[ The life of a Victorian Naval Cadet and Midshipman. ] Autograph Log Book of George Tate Medd, compiled during service on seven Royal Navy ships: Inflexible, Imaum, Wellesley, Alarm, Victory, Arrogant, Britannia.

Author: 
George Tate Medd (1837-1907), Royal Navy officer, later Vicar of Whitchurch [ naval; maritime; HMS Inflexible, Imaum, Wellesley, Alarm, Victory, Arrogant, Britannia. ]
Publication details: 
11 June 1850 to 13 March 1853. Including service in: England (Plymouth and Spithead), the West Indian Station (Jamaica, Bermuda, Trinidad), Newfoundland, the Mediterranean (Cuba, Gibraltar, Malta).
£1,500.00
SKU: 19375

The present item is a remarkably disciplined production for a boy ranging in age from twelve to sixteen. At the beginning of the volume the author writes: 'I, George Tate Medd 4th. Son of John and Sarah Medd of Stockport, Cheshire (at the age of 12¾ years), entered Her Majesty's Navy as Naval cadet on board H.M. Ship “Impregnable” June 11th. 1850.' In addition to a mass of statistical information, the 'Remarks' included in each day's entry paint a vivid picture of the initial training of a Royal Navy officer, describing everything from the constant trimming of the sails to the airing of bedding and the making and mending of clothes. 294pp., large 8vo (32 x 20 cm). In fair condition, on aged and worn paper, with some sections and leaves loose, and slight loss at head of second leaf; detached from binding, which Medd has sewn into an oat cloth cover, on the front of which he has drawn in ink (Medd was a capable artist) the outline of sailing ship with the word 'Log'. Occasional maritime illustrations are laid down or loosely inserted, often with annotations by Medd, as for example a view of a ship in a storm, captioned by him: 'Our ship in a good breeze on way to Havana - West Indies noon Sunday January 18, 1852 | see log. | Coming to a blow, all youngsters go below. | says old "Jock" Ramsay, our captain'. Each page has been ruled by Medd into between four and six sections, with columns for date, winds, weather, courses, remarks, navigation ('Lat DR', 'Lat obs', 'Long Chron.'). The first page reads: 'Log of the Proceedings of HMS Vessel “Inflexible”. | Commander P. H. Dyke Esqre. | Commencing August 15th. 1850 | Ending September 18th. 1850.' All but two of the sections that follow have similar pages, charting Medd's career: HMS Imaum, 72 guns, Commodore Thomas Bennett, 18 September to 29 October 1850 [back to Inflexible, 30 October to 16 November 1850; HMS Wellesley, Captain George Goldsmith ('bearing the Flag of Vice Admiral, The Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B.'), 17 November 1850 to 5 May 1851; HMS Alarm, 26 guns, Captain George Ramsay, 6 May 1851 to 19 February 1852; HMS Victory, 104 guns, Captain George Bohun Martin ('Bearing the Flag of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Brigs GCB, 19 February to 18 June 1852; [then to HMS Arrogant, 19 June to 15 July 1852; HMS Britannia, Captain George Goldsmith and Commander Bourmaster Dickson ('Bearing the Flag of Rear Admiral Jas. W. D. Dundas, CB', 16 July 1852 to 18 March 1853. After training in Portsmouth and Devonport Medd travels in the Inflexible 'From Plymouth Sound to Port Royal Jamaica' where he stays briefly on the Imaum before returning to the Inflexible. On the Wellesley he spends time at Grassy Bay, Bermuda; Port of Spain, Trinidad; and Ireland Isle, Bermuda. He travels to Newfoundland on the Alarm (St Pierre's Harbour; Harbour Breton' St John's; Port Royal) and on the same ship to Havana Harbour and the 'Island of Sacrificios'. He is in Portsmouth Harbour on the Victory; and Spithead on the Arrogant he travels to Gibraltar, Malta (Valetta), Smyrna, Salamis Bay, Ayre Island, Cape Falcon, Sardinia (Toro Rock), the log ending with the Britannia in Malta Harbour. The early 'Remarks' indicate the arduous life of the naval cadets, as for example, on board 'HMS Wellesley at Sea', 23 March 1851: 'AM 0.30 Let Fore and Main T Gallt. Sails 1.5 Light NW by W. 1.30 Lost sight of Lt. It having gone out. 5 Tacked 5.20 Tacked. Out 2nd reefs of Topsails and Driver. 6 Exp Royal Yards. 6.30 Obsd. Bermuda bearing NW by W. 7.30 Out reefs of Topsails. Let Royals and F. file. 9 Recd. Pilot Mustered by Divisions & Performed Divine Servicve 11.30 St. Davids Sd. N E 12'. 11.50 Wore noon. PM 1.30 Trimmed to a light arc from Southd. Let all studd sails. In Port studd Sails. Trimmed. Let lee clue of Mainsail, and all staysails. 3.15 Obsd. Slite steam tug coming through the harrows. Shortened sail to fore and aft sails. Failed sails. Kite took ship in two. Let main topsail T. Gallant sails and Royals. In Main Topsail, Royals T. G. and Royal staysails. Kite cast off. Bracd up on Starbd tack Down jeb 8 Light Wly S. Kite in Coy.' Later entries indicate less onerous but more responsible work, with such comments as: 'Fired a musket at Arethusa to keep station' and 'Exerd. young gentlemen at musket drill.' On 13 January 1853 Medd is in Gibraltar on the Britannia, and writes: 'AM Cross T. Gallant and Royal yards Exercised at General Quarters. Sent boats of squadron to must with five Engines alongside “Niger” 11.10AM HMS Sampson anchored | PM Empd. Watering – Aired bedding Sunset Down Fly & Royal yards.' The entry for 5 March 1853 includes the intriguing comment 'Thos Bastard disrated as useless'. The volume contains a number of later notes (1880 and 1893) by Medd, including 1893 reminiscences of 'Officers I remember well in HMS Britannia in 1852', one of whom is his 'Cousin & Godfather' the ship's captain and future admiral George Goldsmith (1806-1888). Rising to the rank of Lieutenant, Medd served in the Crimea and the China War, 1857-58 (medals with 2 clasps). He retired in 1861 invalided. Turning to the church he was made a deacon in 1868 and a priest in 1870. He was Curate of Rotherfield, Sussex, 1868-70; Curate of Harrietsham, Kent, 1870-76; and Vicar of Whitchurch, near Aylesbury, frokm 1876 to his death.