to the Dutch Navy until 1948 when she was returned. She was eventually scrapped in 1971. She had a compliment of 728 men a displacement of of over 14,000 tons and was 528 feet in length.

I am puzzled by the initials that appear to be in script S.T. before NAIRANA in the Cigarette Case, but at that date she was not yet commissioned which followed nearly three months later. The ship had originally been intended as a merchant Vessel, built by John Brown & Co in Clydebank, part of the Glasgow shipbuilding industry. It was then chosen with three other merchant ships to become an Escort Carrier. Any light that can be thrown on this would be gratefully appreciated. All in all a quality hallmarked Silver Cigarette Case presented to the Chief Engineer clearly for some extraordinary action of bravery and courage.

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