H.M.S. Mercury Papers at the National Maritime Museum

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A list of papers from H.M.S. Mercury, Portsmouth Signal School, in the possession of the National Maritime Museum, London.


Signals extracted from the General and Additional Sailing and Fighting Instructions by Day and by Night. 1782. Compiled in MS and believed to have belonged to a Lieutenant Burges of H.M.S. LONDON, who is thought to have copied it from another one. It has an elaborate explanation of a numerary method of signalling in the chessboard system, not exactly that being concurrently experimented by Howe and Kempenfelt, but closely resembling it. The system was never adopted. The book was an advance on others in its method of classifying signals into 20 categories. It is divided into two halves: one for making signals and one for decoding them. It also contains signals appertaining to hassling sails course and action. Included is a letter from Julian Corbett re. volume. [Number 3]


Signal book for the Ships of War. 1783. Issued to H.M.S CORMORAN from the Flagship H.M.S. AJAX at Port Royal, Jamaica, on 13 April 1783 by Command of the Admiral (Rear Admiral John Millar). A Squadron Signal Book giving signals and instructions including and additional to those in the General Printed Signal Book. Contents: Compass signals; Horary signals; Signals with sails and guns; Sailing signals by day made from the Admiral; Signals when under sail made by private ships; Fog signals when under sail; Signals at day when at anchor; Fog and night signals when at anchor; A scheme for night signals. [Number 4]


Untitled Signal Book. 1790-99. A comprehensive book of numeral signals in MS. It is believed that it was owned originally by R. Dundas and subsequently given to his friend E. Hartweb. Contents: A code and decode of more than 200 numerals, signals of sails and guns and night signals. [Number 11]


Untitled Vocabulary Signal Book. [1800]. Originally used by the ROMNEY off Copenhagen to Admiral Dickson off Elsinore. Issued for trial by Sir Home Popham afterwards, with instructions for comments from the Fleet to be sent to Lord Spencer. Contents: A vocabulary of 2998 numeral signals; Lettered signals and significations; Miscellaneous; Signals for use in convoy; Fog and night signals. [Number 14]


Untitled Signal Book. 1811. Contents: Day signals from the Admiral; Day signals from private ships; Signals and instructions for government of the Fleet during the night; Fog signals and instructions; Rendezvous signals; List of headlands; Marine vocabulary. Signature of G. J. Smithson, RN; originally belonged to Captain Joshua Rowley Watson, nephew of Captain Burgess, who as Lieutenant in Command of H.M.S. ARDENT was killed in the battle of Camperdown. [Number 17]


Boats Signal Book, 1825, containing numeral groups with significations and other useful information for boats. Produced, apparently, only for use between H.M.Sloop BARRACOUTA and her boats. [Number 23]


Dictionary of Signals. 1857. Tied with a different book??? [Number 30]


Fleet Signal Book. Addenda 1907/8.


Untitled Signal Book. Probably 18th Cent. Contents: Compass Signals; Instructions for Day Signals; Index to Day Signals; Day Signals; Sailing Instruction by Night; Night Signals; Sailing Instruction in a Fog; Fog Signals; Table to ascertain Distances; Order of Sailing. [Number 204]


Untitled Signal Book. Probably 18th Cent. Contains: Geographical section; Ship distinguishing pennants section; 100 numeral signals; Pennants signal section; Distress signals; 72 miscellaneous numeral signals. [Number 206]


Untitled Signal Book. Possibly 1781. A General Signal Book printed by Congdon No.52 Fore Street Dock. [Number 203]


Untitled Signal Book. Possibly 1808 or later. A local Signal Book for use in Plymouth. Contains: Harbour Signals; Boat Signals; Coast Signals; Geographical Signals; List of Navy. [Number 201]


Signal Book with up to 2998 signals. Same vocabulary as in MER/11.


Signal Book with vocabulary of 464 signals, and Convoy signals.


Signal Book with vocabulary of 277 signals, Night, Fog, distant signals.


Loose leaf Signal Book, with numerous pendant and vane signals.


Signal Book. Includes vocabulary of up to 966 signals; Convoy signals. Loose paper - indicates may have belonged to Beaufort at some point.


Signal Book with Numeral flags, telegraph flags, pendants, compass signals, signal balls and distant signals. Also signal flags of foreign navies. Signed Augustus Phillimore.1865?


Numeral Signal book up to 129.


Day signals with vocabulary up until 294. Also with night and fog signal vocabulary. Sir John Borlase Warren?


Envelope marked Admiral Beaufort. Contains loose sheets boats signals vocabulary.


