Rare personal journals fill in navy history

SHARING STORIES From left, Commodore Mike Mansergh CBE Royal, William Hardy and Dulcie Pyle
SHARING STORIES From left, Commodore Mike Mansergh CBE Royal, William Hardy and Dulcie Pyle
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A JOURNAL containing rare and personal memories of life in the Royal Navy at the start of the 20th Century has been donated to the HMS Collingwood museum.

Dulcie Pyle, 90, gave the museum journals which had been kept by her father, Chief Yeoman William Brooman. The journals detailed his 25 years in the Royal Navy up to 1937.

Commodore Mike Mansergh CBE, Commanding Officer of HMS Collingwood, received them from Dulcie, who had made a special trip to HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

Dulcie said: ‘My father was a brilliant and lovely man, he would be helpful to anyone and the Royal Navy was his life.

‘He loved to write, especially about what he saw on his travels. I recount him saying, “I don’t think there’s a country I haven’t visited”.

‘If he ever received a letter he would send a 14-page one back!’

Amongst the collection is a diary with detailed descriptions of Chief Yeoman Brooman’s time served onboard 21 ships.

The journals contain description of the crew members, photographs of HRH King George V on board of HMS Queen Elizabeth and newspaper cuttings about the Japanese negotiations dating back to 1922.

William Brooman joined the Royal Navy as 1st class boy on November 28, 1912 and completed his naval career as Chief Yeoman of Signals on January 17, 1937. 

During this time, he served on various battleships, cruisers, an aircraft carrier and several destroyers. 

His journals include his account of being sunk by torpedo, witnessing the surrender of the German Grand Fleet in 1918 as well as his time on HMS Hood.

Dulcie had been looking after the journals since he died, aged 70, in 1967.

Warrant Officer Rosie Dodd, who was at the presentation, said: ‘The collection is fantastic; such documents deserved a correct receiving and recording in history.’

The Naval Historical Branch will look over the journals and add them to the Royal Navy museum.

The Royal Navy hope the journals will be an inspiration to future communicators and provide researchers with information on Royal Navy life.