This Week’s War: 216

Aside

‘Longuet[?] in impassioned speech declares France is in danger of extinction. Already 1,700,000 killed and 800,000 maimed.’

Entry dated Friday September 20 1918, diary of John Bruce Glasier [GP/2/1/25].

Cunard archive: Engineering staff records

At SCA we often receive enquiries from individuals who are researching their family history or are trying to trace an individual who worked for Cunard.

In this post we highlight some of the types of records found within the Cunard archive that relate to the engineering staff who worked for the company, and how researchers can discover this information.

Engineering staff taken at a luncheon on board Mauretania II prior to her breaking up – all of the individuals are named (18 Nov 1965)

As is often the case with business archives, the surviving records are not comprehensive and this is particularly the case for staff records. However, the role of engineer is perhaps the most likely to produce results for a researcher when compared to other roles such as steward or those working in the catering department. This is largely due to ‘D42/EN Engineers Department: Personnel records’ – a unique series of records within the Cunard archive  whose catalogue is available in printed format in our reading room.

These records appear to represent an almost full record of engineering officer staff from 1870, and as such are the most comprehensive staff records of any department within the company. This series of records also includes appointment books of White Star Line engineers prior to the creation of Cunard White Star in 1934. They generally contain information concerning appointments made to particular ships, length of sea service, rate of pay and rank information as well as often noting resignations, retirements and deaths.

Due to the personal nature of these records, some are subject to closure periods and their frequent use as a business record before being transferred to SCA also means that many of these volumes are fragile. Advance appointments to view these records help researchers get the most from their visit and ensures the long-term preservation of the records.

 

‘Cunard Careers at Sea’ (D42/PR4/46/56)

The personnel records of the engineering department can be complimented by ‘Captains Reports on Officers’ 1910-1922 (ref. D42/GM14/1-3) which were compiled by the General Manager’s Office. Other individual records which help provide biographical information of engineering officers can be found in the form of news clippings, press releases and notes (ref. D42/PR4/43/1).

Further potential sources of information can be found within passenger lists which in some cases record the names of senior staff, including that of the Chief Engineer. The photograph collection within the Public Relations series also contains a few examples of named individuals, with engineering staff appearing in both individual portraits and group photographs.

D42/PL12/1/3/14

All of the catalogues for the Cunard archive are available in printed format in our reading room. Further information about the archive and links to the catalogues that are searchable online can be found on our webpage, along with an information sheet about tracing crew.

This Week’s War: 215

Aside

‘We beg to point out that if the extra accommodation requisitioned by the War Office is granted it will put us to considerable inconvenience […] The present temporary Laboratory and curtailed filling room are barely sufficient to meet the demands now made upon them and in view of the increase in the entry of Dental Students, we must have some room for expansion.’

Letter dated September 11th 1918, from W. H. Gilmour to the War Office regarding use of the Dental Hospital [A306/2/8].

This Week’s War: 214

Aside

‘This is a very war-scarred district, the scene of much severe fighting quite recently, and the villages are all mere heaps of debris. Till the rain came the dust, fanned by a strong wind, was terrible. It was most curious to stand on a piece of high ground and see all around what looked like burning villages […]’

Entry dated September 9th 1918, War Diary 1917 – 1919, by Aleyn Lyell Reade [ALR. A. 1. 2].

This Week’s War: 213

Aside

D.S.C. for Cunard Apprentice

It is interesting to record that one of the Cunard apprentices, F. W. Hartley, who left the Company to join the Navy in 1917, has been awarded the D.S.C. for conspicuous bravery while in action with enemy submarines.

Extract from Cunard magazine August 1918 issue [D42/PR5/1].

This Week’s War: 212

Aside

“Allies advancing. More capture of German prisoners and guns. War press jubilant, and crying out for ‘No terms but complete surrender.'”

Entry dated Friday 23 August 1918, diary of John Bruce Glasier [GP/2/1/25].

World Photo Day 2018

This coming weekend sees the return of World Photo Day for 2018. To celebrate, Special Collections and Archives staff have selected one of their favourite photographs from within the collections and explained why it is special.

Jenny Higham, Special Collections and Archives Manager

A147 Harold Cohen Reading Room

“As I’ve found it impossible to pick a favourite across all the collections, I thought I would choose this photograph of the main reading room in the Harold Cohen Library, taken for the firm of its architect, Harold Dod.  A recent deposit from the University’s Facilities, Commercial and Residential Services, the photograph shows the scale and style of the new building, funded by Liverpool businessman Cohen and opened by the former prime minister, Earl Baldwin of Bewdley on May 21st 1938.”

Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian

RPXXIIA.1.3

“This beautiful photograph album from the Rathbone papers shows May Rathbone at various young ages; the photographs, which are decorated with Victorian pen-and-ink drawings and/or studio props (from which historic photos can be dated), shows a determined little girl/young woman (the only child in her family to survive childhood), who later went on to become a doctor, mountaineer, and botanist.”

Jo Klett, University Archivist

D361/1/34. © Frank Neubert

“Sister Benn with a pair of forceps in an operating theatre, at Liverpool Royal Infirmary in the early-mid 20th C. What can I say?!”

Andy Sawyer, Science Fiction Librarian

PX8721.B74 1937. ©Harold Godfrey

“These are two of the most iconic photos in Science Fiction history: the first science fiction convention at Leeds Theosophical Hall in 1937.

The “group photo” is most of those attending, including Liverpool’s Eric Frank Russell, then at the very beginning of his writing career. And Les Johnson, Secretary of the Liverpool Science Fiction Group.”

L-R: Walter Gillings, Arthur C. Clarke, J. “Ted” Carnell. PX8721.B74 1937. ©Harold Godfrey

“The three unlikely suspects above are the three most important men in 20th century British Science Fiction.

Left to right: Walter Gillings, founder of the first British fan group who spent many years trying to establish a British science fiction magazine, which he finally did just before the Second World War.
Arthur C. Clarke, almost certainly the most famous British sf writer after H. G. Wells, then writing in fanzines and promoting the British Interplanetary Society. He had just moved to London (1936).
J. “Ted” Carnell, who after the war became editor of the influential NEW WORLDS magazine and later edited a series of “New Writings in Science Fiction” anthologies.

Without these three, it’s doubtful if the British would have had much of a presence in Science Fiction.”

Siân Wilks, Archivist (Cunard)

D42/PR2/1/97/F67

“Choosing just one photograph from the many thousands that can be found within the Cunard archive is an almost impossible task. With this in mind I have selected one of the few colour transparencies that can be found within the collection that show passengers dancing on board RMS Queen Mary. It looks like getting there really was half the fun!”

Niamh Delaney, Assistant Librarian (Special Collections)

P.170

“This image shows a family of Belgian Gypsies – Carlo Basili [or Vasili] and his children, at Barnet, Herts. It was taken by Fred Shaw, a member of the Gypsy Lore Societywho had met and photographed the family two years previously; he therefore had a friendly relationship with the family, and as a fluent speaker of various Romani dialects, was well known by Romany communities. Other examples of Shaw’s work are currently on display in Paris at the exhibition Mondes tsiganes: La fabrique des images (#MondesTsiganes @MNHI; more information can be found online here.)”

Josette Reeves, Archives Cataloguer

D587-1-4 [1912-1915]

“There are lots of photos of various sports teams in the University Archive, and many of them are posed shots of the teams holding their rackets/sticks/etc and looking terribly serious. So I love this one of the men and women’s tennis teams relaxing and drinking tea in Calderstones Park in around 1912 – they all look so happy. And just look at those clothes!”

Robyn Orr, Library Assistant

A241/F

“It was hard to pick just the one, but any photograph including a cat is a winner for me. This particular cat is having an examination of his back leg by the Vets at Leahurst Veterinary School, at some point between the 1960s and 1980s. His little shocked face says it all… You can see more Special Collections and Archives material relating to cats here!”

Michaela Garland, Graduate Library Assistant

D42-PR2-1-95-Q27 © Reuters

“This photo is really striking as it captures a moment in time when the Queen Elizabeth was undertaking her duties as a troopship. Perhaps these men were being transported into the chaos of WWII? It makes me wonder what they were thinking. This is probably also one of the few scenarios where being on the bottom bunk wouldn’t have been the most sought after option. I can’t imagine it being too much fun from the way the men are peeping out from the tiny lower bunks… who knows what would have been scurrying around under them? I also really like how the image is contextually ambiguous in that at first glance it could be just a candid shot of the men relaxing in their quarters, but as the troops are swigging their Pepsi Cola’s and the branding is front and centre, the image also comes across as being a very clever promotional tool.”

All of the above are available to view by appointment at Special Collections and Archives. Happy snapping!

This Week’s War: 211

Aside

“Though one man was just touched here last night, I should have mentioned that no one was really hurt. The shell struck the edge of a trench right under the corner of the building and blew the floor up behind the bar. It was very strange how, occasionally, an isolated shell would drop, as it did here, in a perfectly quiet area…”

Entry dated August 15th 1918, War Diary 1917 – 1919, by Aleyn Lyell Reade [ALR. A. 1. 2].

This Week’s War: 210

Aside

‘I haven’t much to write about here. Wars and rumours of coming Wars, and I am busy putting in some very hard training with my little Squadron. Men are very keen – horses on the thin side but hard, and all is running well.’

Letter from Denis Bates to Percy Bates, dated 5th August 1918 [D641/3/4/13].