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Admiral Sir Stuart Bonham Carter | WW1 Royal Navy Handbook

Admiral Stuart Bonham Carter | Royal Navy Handbook (1916)

Price £115.00 Sale


by Commander W. M. JAMES, R.N.

GIEVE'S, Portsmouth, 1916

A WW1 handbook for Royal Navy officers, published by Gieve’s in 1916. Well illustrated with line drawings and diagrams, the book deals with organisation and seamanship on the battleships of the British Fleet. Subjets covered include: ships watches, organisation by armament, command, standing orders, routine, parades, coaling, cable work, boat work, recreations, etc. This book belonged to Stuart Sumner Bonham Carter, who joined the Royal Navy in 1904, and in 1916 was serving as an officer aboard the battleship Emperor of India. The book is signed on the front endpaper by 'S. S. Bonham Carter’, with his additional note ‘Please return to his cabin’. It seems likely that the cabin he refers to would have been on the Emperor of India.

Vice Admiral Sir Stuart Bonham Carter KCB, CVO, DSO (1889-1972): The younger son of Lothian Bonham Carter and Emily Maud Sumner, Bonham Carter joined the Royal Navy in 1904 and served with great distinction in both world wars. In October 1914 he was appointed to the battleship Emperor of India as a turret officer. The ship took part in numerous sorties in the North Sea to enforce the blockade of Germany. Bonham Carter left the ship on 13 February 1918, and just a few weeks later went on to play a major part in one of the most celebated naval exploits of the war, commanding the block ship HMS Intrepid at the Zeebrugge Raid on 23 April. He also commanded the destroyer HMS Shark in the closing stages of the war.

A keen cricketer, he played two first-class matches for the Royal Navy Cricket Club in 1925. He was appointed Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Africa Station in 1928 and made Assistant Director for Navy Equipment in 1932 before becoming Chief Staff Officer to the Commander of the 1st Cruiser Squadron in 1934. He was given command of the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham in 1937 and made Naval Secretary in 1939.

During WW2 Bonham Carter was promoted first to Rear-Admiral, serving with the 3rd Battle Squadron from 1940, and then to Vice-Admiral in command of the 18th Cruiser Squadron from 1942. He was involved in extremely hazardous Arctic convoy operations, including Convoy QP 11 in May 1942, on board his flagship HMS Edinburgh. The convoy was made up of merchant ships returning from the Soviet Union to Britain after delivering their cargo to the Soviet Union. A patient in the sick bay of HMS Edinburgh described a visit by Bonham Carter just as they left port: ‘a burly figure in a heavy naval coat, without any insignia of rank - apart from his gold braided cap. The Admiral was full of bonhomie and confidence as he spoke with each of us. Before leaving he made a short speech. “Well lads, you know we are escorting Convoy QP 11 back to England. I don’t think our German friends are going to let us pass without a fight, so you must prepare yourselves for action, but never fear, you are in the hands of the Royal Navy and we’ll get you back safely”. Stirring words.'

After leaving Murmansk, the 13 merchant ships, escorted by 18 warships, were attacked by German destroyers and submarines, suffering the loss of one merchant ship as well as the light cruiser HMS Edinburgh, which was scuttled after being critically damaged by German U-boats and surface vessels. Despite being unable to steer, and with her targeting systems out of action, Edinburgh’s crew had managed to keep firing and crippled the German destroyer Hermann Schoemann. Two of Edinburgh’s officers and 56 crew were killed in these actions, the rest of the crew being picked up by the destroyers Gossamer and Harrier. The epic story of HMS Edinburgh is even more extraordinary in that the ship was carrying a huge amount of Russian gold bullion - 4,750kg, worth approximately £5 million in 1942, and £69 million today. The gold was lost with the ship, but almost all of it was eventually salvaged in a series of diving operations in the 1980s.

Bonham Carter was made Flag Officer, Malta in 1942 and retired due to ill health in 1943, although he was recalled in 1944 to continue leading naval convoys.


In good condition. The boards show signs of wear, some fading to the spine, and a few marks. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text and illustrations are in very good condition. There are some marks to the endpapers. There are Imperial War Museum ‘Withdrawn’ library markings and stamps to the endpapers and title page. Signed on the front endpaper by 'S. S. Bonham Carter’, with his additional note ‘Please return to his cabin’.

Published: 1916
Blue boards with gilt titling
Illustrated with line drawings and diagrams
Dimensions : 145mm x 220mm
Pages: 186