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Guide to the M. F. Wilson diary, 1903 September 21-1904 September 20

Summary

M. F. Wilson was a midshipman in the gunroom of the HMS Leviathan, a Royal navy cruiser based in the China Station in 1903. Diary of life aboard a British war ship, maintained by M. F. Wilson over one year, including entries related to target practice and other drills, preparation of torpedos, coaling, mooring and unmooring, movements of sailors among the Royal Navy's ships, watches and duties, cleaning and painting, preparations for inspection, and the coming and going of other countries' vessels. He also records activities during free time, including playing football, hockey, rugby, cricket and taking part in boxing matches and hunting parties. Wilson outlines his shore leave excursions to Mato, China; Tokyo; Shanghai; and the Ming Tombs, where he attended dinners and the theater, bathed and swam, or held picnics and hiked. There are descriptions of hotels, bath houses, tea rooms and stores. In an entry for December 12, Wilson notes the purchase of his photographic gear, and in February he announces that war has been declared between Japan and Russia, the progress of which he follows in subsequent entries. Major ports mentioned include Nagasaki, Weihaiwei, China; Hong Kong, Yokohama, Woosung, and Nankin.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11641
Title
M. F. Wilson diary
Date
1903 September 21-1904 September 20
Creator
Wilson, M. F.
Extent
1.0 Volumes, 196 pages
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Diary of life aboard a British war ship, maintained by M. F. Wilson over one year, including entries related to target practice and other drills, preparation of torpedos, coaling, mooring and unmooring, movements of sailors among the Royal Navy's ships, watches and duties, cleaning and painting, preparations for inspection, and the coming and going of other countries' vessels. He also records activities during free time, including playing football, hockey, rugby, cricket and taking part in boxing matches and hunting parties. Wilson outlines his shore leave excursions to Mato, China; Tokyo; Shanghai; and the Ming Tombs, where he attended dinners and the theater, bathed and swam, or held picnics and hiked. There are descriptions of hotels, bath houses, tea rooms and stores. In an entry for December 12, Wilson notes the purchase of his photographic gear, and in February he announces that war has been declared between Japan and Russia, the progress of which he follows in subsequent entries. Major ports mentioned include Nagasaki, Weihaiwei, China; Hong Kong, Yokohama, Woosung, and Nankin.

There are 64 albumen and silver gelatin photographs, probably all taken by Wilson. Includes panoramas of Hong Kong, Yokohama, and Weihaiwei harbors; as well as photographs of his fellow midshipmen; steam boats used for transport; images of the Leviathan; docking and drydock areas; coaling; along with picnics, hikes, hunting parties, and street scenes from his shore leave, particularly in Mato, Weihaiwei, Shanghai, and the Ming tombs. There are also images related to target practice for the ship and two images of Japanese ships destroyed by the Russians during the Russo-Japanese war.

There are 19 ink drawings, including one map. Subjects include landscapes, sunken vessels, Leviathan target practice, and other incidental images.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

M. F. Wilson Diary, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Historical Note

M. F. Wilson was a midshipman in the gunroom of the HMS Leviathan, a Royal navy cruiser based in the China Station in 1903. He was also an amateur artist and photographer. He was possibly a resident of Dover, England.


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Provenance

The M. F. Wilson Diary was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Alice Poffinberger, July, 2018

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2018-0059