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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Parish Records




War Memorials


reproduced by kind permission of John Wood,   to whom all queries should be addressed at.




Hms Brittannia c.1901

HMS Brittannia c.1901 (as spelt on the original photograph)

From the McGoldrick Collection


The photo above shows the Naval Training ship HMS Brittannia moored in the river Dart at Dartmouth before World War 1. This hand-tinted version of the photo would have sold well to the parents of cadets training on the vessels and could have been purchased at the photographer's shop. But look at it again. Even with the old Hindostan lashed on to it (L) and connected by a small walkway to a larger vessel,  this looks as though it would have been very close quarters for the accommodation and education of more than 400 students. And even though the river was tidal, just imagine the sanitary arrangements and you will understand the risks the Admiralty was taking when two of the royal princes were sent to train here by their father King Edward VII. The decision was made to commission a new brick-built building to be erected as quickly as possible but this is where the Princes Eddie and George began their training.


Dartmouth Naval College under construction 1905

Dartmouth Naval College under construction in 1905

Taken from the Kingswear side of the river

From the McGoldrick Collection


This second photo may not be so attractive to look at but it is full of interest to historians of Dartmouth. We think it actually shows the building of the new college (the cloud of dust) taking place, with shutes in place to carry rubbish quickly down to the quayside and straight on to contractor's vessels and, with a donkey engine in place, hauling building materials up the steep hillside to the site.

In either case, what we see are two decommissioned war ships of the Royal Navy (Hindostan is the smaller vessel) but even though we can see how out-of-date they were, it's fairly obvious that these would have been formidable opponents in any naval engagement. ( and no, this is not the HMS Hindustan that distinguished herself at Zeebruge.)

The near-completion of the modern Naval College allows us to date this photo with some accuracy to 1905 which was the year when the building was completed and the  new intake of students arrived.


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