1946 - 1947 ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MIDSHIPMAN JOURNAL OF A SAILOR ON THREE DIFFERENT SHIPS PATROLLING BRITISH WATERS, ESCORTING THE ROYAL FAMILY TO SOUTH AFRICA, AND EXPERTLY DRAWING PORTRAITS, MAPS, AND NAVAL DIAGRAMS

By: R. H. COBB

Price: $3,285.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


On offer is the exceptional post WW2 “Journal For The Use Of Midshipman” kept by a man in the Royal Navy named R.H. Cobb. The journal was kept from 1946 to 1947 and includes his time on three different ships, the ‘H.M.S. Nelson,’ the ‘H.M.S. Vanguard,’ and the ‘H.M.S. Anson’. The journal contains detailed entries for most days beginning on October 2, 1946 with Cobb’s time on the ‘Nelson’ and going until May 31, 1947 when he is on the ‘Anson’. Each entry is roughly a page long, though many go longer and a small few are short and concise. Unlike many other log books, the entries are not divided much by specific times. They have a very narrative feel to them, describing drills, races, activities and unusual observations at length. Cobb is an excellent writer, describing his life in an adept and interesting way throughout the book. (However, on one entry, December 15th, his commanding officer seems to have written: “Your freehand version of a journal is poor. Your descriptions of Gibraltar would be excellent if you took more care and trouble to write and to punctuate”). As Cobb explains in the beginning entry, the H.M.S. Nelson was the flagship of the Royal Navy’s Training Battleship Squadron stationed in Portland, England, so the ship takes part in numerous training exercises with other ships, such as the H.M.S. Howe, Anson, Saintes, King George V, and many more. At the end of November, Cobb joins the H.M.S. Vanguard as it sails to South Africa. The ship was to serve as part of the squadron of ships that accompanied King George VI for the first visit by a reigning monarch to South Africa. The ship leaves its port in Portsmouth, sails to Gibraltar, then on to South Africa. There are tremendous entries of descriptions of sailing with a huge squadron of ships accompanying the monarch on this symbolic trip. As well, the Royal Family is on the ship, though they are do not interact with Cobb. The ship returns to Portland, England, and in July, Cobb joins the H.M.S. Anson. The ship remains in British waters, doing many training drills, repairs, and peacetime upkeep. Cobb still writes very well, and a number of important things occur: a tragic death soon after he joins the ship and the changing of the Rear Admiral of the ship are probably the most significant. At the very end of the book there is a section entitled, “Winding up of Journal: In Retrospect” which retells the major points of Cobb’s last year on all three ships. What makes this book so very special, besides Cobb being an excellent witness to the post WW2 life on a Naval ship, are the beautiful and elegantly drawn diagrams, portraits, maps, schematics and more that Cobb seems to have drawn himself and inserted into the book. Included are: excellent pencil drawings of important political figures (Vyacheslav Molotov, Winston Churchill, General Jan Smuts, and King George VI) with a quote or description included; Drawings of ships and their internal mechanisms, titled things such as “H.M.S. Vanguard off Eldorado Bay,” “; Schematics, maps, training maneuvers and diagrams such as “Various Radar Serials,” “Voyage from Cape Town to Simon's Bay and Away,” “The Arrangement of Main and Auxiliary Machinery in H.M.S. Vanguard,” “Main Wire in ‘Anson,’” “The Royal Procession through Lines of the Fleet” (one of only in colour) and many more. There are probably two dozen of these drawings, diagrams, and portraits. The skill involved in them in exceptional and a true treat for the buyer of an already exceptional midshipman journal. One photograph of the H.M.S. Nelson is also included. The book is in very good condition, showing little wear on either the inside pages or outside cover. There are 191 pages of writing in the book, always on the recto side, never on the verso, as the pen used bleeds through a good bit on the other side. Cobb’s handwriting is easy to comprehend and his style is a joy to read. This is a fantastic document of post-war Royal Navy life, as well as a first hand account of the first Royal trip to South Africa. There is so much more included in these pages as well. the size of the book is 34 x 21 cm. Sample Entries: “H.M.S. Nelson. At Portland. October 3, 1946. Repaired on board my first ship H.M.S. Nelson under the Command of Captain. C. Caston. Nelson has taken up her peacetime role of flagship of the Trainer’s Battleships (H.M.S. Nelson, Howe, and Anson) and flies the flag of Rear Admiral H. Hickling. H.M.S. Nelson was built by Wicker Armstrong and designed by Sir. E Tennyson D'Eyncourt; it is interesting that more attention was paid to constructing than tactical principles...In the 1939-45 War Nelson was twice severely damaged. The first occasion was in Loch Ewe in 1940 when she detonated a magnetic mine putting her out of action for several months; the second in 1941 when a torpedo from an italian aeroplane hit her and prevented her from resuming her duties with the fleet until the N. African Landings in 1943...”; “October 6th. On Saturday we were occupied till 11 with drill and flag duties. That afternoon I was invited to take a whaler away for a sailing race with the Howe. This allowed me about two hours in which to collect a crew from the Special Service Seaman under training and to ____ all the gear needed for the race....Before we set out I noticed we had no trails but we had delayed long enough and could not afford to spend another half hour searching for the trails. We devised another most unorthodox system for trailing up for which three hands were required. They gathered up the foot of the sail, the wind having been previously split and after we had warned we set mainsail with due reverence...and so ended what should have been a most instructive afternoon for the crew especially as weather conditions were far from admirable.”; “Nov. 19. The Training Battleship Squadron went to Sea today with the Home Fleet and rehearsed the maneuvers that will be done at the Beginning of February with H.M.S. Vanguard on settling out for the Royal Town of South Africa. It was a most impressive sight when you could see the ships but there was a rather low lying and thick fog and ships were partly obscured....King George V left us after the maneuvers and went to Plymouth for an extensive refit. The Duke of York is coming here in her place and will fly the admiral flag.”; “February 17, 1947. We brought the Royal Family to Cape Town after having enjoyed their companionship one might almost say, so friendly and hospitable were they, during the seventeen day voyage to the Cape. ...In the foreground there must have been ten thousand people sitting on the tiers of benches which ___ the route which the King, it had been planned, would take. Apparently many of the spectators had waited there all night so as to make sure of their seats. Despite their long wait they all looked cheerful and very gay in their wildly colored costumes which provided as much variety as did the flags...We manned ship from 0940 till the Royal Family drove away. After the King had inspected the guard of honor on the quarterdeck the Royal Family said goodbye to the Captain and a few more officers before they walked slowly down the Royal bow at the bottom o f which they were met by the Governor General and Field Marshall....After some important people had been presented to the King and Queen the Royal Family departed driving down the streets of Cape Town which cried with cheering crowds thrilled and conscious of the importance of the event.”; “As midshipmen we have all learned a good deal and when I say that I do not mean technical knowledge so much but experience. All of us agree, we have been luckier than most midshipmen and certainly more fortunate than ____ are likely to be for the next few years.”; Manuscript; Folio - over 12" - 15" tall; KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, R. H. COBB, JOURNAL FOR THE USE OF MIDSHIPMAN, H.M.S. NELSON, H.M.S. VANGUARD, H.M.S. ANSON, ROYAL NAVY TRAINING BATTLESHIP SQUADRON, PORTLAND, PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND, WWII, SOUTHERN AFRICA, CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, UNITED KINGDOM, POST WORLD WAR TWO, ROYAL FAMILY TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA, CAPE TOWN, LIFE OF A MIDSHIPMAN, POST WWII NAVY, WINSTON CHURCHILL, KING GEORGE VI, GENERAL JAN SMUTS, BRITANNICA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL

Title: 1946 - 1947 ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MIDSHIPMAN JOURNAL OF A SAILOR ON THREE DIFFERENT SHIPS PATROLLING BRITISH WATERS, ESCORTING THE ROYAL FAMILY TO SOUTH AFRICA, AND EXPERTLY DRAWING PORTRAITS, MAPS, AND NAVAL DIAGRAMS

Author Name: R. H. COBB

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

Publisher: ABOARD THE H.M.S. NELSON, VANGUARD AND ANSON, 1946

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 0009082

Keywords: Keywords: History Of R. H. Cobb Journal For The Use Of Midshipman H.m.s. Nelson H.m.s. Vanguard H.m.s. Anson Royal Navy Training Battleship Squadron PORTLAND PORTSMOUTH