NAVY and ARMY MILITARY LIFE 1900-1914 around Plymouth(MOSTLY!)
plus rare photos of late Victorian life in Plymouth's Royal Naval shore establishments
ROYAL NAVAL ENGINEERING COLLEGE - KEYHAM
ROYAL NAVAL HOSPITAL - STONEHOUSE
ROYAL MARINES BARRACKS - STONEHOUSE
RAGLAN BARRACKS - DEVONPORT
and not forgetting that "home ashore" of
Mrs. Agnes Weston's Sailor's Rest
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Steve Johnson is a 1997 winner of the Devon Heritage Award for excellence in outreach heritage education.
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These images are from early 20th century and late 19th editions of The Navy and Army Illustrated which was a news periodical to publicise the wonders of the Army and Navy that made much of the map of the world pink!
NAVAL VESSELS 1914-1915
close-up of submarine's hydroplanes
Australian submarine AE-1
detail of deck gun on unknown submarine, gun is lowered back into casing on diving
unknown "U-Boot"...German submarine
fin, or "conning tower" of E-class submarine
stern view of E-class submarine
submarine tied up alongside HMS Victory at Portsmouth to act as electricity generator for a cinema show on the Victory
Russian submarine "Karp"
French submarines "Gymnote" and "Gustav Zede"
SURFACE SHIPS 1914-1915
aft guns of HMS Dreadnought
HMS SWIFT fastest in RN at 39 knots, or 44mph
HMS ABOUKIR Cressy class destroyer
HMS HOGUE Cressy
Admiralty Yacht "Enchantress" acting as a field hospital for officers
HMS HARDY the first completely oil fuelled destroyer
HMS BULWARK blew up at Sheerness for no apparent reason with an almost complete loss of all life
HMS IRON DUKE
HMS BIRMINGHAM who sank the U 15
HMS AMPHION first vessel lost to mine with loss of 100 crew
GUNS ON HMS THUNDERER
HMS DREADNOUGHT flying the admirals flag
HMS LAERTES an L class destroyer
HMS PEGASUS ?
IN RARE PHOTOS circa 1898
For many years the Royal Navy had an Engineering College at Keyham in Plymouth. In later years it was based at R.N.E.C. Manadon. That has now closed and long before that the original building at Keyham, in more recent times being behind the Dockyard walls, has been demolished. This is the old building. Artificers who studied there would live in student cabins. Notice the cricket bat, tennis racquet and Japanese paper fan. There was a rather luxurious "smoking room" and a somewhat more spartan and austere recreation room. Keep-fit, PE, or whatever it was called must have been high on the agenda as the college had a fully equipped gym. Billiards, as pool was called..or was it snooker, was also well provided for with a billiard room.I bet those starched collars were stiff! Skill at arms was still taught with regular visits to a rifle range. Here is the 1st. Cricket Eleven and the 1st. Football team. This fellow is the Chief Captain of Students and here are the students "boy artificers" in their daily working rig. Whatever is being taught here is a mystery...it is captioned as a"steaming class." This looks like the moulding shop, while this must be the carpenter's shop, so this must be the fitting shop, which means that this must be the smithy. We do not know anything about this photo except that it is captioned "at work." Standing on the main steps into the building are these members of staff...now....does the man in the centre with a bent knee seem familiar to you the reader of my web pages? Well I reckon he is, or perhaps became the Commanding Officer of HMS Defiance... Captain Henry Bradwine Jackson RN. Have a look and see what you think.
An article of 1898 tells us that the young men would be roused daily at 5.30am by the furious ringing of a large bell and also (if summer) a porter shouting the call..."bathers turn out"...this being aimed at those students who had not yet passed their swimming test! Speedily donning their flannels, not for a dip in a nice heated pool, but to leap into the cold tidal waters of the Tamar estuary from the Camber part of Devonport Dockyard. Those that could swim could have a less hasty awakening with a breakfast at 7am. Prayers would be said beforehand.
Study was intense, not just naval engineering but maths....pure and high theoretical,... algebra, chemistry, electricity, magnetism, all work being examined several times a year and the summer exams being held under the supervision of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
After study ashore, in his third year, the student would go "afloat" and fit into ships engine rooms, the fittings he has made in the college workshops. Also he would spend three weeks in a Torpedo Shop. All in all he would be at the R.N.E.C. for five years. Apart from all the highly technical studies in his chosen field of engineering, he would also do basic military training, squad drill, rifle and revolver practice, not forgetting cutlass practice as well as boat handling skills....whew..!!!
H.M.S. DRAKE circa 1897
IN RARE PHOTOS
HMS Drake is still fully functional as a naval barracks today. Many of the external views you can see here are virtually unchanged to this day.
