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Catalogue number 78003

Lothringen or Preussen prior to 1920

Coaling was a messy business, the coal being shoveled into baskets then hauled on board to be emptied on deck and shoveled through manholes into the bunkers. Down in the bunkers, stokers would be shoveling the coal again to trim the bunkers. Here we see German sailors taking a break from bunkering either Lothringen or Preussen (when they were converted to carry the F boats that we can see in the background). The coal doesn’t seem to be of good quality.

10,7cm x 8,3cm Gelatine silver print


Catalogue number 35061

Foudre coaling 1911

The backbreaking nature of the work is shown in this photograph of Foudre taking on coal from a lighter moored alongside. It looks like native labour is being employed.

Recto "Embarquement de charbon à bord du Croiseur "Foudre" (Cliché paru sur les "Miroirs" (20 X 11))

11,2cm x 8,2cm Gelatine silver print


Catalogue number 29005

Karlsruhe 1917

To increase the range of a warship, once the bunkers were full, coal was stored in sacks on deck. This was particularly so during the First World War for ships of the German Navy who had lacked coaling stations outside Germany. This practice was not without risk, during a heavy sea, the sacks would move and so affect the stability of the ship also there was a fire risk should the ship go into action. Here we see the cruiser Karlsruhe in 1917 with numerous sacks of good sized coal on deck.

Verso "S.M.S.Karlsruhe 87 Decksladung bei der Unternehmung von Osel. Aufgenomen in Neufahrwasser. September 17" Deck cargo for the enterprise at Osel.Taken in Gdansk

10,5cm x 7,5cm Gelatine silver print


Catalogue number 70046

HMS Benbow

This photograph is one of a series taken after HMS Benbow had been coaling. The men are dressed in an amazing variety of clothes and headgear. The coal dust leaves them with black faces but white skin around the eyes and mouth. The different divisions of a ship would compete against one another to load the largest amount of coal in the shortest time and when the fleet was coaling, there was fierce competition between ships of the same class to finish first.

13,3cm x 8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 70045

HMS Benbow

HMS Benbow could take on 3,250 tons of coal as well as 1,600 tons of oil to be sprayed on the burning coal but the ships of the Iron Duke class, including Benbow, were the last coal-burning British battleships. The following Queen Elizabeth class carried 3,400 tons of oil and only 100 tons of coal, the advent of oil-fired boilers meant that refueling was less arduous and, eventually, could be carried out whilst underway. Note the ghostly faces and diverse garb of this coaling team from Benbow, also the wicker basket used to carry the coal.

13,3cm x 8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 70097

Jason coaling Tennessee

USS Jason was commissioned into the US Navy in 1913 as a collier and was used to supply American warships away from their home base. Coal in the holds was unloaded using grab cranes fixed to a gantry-like structure and on either side of the ship. Here Jason is coaling the battleship USS Tennessee. The hatch covers are open on Jason and note the pile of coal and the wheelbarrow on the deck of Tennessee.

12,7cm x 7,6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 73178

Jupiter coaling

This is probably USS Jupiter dumping coal onto the deck of a US Navy battleship. This coal will then be shoveled into the bunkers through open manholes in the deck. Such a coaling technique could only be performed when the sea was calm or in port as the two ships must come close to one another.

Recto "A record coaling"

8,2cm x 12cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 102018

Jupiter with destroyers

USS Jupiter is coaling two destroyers at the quayside. The gantry which supports the cranes can be seen running the length of the ship. After serving as a collier, USS Jupiter was converted in 1920 to the first aircraft carrier of the US Navy, USS Langley.

9,8cm x 6,2cm Gelatin silver print