Kennedy, Admiral Sir William.


1st.ed., 1902. 317 + 16 (advt.) pp. Blue cloth ; gilt ; attractive cold./gilt decorated cover ; bevelled boards. 19 x 13cm. Nr.FINE. Four-page A.L.S. tipped in, from Admiral Kennedy when he was C-in-C at the Nore (written on the blind headed notepaper of that office), no date (Oct. 11 – probably 1902), addressed to "Dear Robinson" (Cmdr. Charles N. Robinson R.N., editor of the Navy & Army Illustrated, and author of many fine naval books). The author spent fifty years in the Royal Navy from 1850 to 1900 (see above) and draws on his experiences to describe naval life during the Victorian era when the Royal Navy patrolled every sea in the world. These peace patrols gave ample opportunity for the officers to indulge their passion for sport on foreign stations. Here Admiral Kennedy includes the Mediterranean, China, Pacific, Bermuda, Jamaica, Cape, South East Coast of South America, Calcutta and the Andaman Islands, the Persian Gulf, Baghdad, and Scandinavia among the places where the Navy enjoyed sport and other leisure activities. Sports popular with Victorian naval officers included Blackbuck shooting in Southern India, big-game hunting in the North West Provinces, duck shooting near Karachi, reindeer stalking and salmon fishing in Norway, trout fishing in Swedish lakes and rivers, and deer stalking in Scotland. The author also provides an account of his three years aboard the LORD WARDEN stationed at Queensferry in Scotland, where chess was popular in the flagship. An important book on the subject ; a bright copy in its original attractive binding and containing a fine four-page letter in the hand of Admiral Kennedy, C-in-C at the Nore, addressed to Commander Charles Robinson. The author refers to his article on dear stalking which he asks to be got ready for publication before he leaves for Albania for cock shooting with Sir John Baird whose yacht is there. Further on in his letter he writes : "They (presumably the Admiralty) have shunted me before my time as they might easily have left me for 18 months as most of my predecessors were allowed". He goes on to say that he has served to the "best of my ability & tried to maintain the credit of the Service … and it is a poor return after 50 years service, more especially as they have promised Markham 2 years whether he is promoted or not. I send you my photo as a little reminder of one of your oldest contributors. My relations with the Navy & Army Illustrated have been of the most pleasant character…" The Admiralty wished to retire Admiral Kennedy who was obviously not ready to be "shunted". The Navy, however, urgently needed to replace its older officers, like Sir William Kennedy, who had joined in the era of sail, for a younger breed who were up to the challenge of a modern fighting fleet on the eve of the dreadnought era and with the threat from Germany increasing year by year. Admiral Kennedy and his book marks the passing of the old navy when its officers could indulge their passion for sport. Near-FINE copy with ALS.

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