1912 - 1914 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A PETTY OFFICER ABOARD THE HMS KENT, A ROYAL NAVY ARMOURED CRUISER IN CHINA STATION, WORKING AND LIVING THROUGH THE VIOLENT AND CONSEQUENTIAL SECOND REVOLUTION OF THE 1913 CHINESE CIVIL WAR

By: E. W. D. SAYERS [?]

Price: $6,585.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is an exceptional and significant piece of British naval history, the diary of a petty officer and watchman from the HMS Kent [The author's name is on the front but it is extremely faded. It appears to be "E. W. D. Sayers" but the name has not turned up researching the HMS Kent. The author does mention taking his petty officers exam on December 2nd, 1912 which may assist local historians in confirming the name], one of 10 Monmouth-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The 75+ page diary begins on August 24, 1912 and goes until January 1, 1914. At the beginning of the diary, the author is preparing it for sea, cleaning it and doing mechanical work on it. On September 1, the ship "entered Bay of Biscay 4 AM." The ship goes around Portugal ("off Cape Vincent") and makes its way to Hong Kong, going through Gibraltar, Malta, Port Said, the Suez Canal, Aden, and Singapore. During the trip, the author often keeps watch, participates in "Torpedo routines," and coals the ship "500 tons"). The entries are short for this part. Often they say little more than "Thursday Sept 26th, at sea", "Wednesday Oct 2nd, Heavy storm 2:45 AM," or "Wednesday Oct 9th, Sailed for Hong Kong 6 AM." There is also the mention of the HMS Talbot and the HMS Monmouth sailing with them for a brief moments in time. From Hong Kong, the ship goes onto Weihaiwei, in Northeast China, at that time under British rule. In Weihaiwei, the author does much of what was being done before: coals the engine, cleans the ship, "took on duty as dayman. Recovered anchor cable and moored," "ran torpedoes. One sunk but was recovered in the afternoon." Sometimes they just read, "Usual routine". The ship is kept in tip-top shape and often runs battle and weapons exercises. Early 1913, the ship goes back to Hong Kong. The routine is still usual, though the author notices an increased number of Japanese ships. The entries also begin to get a bit longer at this time. "Sunday Jan 19th, Bishop of Hong Kong preached aboard - Japanese cruisers arrived at noon. Went to Cathedral in evening." In Hong Kong, the author continues much of his 'usual routine', noting the weather outside (usually rain), and the exercises, routines, and tasks he does day-to-day. In May, the author takes leave and goes to Japan for a few days.. He goes first to Kawasaki, then Yokohama and finally to Shinagawa. He does not mention much of what he did during these days except visiting palaces. On July 27, 1913, he writes, "Captain attended conference at Shanghai arsenal. Attacked 11 30pm at Shanghai." The next day he writes, "Shanghai arsenal attacked 3 am (?) again replaced. Captain at Shanghai transports and (?) off the entrances ready...Landed 150 men." What the author is referring to here is the "Second Revolution of 1913" in which, in July 1913, seven southern Chinese provinces rebelled against the Chinese President Yuan Shikai (the autocratic first formal presdient of the Republic of China), beginning the Second Revolution. The revolution was over in a few weeks thanks to the military strength of the North. The revolution also resented the Chinese government's dealings with Great Britain, and so attacked the HMS Kent while in Shanghai. "Wednesday July 30th - Japanese gun boats arrived and proceeded to Shanghai 1:30pm. Shots fired 2 blank charges 90mm." Shortly after, the North Chinese troops arrive and begin attacking the revolutionaries. "Saturday, Aug 2nd - Chinese ships bombarded Fort 4:30 AM till 5 AM. Fort replied but with no avail. (?) rounds were exchanged. Landed at 5 aM and proceeded to naval base. Usual routine remained of day." The next few days have only a few details about the revolution, mostly focusing on the author's duties on the ship. On Aug 10, he writes, "Prepared for leaving. Barrackers orders cancelled 11 A.M. A few of the Northern Troops armed & reoccupied the Police Quarters." The HMS Kent leaves Shanghai on August 17 and sails back to Japan, "Saturday Aug 22nd, went to Michimo 11 AM and visited Japanese Hotel also Sulphur baths. Returned at 300 pm and returned aboard at 10pm." By the middle of September, the ship is in Newcastle. During the trip back the 'usual routine' persists, but with seemingly more attack and defense exercises, especially with other British gun boats, especially the HMS Monmouth. At the end of September, there are a number of pages of "Regatta Results of races (?) skiffs Hampshire." It seems that in the first few days of August, there were competitions amongst Royal Navy ships in terms of skills, speed, and agility. These races include "32 foot cutters," "30 foot cutters," "Whalers," "12 barrelled cutters," and other ships. The ship stays in the China Station, patrolling and protecting British interests, until the end of November, when it begins to head back to England with the HMS Monmouth. The ship reaches England in December. By Christmas, the author is back home, visiting friends and family, writing that he is off of duty until the end of January. After the January 1st, 1914 entry there are no more. The very end of the diary is fascinating however. The author pens two essays, one entitled "Weddings in China" and dated "Shanghai Aug 15th 1913" and the other entitled "Funerals in China" and dated "Shanghai Aug 10th, 1913." In "Weddings in China," the author describes a typical wedding, writing of the customs he finds interesting. In "Funerals in China," he writes, "I have had a pretty good insight as to the disposal of a corpse of all grades during my stay here, as the road leads to the Chinese burial ground if it can be termed as such." He writes of the presentation of the dead, the coffin they lie in, and the customs and traditions around honoring the dead. The writing in this little back section is in stark contrast to the matter-of-fact diary entries. Here the entries are still mostly detail, but much more sussed out and interesting, reflecting a definite opinion of the strangeness of Chinese customs. Finally, the last page of the book contains a list entitled "Distance Run" which lists all the places the HMS Kent travelled with the author on board, the kilometers in between each big city or province, and then a final count of kilometers for the whole trip: 8,340. The book is in excellent condition, slightly worn, in a sometimes cramped but ultimately readable script in pencil. (Background - HMS Kent was one of 10 Monmouth-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was placed in reserve when completed in 1903, but was recommissioned for the China Station in 1906. She remained there until she returned home in 1913 for a lengthy refit.)

Title: 1912 - 1914 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A PETTY OFFICER ABOARD THE HMS KENT, A ROYAL NAVY ARMOURED CRUISER IN CHINA STATION, WORKING AND LIVING THROUGH THE VIOLENT AND CONSEQUENTIAL SECOND REVOLUTION OF THE 1913 CHINESE CIVIL WAR

Author Name: E. W. D. SAYERS [?]

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: China Station Shanghai Hong Kong England UK, 1913

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall

Seller ID: 0009018

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, E. W. D. SAYERS, HMS KENT, HMS MONMOUTH, ARMOURED CRUISERS, ROYAL NAVY, EARLY 20TH CENTURY BRITISH ROYAL NAVY, BRITISH NAVAL HISTORY, PRE-WORLD WAR 1, SHANGHAI REBELLION, SECOND REVOLUTION, CHINESE CIVIL WAR, ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA, YUAN SHIKAI, SUN YAT-SEN, EARLY REPUBLIC OF CHINA, CHINA STATION, SINGAPORE NAVAL BASE, BRITISH NAVY IN EAST ASIA, SIR ALFRED WINSLOW, CHINA PRE-WW1, BRITISH MILITARY IN THE ORIENT, FAR EAST, MIDDLE KINGDOM, MARINERS, SAILORS, TARS, NAVAL, MARINE, LIFE OF A PETTY OFFICER, BRITTANICA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, AMERICANA, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL