Capt. Arthur David LINKLATER

Captain Arthur David LINKLATER 1879 - 1955

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

He works his work, I mine.

The examination of seamen may sound a bit forensic but that was the only way to progress through the merchant service. According to Arthur [see below] his pursuit of excellence did not follow the norm; not content with having a mere Master's Certificate he went for his Extra Master's. However, before that he had to claw his way up the officer rankings - ‘mate’ being synonymous with ‘officer’. On his Application for an Officer's Commission in the R.N.R. it is stated that he got his 2nd Mate's ticket [no. 036001] on 23 April 1901; and his 1st Mate's [no. 1627] on 4th February 1904. In spite of his serving as a humble 2nd Mate in January 1906, come December 1906 he got his Master's Certificate [see top right of image below right] at Bombay on 14th December 1906 as is attested on the ’Certificate of Competency’ as ‘EXTRA MASTER’ awarded by "The Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade" [or ‘Board of Trade’ to you and me - and him] in Leith on 11th January 1909. And as noted elsewhere, he was appointed Sub. Lieutenant R.N.R. on 1st July 1909.

There is an aside about his getting his Extra Master's in some notes Arthur made about his time employed by Dhunjibhoy Bomanji, notes which effectively portray Dhunjibhoy Bomanji as a conniving chiseller, which will be quoted more fully in their proper place. But for now;

I did not carry on at sea in the ordinary way of 95 out of a hundred men at sea and rest satisfied with my Masters certificate, but when I came home on leave from the Indian coast in 1907 I spent four months in lodgings away from my home at Dundee studying for the Board of Trade Honours examination, and passed for Extra Master.
[I have no information about his “home at Dundee.”]

With that under his belt there was presumably no further need for the Continuous Discharge of Seamen. And indeed there are no further entries in it after his discharge as Sub. Lieutenant R.N.R. and 2nd Mate from the Obra 22 June 1910. A month earlier, on 25th May 1910, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. Why he was elected, or whether an examination was required I have no idea. It may have been required of Masters by The Board of Trade.

The record ca. 1908 is not clear but gives the impression that Arthur was at a loose end and seeking the means to ‘better’ himself. Before the next main chapter in Arthur's life, work on the Hooghly for the Commissioners of the Port of Calcutta, he went underground - literally as well as metaphorically. In the absence of any other information one must assume it was to hunt for gold. He refers in the Preface to his Journal to gold digging, cow punching, lumber jacking, or boundary riding in way-side parts of the globe so I assume what took him underground was that which glisters. How many cows he punched or whether he jacked any lumber is unrecorded, as are any precise dates. Indeed, other than the passing reference in the ‘Preface’ I can find no mention of these extra-nautical activities, but there is a reasonable lacuna after his discharge as 2nd Mate from the Ula on 31 January 1906 until he resurfaces, sans gold, still as 2nd Mate on the Dunera on 13 March 1909. He seems to have remained all this time in the employ of B.I.S.N.Co [but not in India] and continued thus until August 1910 when he took a position with the Commissioners of the Port of Calcutta on 27 August 1910. That he remained in the employ of B.I.S.N.Co is born out by a reference he had from them as late as 1923 which states;
I hereby certify that I have known Mr A.D. Linklater since 1901, when he joined the service of the B.I.S.N.Co. in which service he worked until August 1910.
During the whole of that time he carried out his duties to my entire satisfaction.
He left our Service of his own accord in 1910 to try and better his position, and while in his new service I met many of his superiors, and I am pleased to say they all spoke of him in the very highest terms.
I have at all times found him very keen, willing and most anxious to do things correctly and well. [signed] J.M.Isdale, Marine Superintendent, B.I.S.N.Co., London.

This, I might add, is typical of all the references that I have of Arthur's. They are all unstinting in their praise for him personally as well as professionally.

❮ Back © 2018 Duncan Linklater Next ❯