The Ship, Crew and Passengers
The voyage in the Brocklebank vessel Manipur of 1906 is the setting for the journey described in the diaries. Before WW1 she had a steady life working on the service from the UK to India but was called upon to serve during the war in rather strange ways - first as a dummy battleship in an attempt to confuse the Germans, then as a fleet repair ship and a Destroyer depot ship. You can see more photos and a brief history of the vessel on the Ship Histories section of the Benjidog Historical Research Resources HERE. Michael Wood is working on a book about the vessel and I will add details here when he has published it.
The images below are of the 'Agreement and Account of Crew' for the journey and include the names and roles of crew members.
Observations on the Crew List Document
- The document shown above includes two 16 year old apprentices; WOT would have appeared similarly on the documentation of the ships on which he served as an apprentice.
- There was a separate agreement document for Lascar members of the crew with different terms but we don't have a copy of it. The Lascars would have served as deck crew, stokers and trimmers and would have had a number of Serangs in charge of them.
- There were a number changes of crew during the voyage including a change in the 1st Mate, 1st to 5th Engineer and Chief Steward at Liverpool.
- The crew list includes 4 non-Lascar trimmers which seems unusual given that the other trimmers would have been Lascars. Trimmers on steam vessels were at the bottom of the pile in the engineering department. They loaded coal into the ship's bunkers in port, provided the firemen (stokers) with a steady stream of coal while the engines were running, and disposed of the ashes.
Manipur was a cargo vessel but these often carried a small number of passengers who were documented separately; the outgoing passenger list for the voyage is shown below.
There were only two passengers on this voyage - both clerks - the 42 year old John Hilton Davies travelling 2nd class, and 25 year old George Arthur Aspinwall travelling 1st class and apparently intending to remain in India - though the brief enquiries I made showed that he didn't. Aspinwall does not get a mention in the diaries at all for some reason. Perhaps JHD didn't think much of him?