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HMS AGINCOURT manuscript diary for sale

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#1 MartH



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Posted 16 March 2010 - 03:13 pm

A sort of scrapbook come diary is for sale, written by the commander of HMS.Agincourt. It's circa 3,713, but sounds very interesting.

I've copied the description, enjoy. Was the Agincourt any good?

Description of book:-

On offer is a superb relic of World War I and British naval history being a manuscript diary kept by the Commander of the Royal Navy's famed dreadnought the 'HMS Agincourt' at the beginning of WWI during her assignment as part of the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea engaging the German Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet. This diary begins July 29th with a call to mobilize and then there is the immediate outbreak of the war in August 1914 through to December 1914, very neatly written in ink, with one photograph, some sketches, cruising orders and newspaper cuttings. This important, historical first hand account was handwritten by George Napier Tomlin, RN Rear Admiral [1875 - 1947] gives first hand content and detailed insight into the workings of the British Grand Fleet and documents the confusion that existed in the immediate days after the war broke out on August 5th, 1914. Tomlin's original assignment as he notes on the 30th is aboard the HMS Majestic. Tomlin writes regarding the appointment as one: 'which I look upon as an insult. If there is to be a fight, I want to be in a fighting ship & not in one recovered from a scrap heap'. Excitingly his assignment changes and he is one of the first aboard a newly 'commandeered' Turkish ship renamed Agincourt. Collectors and historians of the First World War will also delight knowing that diaries unlike letters were not censored. The British had concentrated their Fleet at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands and 'HMS Agincourt' was sailing back and forth to the Bight of Heligoland to engage the Kaiser's Fleet. Much can be learned about life aboard a British warship as the journal is replete with details about navigational positions, fleet details, officers' names and positions, courts martial administered, etc. Much anxiety existed about German submarines and mines and Tomlin's drawings elaborate on mines in the North Sea as well as the British Fortification with wire nets of the Harbour of Buncrana, Ireland. Frequent reference is made to the C in C [Commander in Charge, Jellicoe] who had his headquarters on the 'HMS Iron Duke'. The diary also shows the concerns about Zeppelins and mentions their appearance. Visits aboard the 'HMS Agincourt' by 1st Lord Winston Churchill were recorded on September 17 while the ship was anchored at Loch Ewe in Scotland. Finally, Tomlin mentions the sinking of various British and German ships, among them the German U-18 and the German Battle Cruiser 'SMS Scharnhorst' by British Ships off the Falkland Islands where the famous German Admiral Graf Spee met his fate. Political Background: In 1904, in response to the build-up of the German Kaiserliche Marine's High Seas Fleet, it was decided that a northern base was needed, to control the entrances to the North Sea. Originally, Rosyth was considered for the base, and then Invergordon at Cromarty Firth but construction in both places was delayed, leaving them largely unfortified by the time of the First World War. Scapa Flow was used many times for exercises in the years leading up to the war. When the time came for the fleet to move to a northern station, Scapa Flow was chosen for the main base of the British Grand Fleet, even though it was also unfortified. John Rushworth Jellicoe, admiral of the Grand Fleet, was constantly nervous about potential submarine or destroyer attacks on Scapa Flow, and the base was reinforced with minefields, artillery, and concrete barriers starting in 1914. These fears were borne out when German U-boats twice attacked British ships in Scapa Flow, though the attacks themselves did no damage. The first, by U-18, took place in November 1914; but the sub was rammed by a trawler searching for submarines while it was trying to enter Scapa Flow, causing the submarine to flee and then sink. 12mo, 100+ pages. VG.

#2 simonharley



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Posted 17 March 2010 - 02:42 pm

QUOTE (MartH @ Mar 16 2010, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A sort of scrapbook come diary is for sale, written by the commander of HMS.Agincourt. It's circa 3,713, but sounds very interesting.

I've copied the description, enjoy. Was the Agincourt any good?

In case anyone has circa US$5,585 to spare to save this manuscript for the British nation:


Not that many battleships have books written about them (see Hough's The Big Battleship). Tomlin wasn't actually her "Commander", i.e. Executive Officer, but her Navigating Officer. It would be very nice to be able to read Tomlin's diary but unfortunately I am relatively skint.