Capt. Arthur David LINKLATER


Written while serving his apprenticeship aboard BRITISH PRINCESS from 10.xii.1895 to 13.iii.1900

British Princess

The above is the only image I have of British Princess. On the back is written “Barque British Princess San Francisco Bay August 17th 1897. Taken 24 hours before sailing for London.” For more about the vessel CLICK HERE.

The Journal pages are for ‘family only’ and require a password. If you think you are entitled to one or have forgotten the one you have already been given, please email me. But don't hold your breath.


For a flavour of the original see this image and transcription of pages from the original Journal for 27 July - 2 August 1896 as it appears transcribed in the Journal Pages including ‘blanks’ where I found the originial to be indecipherable.

The following text in blue was typed on one side of A4 and included at the end of the typed transcript of the Journal.

Arthur David LINKLATER's Preface to his Sailing Journals

It is now November 1937, and at the age of 58 another new start in life is about to begin. There will not be much time left for many more restarts and it is now interesting to look back and see how these have come about.

At the age of sixteen I went to sea in a sailing ship, the British Princess, in the year 1895, and for four and a half years enjoyed all the glory of a "half-deck", with a claim in Miners rest, and being ship- wrecked thrown in by way of seasoning. The Board-of-Trade did not look with a kindly eye on Midshipmen who either went gold digging, cow punching, lumber jacking, or boundary riding in way-side parts of the globe, and punished these youthful wrong doers when they came up before them for examination, by prescribing sentences of "additional sea time" before an examination could be considered. In my own case I got "six months", and this took me away firstly as a quartermaster in the City Line, where on arriving in India we found the Boxer war on with China, and I had to pay the captain to sign me off so that I could proceed to the China Coast as Third Officer, without a certificate in an old P & 0 ship which had been reconditioned as a troopship, and after some six months on the coast, and being at Taku when the forts were blown up etc., we returned to India. I was asked to stay in India, pass my examination there, and rejoin my ship, but although it was tempting I knew it was better to do this at home, and accordingly worked my passage home on a tramp before the mast, being every- thing in her from lamp-trimmer to keeping the "Old Man's" Watch.

Arrived home, passed for Second Mate, and joined the B.I. in 1901 as Fourth Officer. Put in a year as 4th on the home line in the Rewa, then 3rd on the Hospital ship Avoca running to the Cape during the Boer War, and when this was finished with, out to the "Coast" via Australia in the Upada. Passed for Mate, and for Master in Bombay 1906. Promoted to second officer, 1905, and second officer for five years to 1910, when promoted to Chief. In the meantime came home and passed for Extra Master (Sail and Steam) in January 1909, and commissioned as Sub Lieut. R.N.R. Obtained six months leave from the B.I. to join the Port Commissioners of Calcutta in August 1910. This six months leave as a special case increased to twelve months leave by the B.I. in case I wished to return to that service. Twelve months after joining the Commissioners passed the River Hooghli Pilotage examination, and resigned from the B.I. Now did some time in the river survey service, and then given Command of the Retriever and Guide and put in charge of the whole of the river approach service and salvage work, and for specially good work with regard to introducing night navigation on the Hooghli, etc., was promoted by special resolution to the maximum grade of pay after two years in Command in 1915. Had a good deal to do at this time in connection with the Emden at the Sand Heads, and did much salvage work, and towing of craft from Rangoon, etc. to the Persian Gulf in connection with the Naval war work of the war. Some extraordinary things were done in this towing work, the length of my tow being sometimes as much as half a mile, and consisting of old stern wheelers, paddle-boats, barges, and all manner of craft, most of which foundered long before the Persian Gulf was reached. In July 1916 I got seven days leave and came to Bombay, and when here Capt. Penny the Marine Superintendent of the B.I. told me Dhunjibhoy was looking for a man, and I called the evening I was returning and interviewed Dhunjibhoy and the Solic...

The typescript breaks off here. See his BIOGRAPHY for more information.

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© 2018 Duncan Linklater