Welcome to our new website. Launched 100 years after the outbreak of WW1, it draws on original research from primary sources to chart the history of two small ships while Frank Hanna served in them. Frank Hanna has a special place in history. A contemporary journalist believed he was the first person to obtain a command through Winston Churchill's Mates scheme, set up to promote outstanding men from the "lower decks."Before then it was almost impossible for sailors from the ranks to become officers. After promotion they were known as Mates, to distinguish them from the better off and better-connected young men, who started their naval careers as officer cadets.

Officers on board M30: Lt Frank Hanna second from left
Next year, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli. One of the ships Frank served in, the Monitor M30, saw action supporting the troops. It was hit by shell fire there and destroyed, although Frank Hanna and most of her crew were saved. Her sister ship the Monitor M33, was at Gallipoli too. One of only two WW1 ships still in existence, she is currently being restored at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth. Information on life onboard a Monitor during WW1 is scarce. The research on this website will be available to those who visit M33. You can read it in the Just A Number section on the right hand side section of our website.

The other section, On Patrol, tells the story of Frank Hanna's service in Torpedo Boat No.1 as it defended the east coast of England from German mines and submarine warfare at the outbreak of WW1.

We will be regularly updating this blog with more information about small ships in WW1, including at Gallipoli. We welcome all your comments.

The Two Small Ships Society                                                     March 2014

M33 in Portsmouth Dockyard in 1992, close to the stern of Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory, with the last Vulcan "stealth bomber" flying overhead.


  1. A fascinating blog which sheds light on a time which can often seem remote, despite the fact that most of us are only two or three generations away from the people who experienced WW1.

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