Capt. Arthur David LINKLATER

Captain Arthur David LINKLATER 1879 - 1955

His Life Afloat and Ashore: British India Steam Navigation Co. (i)

My purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the western stars

continuous.jpg Having served his apprenticeship in the British Princess and been discharged 13th March 1900 Arthur's life for the next ten years, till 22 June 1910, followed what must have been more-or-less the norm among aspiring ships’ masters; that of the roving seaman, albeit with a possible interlude as a miner by way of broadening his horizons! His progress is traceable through the various Certificates of Discharge from each vessel in which he served, plus the further record in his CONTINUOUS CERTIFICATE OF DISCHARGE. The images show a complete copy of Arthur's ‘Continuous Certificate of Discharge’ which recorded dates and destinations of voyages, rank or position held aboard and under whose command. Each voyage had an entry recording "ability" and "general conduct" just as his ability and conduct had been recorded while still an apprentice.

Prospective employers or masters looked askance at any man lacking either ‘papers’ or an unblemished record. While Captain Scott's remarks as previously cited were therefore potentially prejudicial to a man embarking on a career at sea, they seem not to have done any lasting harm, as Arthur progressed steadily up the ladder till he himself became Master of a ship. It is worth adding that in every other reference that I have of Arthur's, he received nothing but unstinting praise both for his personal conduct and his professional skill. The ‘Continuous Discharge’ tells us also that Arthur was 5 feet 11½ inches tall, had blue eyes, brown hair and no tattoos or other distinguishing marks - and so fails to record the "scar on nose" mentioned under "Personal Marks and Peculiarities" on his Board of trade ‘Examination as to Form Vision, Colour Vision, and Colour Ignorance’ dated 23 November 1895.

appointment.jpg I am not sure exactly when Arthur became an employee of the British India Steam Navigation Company - hereafter B.I.S.N.Co., but shortly before joining a ship of theirs called the Rewa Arthur received a letter dated 5th July 1901 from their company secretary;

I have received from Messrs W.Mackinnon & Coy. your application of the 1st inst. for a berth as a Junior Officer, and I now confirm the following telegram sent to you today viz:-

"Offer you appointment fourth officer Rewa employed home line between London Calcutta required join Wednesday please call Glasgow office tomorrow morning reply do you accept."

and I am obliged for your reply reading "accept appointment will call Glasgow tomorrow" which I note. The appointment offered you is subject to your passing the Company's Doctor as being fit for service in India & on hearing from Messrs W. Mackinnon & Coy. that your medical certificate is satisfactory. Instructions will be sent to you as to joining Rewa.

An ‘Appointment’ confirmation dated 10th July 1901 and countersigned by Arthur was sent to the Commanding Officer, S.S. Rewa, Central Station, Royal Albert Docks, London stating;

The bearer Mr A.D. Linklater has been appointed 4th Officer of your steamer (and he is to serve on the Coast or Home Line as the exigencies of the service require him) at a salary of Five Pounds - Shillings sterling per month. He will begin duty today.

So there was no hanging about! His Board of Trade Certificate grade is stated on the ‘Appointment’ as "Second - No. 036001" and below the words "I accept this appointment and undertake to serve in any British India Steam Navigation Coys. or British India Associated Steamers Coys. Steamers in Indian Coast, Home Line or elsewhere should it be required of me at any time." appears the signature of A.D. Linklater. After leaving the British Princess all the ships he served in were steam ships. They were as follows;

British Princess Apprentice 10 December 1895 13 March 1900
City of Edinburgh Q´master seaman 21 May 1900 2 August 1900
Ashruf 3rd Mate 13 August 1900 22 November 1900
Bombay Q'master seaman 6 December 1900 26 January 1901
Rewa 4th Mate 12 September 1901 21 May 1902
Avoca 3rd Mate 13 August 1902 4 October 1902
Upada 3rd Mate 23 December 1902 15 December 1903
Umballa 3rd Mate 15 December 1903 4 May 1904
Dumra 3rd Mate 28 May 1904 27 January 1905
Fultala 3rd Mate 26 January 1905 14 June 1905
Ula 2nd Mate 15 June 1905 31 January 1906
Dunera 2nd Mate 13 March 1909 23 April 1909
Sirdhana 2nd Mate 24 April 1909 30 June 1909
Obra Sub. Lieut. R.N.R. 3 July 1909 22 June 1910
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