There was always a saying ‘Join the navy and see the world’, well they certainly did in times past.
Here is the diary and log of Albert William Symonds whose journal containing his memories of the Battle of Jutland I published a few weeks ago.
Looking at the log, we see that the cruiser HMS Leviathan left Portsmouth and made her way to Gibraltar and Malta, arriving in Malta on December 17, 1905.
She remained there until February 10, 1906, when she made a trip around Europe calling in en route to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Sardinia and Greece.
One of the places to which she called was Corfu in the Ionian Islands. These days holidaymakers think nothing of jetting off to this location without a second’s thought. But 110 years ago? I don’t suppose anyone outside of the navy had ever heard of it.
I have scanned both pages of the log and I am sure many ex-naval people will be amazed at the cruising that took place before the war to end all wars began 10 years later.
How many of you remember the location on the second picture? It is the main entrance to Rugby Camp at Hilsea, Portsmouth, but for the life of me I cannot work out where this was exactly.
I’m guessing that the building on the right was the guard house. If you could let me know I’d be obliged.
In the final picture we see crew members collecting their ration of tobacco and soap from HMS Leviathan in 1906.
You will notice that all the sailors are barefoot. They must have devised a way of walking so they did not get splinters in the soles of their feet.
Although a century after Trafalgar and with ships now made of iron and steel, the men who manned them remained basically the same as Nelson’s men.
Can you imagine any modern sailor having to fall in for a soap ration?