Genius of Navigation Statue, Toulon

January 29, 2011

Dear Mac,

I have been trying to identify the City (English, Italian, French or other) and the Greek or Roman "Mariner" Statue in photo

1.  Can you suggest a place I could post Photo 1 to get it identified? My dad was enlisted /employed on the *Oronsay, Moreton Bay, Largs Bay *between 28 Jan 1938 and 30 July 1939 and then as a
passenger* Nov 1939 *on *the Strathnaver* to Australia.

These photos taken of my father between Mar 1938 and Dec 1939.

Perhaps the people in photo 2 are fellow shipmates on shore leave also?  He was employed on the Oronsay 

Joseph Horan c1938-39

Joseph Horan + shipmates / friends c1938-39

Passport No. A192701 issued> *Issued Sydney NSW  - Passport expires: 27/1/1943***
*Continuous Certificate of Discharge* No. R178821
Oronsay Ship No. 147948
Rating: Assistant Steward -- Described as: Height: 5.9"
Eyes: Blue 
Grey  Hair: Fair Hair Complexion: Fair

1938 27 Jan

Passport No. A192701 issued

Issued Sydney NSW  - Passport expires: 27/1/1943

1938 28 Jan 

Continuous Certificate of Discharge No. R178821

Oronsay Ship No. 147948

Rating: Assistant Steward – Described as: Height: 5.9” Eyes: Blue Grey  Hair: Fair Hair Complexion: Fair

1938 28 Jan

Oronsay departed Sydney

1938 25 Mar

Oronsay arrived at Tilbury

Assistant Steward

1938 22 Apr

Oronsay Departed Tilbury to ?

1938 29 Jul

Oronsay arrived Tilbury

Assistant Steward/Tourist Aiter

1938 30 Jul

Discharged from Oronsay (Official No.  147948)

Reason:   1st Issue (?)

1938 26 Aug

Oronsay Departed Tilbury to ?

Tourist Waiter -

1938 1 Dec

Oronsay Discharged / arrived Tilbury

Tourist Waiter -

1938 16 Dec

Oronsay Engaged Tilbury

Assistant Steward

1939 31 Mar

“Oronsay” arrived Tilbury

Joseph age approx 35 yrs

1939 31 Mar

Joined the “Morton Bay”

Morton Bay Discharged Southhampton (date unreadable)

Assistant Steward – The “Morton Bay” was a British Ship registered in London and managed by Shaw Savill & Albion Co Ltd. records held by :- Registry of Shipping & Seamen,

Borough of Tottenham (England) – Identity No. 4560

1939 1 Jun

TSS Largs Bay No. 137225 Engaged Victoria Docks

Assistant Steward

1939 30 Jul

TSS Largs Bay Discharged

Departed Ship

1939 23 Dec

Exit Permit No. 11618 expires (not valid for any war zone)

Immigration Officer stamp 28 Nov 1939 Southampton

1939 26 Nov

Strathnaver departed Southampton Eng (Exit Permit No. 11618  ) to Sydney

1939 3 Dec

… arrived Gibraltar Visa Stamp

Passenger in Transit

1939 6 Dec

… arrived Malta Visa Police Stamp

Passenger in Transit

1939 9 Dec

… arrived Suez Canal - Port Said Visa Stamp

Shore Leave

1939 18 Dec

… arrived Bombay Visa Stamp

Through Passenger

1939 22 Dec

… Arrived Colombo Visa Stamp

Allow on Shore – Harbour Police

1940 4 Jan

…Arrived Sydney…Customs Sydney NSW Stamp

1940 7 Jan

Strathnaver requisitioned by the Ministry of Shipping (Ministry of War Transport) for service as a troop transport

Sales from Sydney in the first Australian and New Zealand Near East Convoy

Thanking you in anticipation.

Noni Brown
Gold Coast Australia



Your statue is situated in the French port of Toulon, close to the waterfront.