A BARRACK ROOM
a "SING SONG" room off the canteen
THE WASH HOUSE
CAPTAIN AND HIS OFFICERS
CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS
JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD
Signalling, in the days before radio, was taught at HMS Drake. It was so vital, being the ears and voice of each man-of-war. Orders could be anything from an invitation to dinner, to orders to engage the enemy. Here is a practical class being held near what is now the cricket pitch at Drake. I'm sure the flag pole being used for flag signalling in the 1890`s is on the same spot as todays..I wonder if it is the same pole? Here is semaphore signalling, while this view shows us signalling with mirrors. Summer or dry weather allows an outside theory class, and later they get afloat to practice what has been preached.
ROYAL NAVAL HOSPITAL, STONEHOUSE, PLYMOUTH circa 1897
IN RARE PHOTOS
The Royal Naval Hospital in Stonehouse, Plymouth only closed it's doors to patients in the mid 1990`s. It is now undergoing commercial redevelopment, but the bulk of the buildings fabric will be preserved.
When in use in the 19th. century patients would come by boat to a special hospital quay, as the hospital was built on the banks of a large tidal estuary...now filled in. However the Army Hospital,( now Devonport High School for boys ) on the other side of the river always brought it's patients in my land...probably as they were army and not navy.....and armies march, they do not sail!!
Here we see a patient arriving by boat. The head of the hospital around this time was Sir Henry F. Norbury M.D., K.C.B. the Inspector General of Hospitals and Fleets. The spacious layout of the various hospital buildings can be seen here. The idea was to have lots of ventilation and light as well as fresh air passing between the buildings for health reasons and to carry germs away. Also each building would be self sufficient for a certain disease, thus reducing the risk of cross contamination. This is the accident ward, and these "inmates" are referred to as "old hulks." Sick berth attendants are pictured here, while this one shows the officers. I feel sure that these lovely nursing sisters could look after me!
ROYAL MARINES BARRACKS, DURNFORD ST, STONEHOUSE, PLYMOUTH circa 1897
IN RARE PHOTOS
Stonehouse Barracks, also wrongly called Durnford Street Barracks is still an active Royal Marine Barracks.
SERGEANTS MESS ROOM
A FINE BODY OF MEN....some of whom would probably sadly become fine bodies of men
RAGLAN BARRACKS, DEVONPORT, PLYMOUTH
IN RARE PHOTOS circa 1898
The guardhouse still remains, bricked up and bleak. The Brickfields sports track and ground occupies the "glacis" or "killing field" of the fortifications around Plymouth Dock, which would have included Raglan Barracks.
1899 St. DAVID'S DAY WITH THE ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS AT RAGLAN BARRACKS The Brickfields are visible in the background as is also the Devonport Technical School which is now part of the Plymouth College of Further Education at King's Road.The parade ground which is the main part of this photo is now modern housing. Here we have the officers of the 2nd. Battalion Gloucester Regiment as their men undergo bayonet practice and line up on parade.
AGGIE WESTON'S ROYAL SAILORS REST, DEVONPORT, PLYMOUTH
IN RARE PHOTOS
Aggie Westons still exists today in modern (1950`s) premises in Devonport, Plymouth, at the bottom of Albert Road near the Devonport Dockyard. It still provides the same home from home as it always has but on a smaller scale as the fleet has been reduced. Rooms, called "cabins" provided cosy accommodation ashore for her "sons of the house." The Royal Sailor's Rest as an institution dates from 1873, when Miss Weston, with the support of her friend and helper Miss Wintz began the "task of mothering " the sailors of the Royal Navy at Devonport. She called the sailors "Bluejackets"and began her efforts by hiring a small back kitchen in Stoke, Plymouth. Here she provided good and satisfactory meals for the Bluejackets and Marines. Eventually these developed into "palaces for sailors" that became nationally and internationally known and respected. Her effect on the fleet, in terms of behaviour ashore, respect by the public, as well as more basically providing nutrition to the fleet ashore, is legendary.
In days past, with a huge fleet, vast numbers of men, and ships companies being away from home for extended periods...even within the UK, Aggies provided a family environment in a strange port. From within the Dockyard walls, Aggies stands imposing, and this view makes it look like a hotel, which in a way it was. Jack sits here in the Petty Officers Reading Room, while here they may play games or do other recreation. Note the glass bottle on the table which is a Codd bottle in the top, acting as stopper. See my "bottle" web page. This shows a very grand and luxuriant dining room and front bar.....mmmmmm I fancy that cake on the counter.
an"Avro" bi-plane from 1914
a sea plane
sea plane being recovered from water
sea plane aboard HMS HIBERNIA
British Dog-drawn machine gun and in action.
Gun barbette of World War I cruiser:
4.7 inch gun on armed merchant ship
filling shrapnel shell with bullets at Royal Laboratory, Woolwich
6 inch gun
Towing a target out to sea off Plymouth for "Target practice seawards." This target is being towed by HMS Lord Nelson.
Whitehead torpedo in tube and anti-torpedo nets positioned around ship's hull.
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