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Royal Navy: Logs

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 LOG/N
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Royal Navy: Logs
Date(s): 1737-1917
Level of description: Subfonds
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Extent: 40ft: 1,220cm
Name of creator(s): Royal Navy


Administrative/Biographical history:


Scope and content/abstract:

Royal Navy ship's logs. The earliest log begins in 1737 and the latest in 1917 but the majority, over three hundred volumes, are from the nineteenth century. Being, on the whole, kept privately, the format and size of the volumes vary widely. Over three-fifths of the volumes, where the rank of the keeper can be ascertained, were kept by midshipman or naval cadets, but there are examples of logs kept by other ranks from master's mate to admiral. Many of the logs are illustrated with sketches, maps, diagrams and photographs. Of particular note in this respect are the log of the QUEEN CHARLOTTE, 1790, kept by Lieutenant (later Captain) John Mason Lewis (fl 1790-1831); four volumes kept by Sub-Lieutenant (later Commander) Francis H Boyer (d 1926) on various ships between 1869 and 1876; two logs kept on several ships, 1870 to 1873, together with a sketchbook by Henry Bridges Molesworth (1855-1954), midshipman; and the log of the RALEIGH, 1874 to 1876, by Charles Molyneux Howard Oakley (1858-1876), also when a midshipman. Of the forty eighteenth-century volumes, the earliest is the log of the WINDSOR, 1737 to 1741, signed by her captain, George Berkeley (1693?-1746), including an account of the attack on Cartagena in 1741.

There are also two logs by Rear-Admiral Charles Watson (1714-1757) as captain of the princess louisa, 1746 to 1747, including a description of the battle of Cape Finisterre, 1747; an unsigned copy of the log of Admiral Sir George Pocock on the NAMUR, 1762 to 1763, during the siege of Havana; a log of the WINCHELSEA, 1787 by John Dykes (fl 1776-1805), Master, with sailing instructions and copies of his correspondence, 1789; A log of the BRUNSWICK, 1793 to 1794, up to but excluding the First of June, kept by Captain John Harvey (1740-1794) together with the ship's muster and pay book 1792 to 1794; and three logs kept by Prince William Henry (1745-1837) as midshipman on various ships between 1779 and 1783.

There is a series of four logs of the LEVIATHAN, 1795 to 1799 and 1802, which was present at the attack on Leogane in 1796 and at the Minorca landings, 1798; these were possibly kept by Lieutenant (later Captain) William Buchanan (fl 1794-1833) and one volume has additions in the hand of Commodore (later Admiral) Sir John Duckworth, while the log for 1802 includes an index to his letterbooks and a register for 1800. Finally there are also three logs kept by Richard Caley (d 1799), Master's Mate and later Lieutenant, in several ships, 1781 to 1798, including the BLENHEIM at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 1797. Among nineteenth-century logs, numbering over three hundred, are two by Samuel Wise, Master's Mate, on the POLYPHEMUS, 1805 to 1808, which was present at the battle of Trafalgar, 1805; a log by Admiral Sir Augustus William Clifford (1788-1877) as lieutenant in the TIGRE, 1807 to 1809; a log by Lieutenant Thomas Pickering Clarke (fl 1800-1862) on several ships, 1800 to 1807, including a narrative of the Walcheren Expedition, 1809; and a log of Admiral Sir Stephen Lushington (1803-1877) as midshipman on the GANYMEDE, 1818 to 1819. There is also a log of the SPITFIRE, 1835 to 1839, by Robert R Arnott (fl 1834-1839), Assistant Surgeon, together with a rough medical record, 1839; a copy of the log of the VERNON, 1836 to 1837, signed by Captain (later Rear-Admiral) John W M'Kerlie (1774-1848), together with printed sailing reports of the VERNON and a punishment book, 1834 to 1837; and a log of the POLYPHEMUS while engaged in the suppression of the slave trade, 1853 to 1854. Another log of this vessel, 1855 to 1856, kept by Commander (later Captain) Frederic P Warren (d 1891) records her wreck off Jutland on 29 January 1856. Among the volumes relating to the Crimean War there is a log kept by Midshipman (later Captain) Cecil G S Stanley (d 1891), in the ALBION and QUEEN, 1853 and 1855.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The 363 volumes in this class have been collected individually by the Museum and do not constitute a series.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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