General Index to Day Signals from the Admiral. [in Number 210]


General Signals. [in Number 210]


Miscellaneous collection of small signalling books, including 'French Coast Signals given to me by Captain Wolfe of the H.M.S. AIGLE April 1807' and 'Signals and Instructions for Ships under Convoy of H.M.Sloop BLOSSOM Francis Beaufort Esqr Commander.' [Number 213]


Envelope containing various signal books, pamphlets, and letters of varying dates, though some give no indication of their date or function: 'Signals to the Phaeton's Flotilla'; 'Night Signals'; 'Day Signals' and 'Distant Signals' by Francis Beaufort; 'List of Her Majesty's Ships, Vessels, and Torpedo Boats' (1897); 'Naval Manoeuvres, 1899'; letters (2), one to Captain Beaufort. [Number 211]


Secret Signals for Electric Telegraph. 1855. [Number 28]


'Diagram Battle Signals' by Commander J. H. Brown. 1859. Contains 5 basic signals for use as Battle Signals. There are an additional 8 symbols available if more than 20 signals are required. Also with a letter to P. H. Colomb, London, 16 May 1863. [Number 34]


Envelope containing miscellaneous documents and reports on signal matters such as 'Signal Addendum to the Mediterranean Station Order Book' (1880); 'A Criticism on the Present Signal Book with Suggestions for its Revision' and 'Signal Book' by Captain Cuthbert Hunter; 'Remarks on Revised "Manoeuvring Signal Book"' (1897); Letters (1898-1904) from the Admiralty concerning Commander Everett's work on Signals; Suggestions of Admiral Hornby re. revision of the General Signal Book, and other documents. [Number 209]


'Suggestions regarding Forming and Disposing Signals' by Flag Lieutenant Mark Kerr. 1890. [Number 51]


'A Systematic Scheme for Forming & Disposing and Stationing Signals' by Sub Lieutenant A. F. Everett. 1891. Everett was at that time the Signal Officer of H.M.S. Collingwood H.M.S COLLINGWOOD stationed in the Mediterranean. [Number 56]


Manuscript and typescript copies of correspondence, 1891-92, between Admiral Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby and Lieutenant Everett, re. Equal and Unequal Speed Manoeuvres. Also, copies of 'Some suggestions relating to our Code of Tactical Signals' at different stages of revision. [Number 55]


Proposal for Changes in the Numeral Signs. 1893. [Pages 1, 27-28 only]


Letters of Lieutenant A. F. Everett when onboard H.M.S. Amphion and the Admiralty on the subject of rules for the use of Wireless Telegraphy in the Fleet and the revised Morse signs as shown in the plate. 1893. [Number 61]


Correspondence between Captain Percy Scott and Lieutenant Allan Everett re. lamps. 1894-98. See printed catalogue for full list.


Communication between Ships. 1897. A compilation of reports and handwritten letters by Captain Percy Scott, mainly on the subject of communication by flashing. [Number 66]


Reports of Robert Scott and Allan Everett on different types of thin-fibred electronic lamps for flashing. 1898-9.


Electric Mechanical Flashing Lantern by Captain Percy Scott. 1894-1900. Folder contains letters dated 1899 only.


Letter, Percy Scott to Prince Louis, H.M.S. Scylla, Malta, 1 February 1899.


Lectures and papers, 1899-1908: 'Our Tactical System as Revealed by the Signal Books'; 'Some Observations on Naval Tactics' by Captain Hammell; [Battle Fleet Action] (1907) by Captain William R. Hall; 'Duties of Destroyers'; 'Some Remarks on Battle Tactics' (1902) by Allan F. Everett; [Forms of Signalling], pp.37-72 only; 'Task Organisation Call Signs (for use in Voice Cubicles)'; 'Need for Tactical and Signal Courses'; 'The Control and Concentration of the Fire of a Battle Fleet' by Captain Chatterton of the IPHIGENIA; 'The Conduct of Signalling in Action'; 'Cruising Order of a Battle Fleet' (1907-08); 'Diagrams shewing some station-keeping Efforts' (1899).


Letter, to Captain Scott, H.M.S. Majestic, 1 January 1900, 27 pages.


Letter, H. G. Sandeman to Buller, H.M.S. Cæsar, 20 May 1900, re. navy policy on assessing articles under trial.


Letter, H.T. Buller to Everett, Admiralty House, 22 May [1900], re. direct flashing lamp.


Papers and letters containing proposals to revise Battle Tactic Signals. 1901. They were written and devised by Lieutenant Everett who was then Officer in Charge of the Signal School, or the School of Signalling as it was then known onboard H.M.S. VICTORY. Also letters (3), J. A. Fisher to Everett. [Number 76]


Letter, Lieutenant A. Hamilton (Alexander Gibson Hamilton?) to Captain Edwards, Mayfair, 29 October 1901, enclosing "Supplement to J. H. Steward's Catalogue, Part 8, of Military Instruments", which includes The Hamilton 'Signotutor'.


