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Ingleby, C.R. Royal Navy. Log Book: Period May 9th 1905- HMS “Canopus” etc.

Ingleby, C.R. Royal Navy. Log Book: Period May 9th 1905- HMS “Canopus” etc.

Folio. Approx. 110pp neat manuscript sailing data with detailed remarks, filling the first half of a standard log book. Elaborate calligraphic title page with watercolour illustrations and decorative pieces. 16 mostly tipped in or laid in illustrations including: 13 pen and ink charts highlighted with accomplished watercolour, diagrams and drawings, some of which are technical; pieces of machinery, turret cutaways, valves etc. One tipped in original photograph “Signalmen in the Wireless Room”, two manuscript and watercolour certificates; one for a coal loading contest between watches, and the second for the results of a Prize Firing, also present are three newspaper clippings. Occasional small spots or marks here and there, otherwise internally clean, sharp and eminently legible with commander's initials to many of the “remarks” entries. The whole bound in an additional calf covering, heavily embossed with a rope border, relating the above title in full. A little rubbed and scuffed to the binding, otherwise tight, shipshape and handsome. Ingleby's travels as a midshipman in the service of the King include duties in Gibraltar, Malta, the Suez Canal, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. Canopus was the lead battleship of its own eponymous naval class, Glory another vessel of the same class rating, commissioned in 1899 and 1900 respectively and incorporating Krupp armouring which was lighter and more effective than the Harvey variant more commonly used on battleships of the time. Both modern and fairly new vessels, originally assigned to the China Station as a safeguard against the rapidly expanding Japanese naval presence in the area, until subsequent political and military maneuverings resulted in the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, and rendered such a visible military presence in the region somewhat less necessary. Canopus bears the unfortunate history of being the only Canopus Class battleship not to serve in the region. Both vessels then cruised between Naval military postings in British waters, mainly as part of the Mediterranean Fleet, until 1908 when they were put on the reserve list until the hostilities of 1914. 

Midshipman Ingleby is Clement Rolfe Ingleby, a military man of varied career: he left the navy in 1906 (presumably despairing of action, something many of his fellows had in common during the pre WW1 years), until after a period in civilian life he re-enrolled as RNVR in 1914. He was made a POW in Holland, escaped and after a period of recuperation at Hillington Hall Hospital in Norfolk (commonly used as a convalescent hospital for those suffering from “nervous exhaustion”, which we would now refer to as PTSD), during this period he is rated as Major Ingleby (records are inconclusive, although photographs of Ingleby at Hillington exist, suggesting he had already transferred into the Royal Flying Corps at this point, despite his escape from POW status having been described as “recent”, it becomes apparent that Ingleby also did a stint in the Army at some juncture). Ingleby's transfer to the “twenty minuters” is notable in that he was one of the very first officers commissioned into the Royal Air Force in April 1918, and is the author of the poem “Per Ardua ad Astra” (published in Flight Magazine in June 1918) which utilised the then very new motto of the RAF coined by J.S. Yule (according to legend) after he had been inspired by a spot of Rider Haggard. By the time of the poem's publication, Ingleby was unfortunately disabled through the loss of a foot in an aeronautical accident, resulting in him being reduced to desk duties, making the poem's “Then up through the bumpy, filmy mists like a startled bird we fly; Till the sunshine bright, on a sea of white in space meets the wand'ring eye...” rather more yearningly poignant. A useful and smart piece of military history.

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