Presented is a rare 1865 Royal Navy Lords Commissioner's of the Admiralty,
Sterling Silver Presentation Compass from the H.M.S. Britannia, the original owner's examination certificates,
and a letter written to his parents in 1868 while stationed in Australia aboard the H.M.S. Blanche.
THE COMPASS: The sterling silver compass is hallmarked and engraved
on its obverse. It also has purity marks on its stem and ring. It is in working condition and considering its age
and use, is in excellent shape. The compasses' crystal is a bit hazy and might benefit from a cleaning by a watch smith.
It measures 2 9/16 inches long and a little bit more than 1 5/8 inches across, and 7/16" in thickness, the size
of a small pocket watch which it resembles. Inside the stem is a plunger which is supposed to lock the compass card
in place. The jeweled card is marked in Cardinal Points and each quadrant is marked from 0 to 90 degrees.
THE HALL MARKS: They are from left to right, First the Maker's Mark
which is discussed below, then the Lion Passant (Lion with foot in the air) a Sterling Silver purity indicator of 92.5%, next
the face of a Leopard in a shield which identifies London as the city of origin, then the letter "i" which is the
London date mark for 1864, and finally the Duty Mark which is the head of the reigning sovereign, or in this case, Queen
THE MAKER'S MARK: "RG" over "FB" in a square. This mark is that of
Richard Groves and Francis Barker who registered this mark in 1861 properly pre-dating the 1864 London "i" date stamp. They
were in business as Groves & Barker from 1848 - 1865 at "16 Market Street, St. John's Street Road, Clerkenwell,
where they were listed as "mariner's compass and sundial makers." The firm was continued by Barker and his sons until about
1960 as a "manufactory," and may have employed a number of journeymen, apprentices, and other workers
The compass may have been one of the last items to have been produced by the partnership since
Francis Barker is listed as having entered his own mark as a smallworker in 1867 which indicates he may have then set up his
THE RECIPIENT: Adolphus James Carcaud entered the Royal Navy at age
15 in 1864. He was awarded the compass in 1865 while serving as a midshipman aboard the H.M.S. Britannia
from March 30, 1864 to June 21, 1865. In that era, French which was one of the subjects in which competency was required as
part of an officer's professional military qualifications.
HIS CERTIFICATIONS: Included are the examination certificates for
Officer of a Watch, dated 30 AUG 1870 and Navigating Lieutenant, 14 OCT 1871. These cover his ratings for Navigation,
Cutlass and Pistol proficiency, the French Language, Knowledge of Ships Construction and Holds, Sails & Rigging, Flags
and Signals, Steam Engines, Maneuvering Ships and so on. These are the professional subjects upon which he
is evaluated with the instructor's ratings. They are signed, dated by the Captain of the Galatea as it was the practice
in the Royal Navy to have the tests and grading performed by a captain assisted by a naval instructor from another ship. They
are marked duplicate as they are the sailor's copies to keep for his records. There is his personal information,
his navy record and his Acceptance of Resignation. There are a total of 7 pages. These documents were folded and
opened over a long period of time, and have separated along the fold lines. They should be professionally mounted and
framed to preserve them.
HIS SHIP'S SERVED IN:
HMS Britannia 30 MAR 1864 until 21 JUN 1865
HMS Liverpool 22 JUN 1865 until 10 AUG 1867 as Midshipman
HMS Victory 11 AUG 1867 until 13 JAN 1868
HMS Supply 16 JAN 1868 until 17
JAN 1868 as Sub Lieutenant
HMS Blanche 20 JAN 1868 until 14 OCT 1871 as
TOTAL SERVICE 5 years 248 days
THE LETTER HOME: The letter is in excellent condition. It
is written on H.M.S. Blanche stationery, dated October 10, 1868, and is 6
pages long. In this letter he describes an attack his company made on the 'cannibals' of the Island of
Georgia to demand satisfaction for the killing of five white men. They killed about 1000 'cannibals'
in the attack! He describes the shelling and landfall attack and then hunting down wild boars to roast. He also
discusses the New Zealand Maori uprising in 1868 and that they are to sail there and join up with the 18th
Regiment. It is a fascinating inside look at this man's Royal Navy military career. and the significance of these
THE RESIGNATION: His resignation from the naval service was accepted
by the Admiralty on 8 APR 1872 for reasons not stated other than it was at the applicant's request. His home given at that
time was 3 St. Thomas St., Portsmouth,
- Details on HMS Galatea, and HMS Blanche
- Various Lords of the Admiralty Memorandums (Fleet Orders) from 14 AUG 1839 through 8 JUN 1842.
- Copy of Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks and Makers Marks for London, England.
This compass and it's provenance are
of museum quality and importance. Definitely a 'one-of-a-kind' must have for a serious collector who
can appreciate its importance and rarity.