Letter, Watson to [A. F.] Everett, Malta, 8 December 1901, re. possible visit by Mr Mitcay who has invented an instrument for quickly changing cipher messages.


W/T Exercises in Mediterranean. 1901-04. Letters and documents re. exercises carried out by ships in the Mediterranean Fleet in distant signalling in Wireless Telegraphy.


Letters and reports re. Chatham Pattern Truck Semaphore. 1901-5.


Instructions for Signalling by Submarine Cable. 1902.


Photograph of Lieutenant H. W. Eason, first Officer of the School of Signalling when it was in H.M.S. VICTORY. 1903. Also a photograph of Captain Thomas Wells and showing a Day and Night Telescope, and an envelope containing a homing pigeon message form. [Number 82]


Long Distance Signalling Destroyers. 1903-05. Folder containing letters and documents relative to the system of signalling by means of 'shapes' in Destroyers.


Letters and papers re. Professor Forbes' Invention for Destroyer Recognition Signals. 1903-06; included in folder is Lieutenant Buckle's System of Recognition Signals.


Letters, reports, and diagrams re. foreign methods of signalling. 1903-09.


Service Documents of George Edward Cullingford, including Certificate of qualification for a Signal Instructor. 1904. [Number 87]


Reports and letters re. Flashing Lantern experiments carried out by Commander Everett and Lieutenant Robert Scott. This was not long after the experiments carried out by Captain Percy Scott, who when in command of H.M.S. SCYLLA in 1897 conducted many experiments with Flashing Lanterns. 1904-1919. [Number 91]


Lieutenant Hardman Jones' System of Signalling in Action. 1905.


War Tactical Exercises. 1905. A pamphlet classified Secret, which contains brief instructions on the use of Cruiser Code cipher numbers. [Number 92]


Front cover only of folder entitled Flags. 1905-14.


Correspondence re. Royland Tubb's proposal of coloured lights for signalling. 1906.


Correspondence re. J. Wall's Bridge Signal Monitor Plates. 1906.


Correspondence re. Mr Liwentaal's cryptographic instruments. 1906-7.


Methods of Signalling in the Imperial Japanese Navy. 1906-09. [Pack No. 5c]


Remarks Regarding Captain Cuthbert Hunter's Proposed Emergency Signal Code. 1907.


Correspondence between John Robinson and Captain Everett re. 'The Morser'. 1907.


Instrument for Signal Instruction, constructed and designed by George Mears. 1907.


Burbridge's Signalling System. 1907.


'Captain Gavin's Simplex Code for Day and Night Signalling'. 1907.


'Position Square Charts and their Use, with a Proposed New System for Reporting Rapidly and Accurately an Enemy, his Position, Course, and Speed'. 1907.


Skinner's Day Signalling Apparatus. 1908.


Letter, Richard Townsend to Captain Edwards, Chatham, 1 July 1908, enclosing a method of distant signalling by Mr Gladstone. With Edwards's reply.


"J. H. Steward's Supplemental List of Military Instruments". 1908.


Correspondence and papers re. Disc Signalling, including'Handbook on Signalling by Means of Discs, Invented by Lieut.-Colonel B. R. Dietz' (1908) and'Memorandum for Signallers who are detailed to carry the Signalling Disc'. [Pack No. 27]


Letter, Richard Townsend to the Superintendent of Signal Schools, enclosing a report on, and sketch of, a small masthead, which he has fitted on Tufnell's models for instructional purposes, Chatham, 5 May 1908.


Typescript, 'The Channel Fleet Cruising Orders Nos. 1 & 2 with Signals (temporary) & Instructions for Deploying into Line-Ahead'. 1909. [Number 113]


Hollis' Miniature Flash Tutor. 1909.


Macdonald's signalling methods. 1909.


Lectures on Signals and Other Subjects ('Rough Development of W/T in the Service'; 'The Fighting Instructions. 1530-1816' by Lieutenant W. G. Robson (1953);'Lecture on "Signals"' by Lieutenant Malcolm Kennard (1909); 'Some Features of Naval Signalling' by Captain Everett; 'The Semaphore') [Number 116]


John Brown & Sons, Glasgow. Nautical whist. 1910.


Edison & Swan. Flashing lamp. 1910.


Semaphores - electric & others. 1910.


Submarine Sound Signals. 1910-12.


Sergeant C. Fox's signalling instructional screen. 1911.


Electric signals & lighting of ships. 1911.


Stephenson's supplementary signaller. 1912.


Sergeant C. W. G. Hill's system of visual night semaphore signalling. 1912.


Letter, an unidentified Lieutenant to Capt. A. C. Scott of {UK-Blonde|f=p}}, 24 November 1913, submitting for his consideration a 'Divisional Scheme of Search by a Destroyer Flotilla'. [Number 135]


Signals and Lights for Dredgers. 1913.


