Capt. Arthur David LINKLATER

The Folio Commonplace Book

worm.jpg The ‘Folio Commonplace Book’ gives some details of his employment by the Commissioners for the Port of Calcutta both before and after he was appointed Commander of the Retriever. Like Polonius the ‘Folio Commonplace Book’ appears to have been at supper with “a certain convocation of politic worms.” The whole book is affected. The front end paper is inscribed in Arthur's large, bold writing A. D.Linklater - D.V. Retriever Telephone Dock Office 707 Page 1 has a copy letter dated 11 December 1913; the Folio ends on page 95 with a copy telegram to Dhunjibhoy dated 29 July 1916. The pagination is mostly, but not always, serial. Some ‘pages’ are more than they seem e.g. ‘page 38’ covers two pages whereas ‘page 73’ fills eight. The volume as a whole is about ¾ full, and seems to have been compiled in a more-or-less contemporaneous and chronological sequence. The other ¼ was left blank.

Some pages were typed or written on separate sheets which were then pasted in, as in the image at right, as were several newspaper cuttings. Not all the handwritten entries are in the same hand. The majority are certainly in Arthur's ‘normal’ sloping hand as shown in the image at right where “D.V. Retriever, Calcutta 10th. 12.13” is in Arthur's hand as is “No. 199” on the pasted in section; the other, more upright hand is by someone else. It might conceivably be his, but I'd put money on it not being. [I am dithering as I tend towards graphological schizophrenia myself.] However there are at least three other styles which I take to be assistants of some sort rather than colleagues; as some of the writing looks less mature than Arthur's to my eye - see below left; how about yours? Note particularly the two versions of “in abeyance” and in the lower example the mis-spelling “resination”. Whoever the other writers, they remain anonymous with the possible exception of a single entry entitled ‘Hints of the Weather in the Bay of Bengal’ which is signed A. S. Hall, Commd. L.V. Hesperus. Why Arthur's amanuenses, if such they were, also took it upon themselves to sign his name [below at right] I have no idea. Only the top example is the real McCoy.

As for the content, it is all pretty humdrum stuff and is either quoted elsewhere or unlikely to be of general interest. The ‘Index’ entry [see below] for Page 1 - “Letter re Patterson” [dated 11 Dec 1913] conceals the underlying causa epistoli; that Patterson was drunk in charge.

Sir, I regret to have to report Mr Patterson the officer in charge of the Canopus on Dec 2nd for coming off to this ship under the influence of liquor and for gross insubordination. I have the honour to be Sir...

This is one of the most interesting entries! Thereafter Arthur was embroiled in gas pressures, shackles and shekels - for yes, mammon rears its ugly head from time to time as will be seen in due course. I am greatly assisted by the fact that Arthur compiled an ‘Index’ which gives a good general flavour of the contents as a whole. Here 'tis.

Index Page
Letter re Patterson 1
Report on laying Eastern Brace 2 & 6
Letter re Lightship officers uniform 3
Report on deterioration of gas buoys “21” & “22” 4 & 5
Saugor [Survey of lighthouse and ancillary buildings.] 7, 8 & 9
[Maintenance of gas buoys.] 10
Clearing Comet's chain 11
Gas pressures & capacities 12 & 13
Overhaul of the Moore 14 & 15
Communicating with Light vessels 16
July and August cyclonic winds 16
Flasher for Moore 17
Rolling weights on Moore shaft 17
Vaporisers from Saugor 17
Coal tar for buoys 18
Mixing litharge 19
Price of Gillanders [Gillandus?] anti-corrosive paint 19
Requisition for the Moore 20
Report on Saugor 21-23
Moore to Town procedure 24
Filling a gas-buoy from Moore 25
Floating tanks from Saugor 25
City of London's passengers 26
Letter re. same 27
Explosions in sinking ships 27
Aga gas buoys [Amalgamated Gas Accumulator. Swedish invention enabling lighthouses, buoys etc. to be run unattended for long periods of time at low cost.] 28
Aga flashers 29
Mooring of Aga boats 30-33
Some cuttings 34
Weather signals 35
Winds North & South of a storm 36
Weather in March 36
Weather in April 37
Jessingham weather in April 37
Remarks on weather signals 38
Towing Aga boat buoys 39
Mooring Aga boats 40
Remarks on Aga boats 41
Channel Lights 42
Letter on chan. lights 43 & 44
Steaming down Gabtola (night) 45
June weather 46
Retriever (inspection of) 47
Letter re. R.N.R. 48
Wood polish and notes re. Guide 49
Drawings of Guide & Retriever 50
Report re. keepers at Saugor 51
Weather notes 52
Weather notes etc November continued. 53
December 54
Conversations 55
Letter regarding grounding 56
1914 Overhaul of the Moore 57
Letter re. Saugor Light House keeper 57
Semaphore notes 58
Sailing orders for Madras 58
Salving of Lotusmere 59
Telegrams from Madras 60
Report on salving Lotusmere 61
Position (sketch of Lotusmere) 62
Letter re. increase of salary 63
Chart of Ennore Shoal 64
Notes on Aga accumulations 65
Lotusmere (salving fees etc) 65
Weather notes (A.S. Hall) 66
Capacity and consumption, Retriever 67
Humidity 68
Night navigation 69
Chief Officers advertisement 69
Connecting piece to Coir cable [Mooring light vessels.] 70
On making a will 70
Letter re. increase of salary 71
Letter re salvage award of Lotusmere 72
Towing from Calcutta to Colombo Voy. 1 73
Letter re cause of Hilsa foundering 73
Letter to R.I.M. on arrival [Royal Indian Marine.] 74
Letter to D'y director R.I.M. re Hilsa foundering 75
Calcutta to Pamban Voy. 2 76
Calcutta to Pamban Voy. 3 77
Letter to R.I.M. re. pilotage 77
Calcutta to Pamban Voy. 4 78
Calcutta to Pamban Colombo, & Bombay Voy. 5 78
Letter re. sinking of Iris 79
Letter re. sinking of Ardbeg 80
Letter re. escorting steamers Bombay 81
Bombay to Karachi Voy. 6 81
Letter re. Karachi arrival 82
Letter re. Bombay arrival 83
Karachi to Bombay & Colombo Voy 7 83
Colombo to Calcutta Voy. 7 84
Letter to R.I.M. re pilotage 85
5 ton derrick 86
Resignation to Commissioners 87
To Dhunjibhoy letter no. 1 88
Pilotage letter to R.I.M. 89
Leave proposal letter 90
Leave letter 91
Sailing ship voyages [A short résumé entitled The Youthful Voyaging of Link on the page.] 92
To Dhunjibhoy letter no. 2 91
To Dhunjibhoy letter no. 3 93
To Dhunjibhoy letter no. 4 amp; 5 94
To Dhunjibhoy letter no. 6 95
To Dhunjibhoy telegram 95

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