World War One

Collection of seven notebooks chronicling the Great War and one mans role in keeping the Royal Navy at sea.

Date: 1910 - 1918

Six volumes in note books blocked to upper board “D.278, Measurement Book” 8vo and a pocket game book also 8vo. Written in pencil in a minute but very readable hand. Volume one is dated 1910, the anonymous author could have been a Petty Officer on the cruiser HMS Intrepid at the time she was being converted to a Minelayer. The author uses the notebook for a very detailed summary of the work involved, the ships company (including which ships the ratings had come from) very precise time sheets for individuals, lists of stores required - ticked off presumably as they were acquired, lists of accidents and their causes and a number engineering diagrams. At the close is a summary of the Refit. Five further volumes covering the years 1915 to 1918, detail the course of the war in great detail with extensive notes, with details of daily events, losses, facts, parliamentary debates reports and opinions. One of the most interesting aspects of his coverage is his grasp of the war on all fronts and a keen interest in what the German newspapers are reporting. He is sceptical of both sides and generally pessimistic about the outcome. “The present government consists of the most reactionary members of both parties. As usual the war is being used by the ruling classes as a means of enriching themselves at the expense of the poorest - 12-715”. He gives a reasoned account for not volunteering for the army and clearly sees that conscription will be introduced. The books also include details of his own wartime activities - he would seem to have been a civilian worker in the ship yard at Dover working on the ships of the Dover patrol. The volume 1916-17 has details of work carried out on the ships of the Patrol as well as the detailed daily coverage of the war including the casualty lists and economic statistics. A remarkable survey of the war from an intelligent well informed working class man. The seventh book is a detailed analysis of daily casualty figures - was his choice of the game book coincidence or a deliberate ironic choice. Glimpses of his interests come through with book lists and records (headed by Wagner). The books are a fascinating read and deserve a detail study. Very good some dust-soiling to the original cloth.


Offered by York Modern Books