David Smith Wright's invention for ships to locate each other in a fog. 1913.


J. Carmichael Boyle's system of sound signalling. 1913.


Intercommunication Between Signal Stations in Ships. 1913-14.


Searchlight Signalling. 1914. Five letters relating to a trial of a searchlight, which uses ultra violet rays for secret signalling.


Robinson's secret signalling with ultra violet ray. 1914.


Organisation of Wave Lengths. Probably 1913. An edited and corrected publication apparently intended for inclusion in the Signal Manual. Originally a pamphlet of eight chapters laying down the principles and methods of W/T Communication in the Royal Navy. [Number 214]


Envelope containing cryptographic tables compiled by Sir Francis Beaufort and published by his son W. M. Beaufort. [Number 213]


Hand drawn plate of a form of Semaphore, written on the back of the sheet are the words 'Jack Telegraph'. [Number 202]


Envelope containing various printed books and typescript documents dealing with signalling and ship handling. Commander Everett, 'Remarks on different subjects connected with Cruisers' (1903) [tipped in is a letter, Evan Macgregor to The Commander-in-Chief, H.M. Ships and Vessels, MEDITERRANEAN, Admiralty, 11 March 1904]; Commander Sir R. K. Arbuthnot, "Commander's Order Book for a Mediterranean Battleship" (Portsmouth: Griffin & Co., 1900); Commander R. N. Ommanney, "Notes on the Management of Ships in a Fleet" (Portsmouth: Griffin & Co., 1898); "H.M.S. "Hawkins" Note Book". [Number 210]


Pencil diagram of lamp base with mathematical equations.


Letter, ?Robert Scott to Allan Everett, H.M.S. Defiance, Devonport, 13 April [n.y.]


Hefford's cypher telegraphy [n.d.]


Marking of Funnels of H.M. Ships. [Pack No. 14]


Private Signals [in 210]


On Day Signals [in 210]


Navy Flashing Signals (letters and photographs). 1891. Printed correspondence (1861-91) between Admiral Colomb and the Admiralty re. his invention of night flashing signals for the Fleet, particularly payment thereof. Also MS letters [copies] between Admiral Colomb, Rear Admiral Smart and Captain Cochrane, with photographs of apparatus for making night signals. [Number 53]


Night Flashing Signals. 1893. Letter, Lieutenant A. F. Everett to Admiral P. H. Colomb, H.M.S. AMPHION, 5 September 1893, re. Night Flashing Signals. Letter, Everett to Hayward, H.M.S. AMPHION, 27 October 1893, dealing with the same subject and strongly condemning Admiral Colomb's public criticism of a proposed new system of Night Flashing Signals. Letter by W. Fred. Tyler on Night Signalling printed in the "Nautical Magazine" October 1893. [Number 60]


Scheme for the Improvement of Night Signalling. 1896. [Pages 1-9 only]


Correspondence re. Sub-Lieutenant C. P. Cotton-Stapleton's Invention for Night-Signalling at Sea. 1906.


Night Code of Flashing Signals. Instructions from Lieutenant Everett to Harrison & Sons, Printers to the Admiralty.


Scheme for the Improvement of the System of Night Signalling.


Annual Reports on Naval Pigeon Service 1897-1907; Part 3: 1903-07 only. [Number 82A]


Foreign Pigeon Service Organisation. 'Addenda (No. 1) to Naval Intelligence Department Report (No. 461) on Homing Pigeons' (1896); translation from the "Kolnische Zeitung" of 21 March 1903 re. Homing Pigeons in the Navy; translation of Report on the Italian Pigeon Service; translation from the "Rivista de Artigleria e Genio" re. Military Pigeon houses or Lofts. [Number 82B]


New Automatic Gas Light (Imperial Light). 1905.


Memo re. trial of Imperial Light. 1905.


Memo re. further trials of Automatic Gas Light. 1905.


Diagram of Imperial Automatic Light with explanation of mechanism. 1905.


Report on trial of Imperial Light. 1905.


Quotation from United Engineering Co. Ltd. to Commander H. G. Sandeman (School of Signalling), 13 October 1905.


Detailed particulars of Imperial Automatic Lights from United Engineering Co. Ltd. to Commander H. G. Sandeman (School of Signalling), 14 November 1905.


Letter, Superintendent of Signal Schools to Commander in Chief, H.M. Ships and Vessels, Portsmouth, 15 November 1905, re. Automatic Gas Light.


Log of Scott's Flashing Lantern. 16 August - 16 September [n.y.]


Diagrammatic cross-section of base of lantern (3/4) size.


Diagrammatic cross-section of lantern (3/4 size).


Circuit diagram for lantern set-up.


'Scott's Masthead Electric Flashing Lanterns'. Bound copy of MER/119-121, with an introduction and annotations/corrections to circuit diagrams.

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