Toulon's story is a bit like Marseille's, only on a smaller scale: industrious, noisy, busy, a melting pot - a wonderful place if you like to live in a vibrant city, not so great if you are looking for peace and charm. In other words it does not have to be on your list of sights you absolutely need to visit in the Provence. But there are some interesting places in town and the villages of Mourillon to the east and Saint Mandrier southwest are quite beautiful vacation locations well known to the French. The scenery is supreme: Toulon is situated between a mountain range topped by Mont Faron and Mont Caume and the Rade de Toulon, a large bay protected from the sea by two peninsulas. It is the major naval port of the French fleet in the Mediterranean.

Toulon's population is about 170.000, the metropolitan area counts roughly 520.000 inhabitants.

The first immigrants on record were the Greeks in the 7th century BC, then the Celto-Ligurians in the 4th century BC and finally the Romans in the 2nd century BC. They called the small settlement Telo Martius - Telo, either for the goddess of springs or from the Latin tol, the base of the hill - and Martius, for the god of war. Telo Martius became was known for producing the red dye used in the purple color of imperial robes. It was made from the murex, a local sea snail abundant on the rocks around here. The area provided an excellent natural harbour for ships and the settlement and changed its name over the centuries from from Telo to Tholon or Tolon in the Provençal language and Toulon in French. In the 5th century, the Roman Empire was about to end, Toulon was christianized like the rest of the Provence. During the following centuries it suffered terribly from invasions by pirates, barbarians and finally the Saracens. In the 11th century the Counts of Provence took control and in 1486 most of the Provence and with it Toulon became a part of France. In 1494 Charles VIII had the first military shipyard established here and from then on Toulon became the main naval port in the Mediterranean Sea for France. The construction of the Tour Royale, protecting the harbor, was finished in 1524. In the 17th century, under Louis XIV and his Minister Colbert, naval fortifications were significantly expanded. During the French Revolution, Toulon is handed to the British fleet by its Royalist inhabitants. But the British are expelled by a French force whose artillery is led by a certain Napoleon Bonaparte. From 1803 to 1805 Toulon was blockaded by the British fleet under Admiral Nelson. When the German Army occupies southern France in November 1942 the French scuttled their fleet in Toulon. One year later the Allied bombings destroys most of the port at great loss of life. Finally, in August 28, 1944 Toulon is liberated by the Allied Forces.


The Town

The place where most visitors end up is Quai Stalingrad between the inner port and the Vieille Ville, the old town. The buildings directly at the inner port with its pretty quay are non-descript modern - the result of some unfortunate decisions made when rebuilding this area after World War II. But walking along the quay with many boats and yachts on one side and cafés and restaurants on the other side is relaxing and you overlook the architecture behind it. The *Rade de Toulon*, rade means a protected place for ships to anchor, is one of the best natural anchorages on the Mediterranean, and after Rio de Janeiro the world's second largest. The Peninsula of Giens and the Peninsula of Saint Mandrier sur Mer protect it from the sea. The Rade shelters the port of Saint Mandrier sur Mer, the port of La Seyne sur Mer, as well as both the arsenal (naval port) and the commercial port of Toulon. The arsenal, home of the French Mediterranean fleet, is not open to the public. But you can visit the Musée Naval de la Marine <http://www.musee-marine.fr/site/fr/toulon_presentation>, Naval Museum at the western end of Quai Stalingrad with its impressive doorway. You will be amazed even if you are not into naval history by the remarkable collection of enormous ship models from the 18th century as well as other naval memorabilia, such as figureheads and carvings. You find a number of works from Pierre Puget (1620 - 1694), a  sculptor, architect and painter, a native of Marseille. Amongst the paintings is a huge fresco of old Toulon is by Joseph Verner. From Quai Stalingrad boat trips take you to the Petite Rade, a trip that includes the arsenal and dry docks. You can have a good look at ships of the French fleet or rather what's left of it after decades of underinvestment.

Musée de la Marine

Here is The Genius of Navigation Statue: by local sculptor Daumas.

Best regards,


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