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Britannia and Dartmouth College: the training of Royal Navy officers

Catalogue number 108004

Imperial German Navy Marineakademie, 1901


A Group of officers and cadets in front of the main building of the Marineakademie. At the time of this photograph, the director was either Ludwig von Schröder or Alfred Ehrlich, both Kapitan zur See. The two officers sitting front row extreme left and right may be Army officers. The Naval Academy was founded in 1872 at Kiel and remained there until the move to Flensburg in 1910. It has been suggested that the move to Flensburg was in reaction to the Social-Democrat atmosphere of Kiel, incompatible with the aggressive naval policy begin developed by the Kaiser Wilhelm II and von Tirpitz (Jörg Hillmann 100 Jahre Marineschule Mürwik. Festansprache anlässlich des Festaktes am 24. November 2010.). There were strong links between the British and German naval officer training establishments prior to World War One (see below).


Recto; "Kiel, 30.III.01"

Verso; "Fräulein Doris u Grese...Greifenhagen Stetten" franked Kiel 31.3.01"

13.9cm x 8.9cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 100096

HMS Britannia and HMS Hindostan


The Royal Navy's link with Dartmouth began in 1859 when the wooden hulk, three-decker HMS Britannia was moored off the town to serve as a Royal Navy ship for the preliminary training of Naval officers but there was not sufficient space to accommodate the cadets correctly and the two-decker HMS Hindostan joined HMS Britannia in 1864. Britannia was replaced in 1869 by the three-decker HMS Prince of Wales, renamed HMS Britannia and it is this ship that we can see in the photograph. We can see the covered walkway joining the two ships which together provided accommodation and training for over 30 cadets. The black barge-like object just below the stern of HMS Hindostan is the heated winter swimming pool used by the cadets. The cutters are out on both ships.




13.9cm x 8.9cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 66033

The two ships moored in the river Dart


Another view of the pair HMS Hindostan, left, and HMS Britannia, ex-Prince of Wales, right. The string of masted cutters are probably from Britannia. The white object to the centre right and just off the quayside is the summer open-air swimming pool for the cadets.




14.7cm x 10.1cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 49016

Physical exercise


Physical fitness was considered important for the cadets and here we have a group exercising with Indian clubs. Boys are using the racquets court ashore. We can see the stern of HMS Britannia in the background.




7.9cm x 7.4cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 107016

The Royal Naval College, Osborne, 1904


As the Royal Navy evolved and warships became more technical, it was considered that accommodating several hundred cadets in two wooden hulks was not the best way to train the Navy's future officers. Discussions began at the Board of Admiralty in 1895 and a two-tier shore-based training system was decided upon with a common programme for all officer entrants regardless of their desired choice of branch or service. New entrants first went to the newly-built Royal Naval College, Osborne (opened in 1903) in the grounds of the late Queen Victoria's Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. This postcard of the dining room at Osborne shows boys of the first intake.


Recto: "Ernest Cowes 19 Juillet"

Verso: Addressed to "Mademoiselle Jeanne Tisserand" in Lyon

13.9cm x 8.2cm Printed image

 

Catalogue number 71084

Cadets at the Royal Naval College, Osborne


Cadets were very young when they joined the Royal Naval College, Osborne, being between 12 and 13 years old, and trained there for two years before moving on to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth for another two years. The boys were housed in the bungalows seen in the background.




13cm x 8cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 49016

The construction of a new College building at Dartmouth


The new Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth was built on the high ground to left of this photograph and work began in 1903. We can see HMS Britannia and HMS Hindostan in the background and the schooner Syren (attached to the college as a training tender) in the center of the photograph.


Recto: "Dartmouth" in black ink.

27.3cm x 18.9cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 61028

Commander and staff, around 1889


Captain N.S.F. Digby was Commander of the Royal Naval College from 1889 to 1892 (first row, third from the right). From the cuff buttons, we can identify a Commander (to the left of Digby), two Lieutenants with over 8 year seniority (first row, extreme right and behind Digby and to his left). To Digby's immediate right, there are two Lieutenants. Also on the staff are several civilian teachers (see bowler hats) and three priests. In the background, several Cadet Chief Officers wearing double-breasted jackets have sneaked into the photograph.




26.8cm x 21.6cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 61027

A term of young Cadets


In 1878 Lieutenant Mainwaring introduced the custom whereby a photograph was taken of each term which passed out of Britannia. This group are far too young to be passing out and are more likely first term cadets of 12 to 13 years old. Many group photographs were taken at this place prior to the move to the new college. Cadet Chief Captains were nominated to maintain order amongst the boys, see last row extreme left and front row extreme right.




26.7cm x 21.2cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 66032

HMS Wave


The barque-rigged steamship HMS Wave was moved to Darmouth in 1884 so as to give training in steam machinery to the cadets.


Recto: "HMS "Wave" in Dartmouth"

15.3cm x 10.2cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 100117

A visitor to Dartmouth (detail)


Warships and especially training ships from other navies paid frequent visits to Britannia and later to the College. This detail of a photograph shows a three-masted steam corvette much like the German Bismark class one of which, Moltke, visited Dartmouth in 1902 for the laying of the first stone of the new college by King Edward VII.




13.5cm x 806cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 104085

German training ship SMS Charlotte at Dartmouth, 1910


The new College, on the hill to the left of the photograph, was finished in 1905 and HMS Hindostan has been moved to Plymouth. Her place was taken in 1905 by the Cadmus-class sloop Espiegle (commissioned in 1902) until 1910. We can see HMS Espiegle just off the bow of HMS Britannia. The visitor is SMS Charlotte, a three-masted, twin-funneled, steam corvette of the German Navy used as a training ship.


Verso: See below

13.9cm x 8.7cm Photograph

 

Catalogue number 104085

Verso of photograph "SMS Charlotte"


The postcard was sent to Professor André Charbonnier, a Modern Languages teacher at the college. He was called up into the French Army in 1914. It was sent by Karl Heinemann and is dated "Flensburg, 23 May 10". The German Naval Academy opened in 1910, was Heinemann a teacher at the Academy or was he a Naval Cadet who had been through Darmouth College? He went on to become an engineer and designed several semi-automatic weapons during the inter-war years.


Verso: Extensive text written in German with black ink

13.9cm x 8.7cm Photograph

 
Catalogue number 70116

French Navy ship Bougainville, 1887


The Bougainville was a three-masted steam sloop launched as the transport ship the Allier in 1875. She was attached to the French Ecole Navale from 1887 to 1912, probably for the same reason as HMS Wave at Dartmouth i.e. to give trainee officers some experience of steam machinery.


Recto: "Le Bougainville (ex-Allier) à Dartmouth 1887"

25.8cm x 19cm Photograph