Manuscript logbook, with diagrams, specifications and 'Diary of Way', of a First World War sailmaker in the Royal Navy's 3rd Cruiser Squadron.

J. Ryan, AB, sailmaker [3rd Cruiser Squadron, Royal Navy; Battle of Dogger Bank, 1915]
Publication details: 
Government stamp: 'Supplied for the Public Service'. Diary entries dated from 29 July 1914 to demobilization on 31 May 1919.
SKU: 8575

Landscape, with leaf dimensions 19 x 10.5 cm. The diary covers 48 pages at one end of the notebook, with the diagrams and specifications over 32 pp at the other end. In original sturdy brown leather binding, with brass clasp, empty wallet at front and pouch for pencil. Marbled endpapers. In good condition. Text clear and complete on lightly-aged paper. Binding worn and with split hinges. In pencil on fore-edge: 'J. RYAN. SAILS.', and on flyleaf 'Jacker the Ryan | Sailmaker' and 'Diary of Way | 1914 till 1918.' Providing a fascinating insight, from below decks, into the activities of the Royal Navy during the Great War. Although it is unclear which ship he served on, Ryan's diary begins, shortly before the start of the war, with him in the 3rd Cruiser Squadron (see the references to Sir William Pakenham and to HMS Argyll). He participates in the Battle of Dogger Bank (1915) and travels as far afield as Bermuda and Halifax, Novascotia. The first page of the diary reads: '1914. 29th. July. | Wednesday Left Portland | 30th Thursday Clear for Battle | 31st Friday

the N. Sea | 1st Sunday Scapa Flow. Coaling Ship | 2nd Sunday Speach [sic] from Admiral Packenham [at the time Commander of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron] explaining the situation between Germany & England. | 3rd Monday Started to weigh at 3,30 PM but got a signal to proceede [sic] with all possible speed to Jerwick to repel & but did not see them. | 4th Tuesday Called to Action at 11,50 am. sighted a [p.2] ship caught her & she was a merchant. | 9 PM received a signal that Shannon was action & proceed thither | Nothing doing | 4th Aug. 10.45 War declared.' Of the Battle of Dogger Bank, on 24 January 1915: 'At Sea Action at 7.50 am 1st. B C in action great success Lion disabled unable to steam more than 12 A[dmiral] Beattie trans his Flag to Princess Royal fom Lion during action'. On 9 October 1915: 'At Sea Fine Submarine attacked us at 4 30 PM fired two torpedos the of the N.C. saved the ship, by his helm & reversing another submarine attack about 11 P.M.' On 28 August 1915: 'Argyle ran on the Bell Rock am fatal loss I was abandoned @ 11am crew arrived safely in Harbour in Destroyer transfered [sic] to Africa & Dominions'. Reference on 15 May 1915 to 'Officers cricket match A W.' and on 29 June 1914 to 'Boxing compitition [sic] on Argyle [i.e. HMS Argyll]'. The specifications include calculations relating to HMS Prometheus ('side aunings [sic]'), 'HMS Fantome', 'HMS Challanger [sic]' and Pegasus. Also a full-page diagram of the sails on a '16ft. DINGY. ADMIRALTY scetch [sic] 1904', and another of a '25 FT whaler'.