Populair Wetenschappelijk Maandblad, Februari 1954. Design Wladimir Flem via wordsandeggs
Medical diaries released by the U.K.’s National Archives reveal a number of bizarre — often dangerous but occasionally effective — treatments to ailments commonly faced by sailors in the Royal Navy during the 18th and 19th century. The diaries were kept by Royal Navy medical officers who served on ships, hospitals and brigades from 1793 to 1880.
The completeness and consistency of the records has offered historians a rare look at the history of medicine on the high seas.
Throughout various expeditions embarked upon by the Royal Navy, these surgeon-sailors encountered a myriad of diseases and conditions — and had some truly outlandish ideas for how to cure them. Although these accounts are often gruesome, they provide a window into the history of the high seas when the Royal Navy ruled the waves.
(above) Kelvin’s tide machine, the mechanical calculator built for William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) in 1872 but shown here as overhauled in 1942 to handle 26 tidal constituents. It was one of the two machines used by Arthur Doodson (above) at the Liverpool Tidal Institute to predict tides for the Normandy invasion. (Photos courtesy of Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory.)
- The tide predictions for D-Day on physicstoday
Without Lord Kelvin, there would have been no D-Day.
“… it was particularly important during WWII in order to properly plan beach landings, but even without the war part I found it fascinating. We take this so for granted now, that we can crank out sin() and cos() values instantly, but that was not always the case.”
We’re talking about predictions a bit more precise than simply saying, “the water is low” or “the water is high.”
As an Allied cross-channel invasion loomed in 1944, Rommel, convinced that it would come at high tide, installed millions of steel, cement, and wooden obstacles on the possible invasion beaches, positioned so they would be under water by mid-tide…
H.M.S/M Scotsman (P243)
Launched 18 Aug 1944, Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) – She survived the Second World War and was eventually sold. Scrapped at Troon, Scotland on 19 November 1964.
Wilhelm Gustloff: taken on April 10, 1939 in Stanford le Hope, England, GB
The German ‘Strength Through Joy’ liner Wilhelm Gustloff in the Thames on Apr. 10, 1939, when she carried 2,500 German and Austrians to outside the three-mile limit so they could vote in the Austrian plebiscite.
Launched: May 5, 1937. Apr 10, 1938: Used as a polling station for those Germans in Great Britain who wished to vote on the Austrian annexation question. The polling was done outside of the 3-mile limit of British waters, and voters were taken from and returned to the harbor at Tilbury.
Noted as “Obstacle No. 73″ on Polish navigation charts, and classified as a war grave, Gustloff rests at 55.0729°N 17.4213°E, about 30 km (16 nmi; 19 mi) offshore, east of Łeba (17.33E) and west of Władysławowo (18.24E). It is one of the largest shipwrecks on the Baltic Sea floor. Wilhelm Gustloff remains the largest loss of life resulting from the sinking of one vessel in maritime history.
HMS Victory (Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar; HMS Warrior (Britain’s first iron-hulled battleship); and HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious (twentieth century aircraft carriers), in harbour at Portsmouth. (3198 x 1992)
Initially named Torbay and Toreador, respectively, the sister ships CHAMPLAIN and VANCOUVER were originally commissioned in the RN in 1919. They were lent to the RCN while replacements for PATRIOT and PATRICIAN were being built in Britain, and the transfer took place at Portsmouth on 1 March 1928. (As there was already a Vancouver serving in the RN, she was renamed Vimy to free the name for the new Canadian ship.) In May 1928, CHAMPLAIN arrived at Halifax and VANCOUVER at Esquimalt to provide reserve training, as did PATRICIAN and PATRIOT, at opposite coasts. They were paid off at their respective bases on 25 November 1936 and sold for scrap the following year. (2033 x 1144)
Coast Survey offices in Manila at Engineer Island. Offices from 1936 to the beginning of World War II
Friday Happy Hour: Dockside Bars Around the World on Scuttlefish
Throughout history, wherever there have been sailors, there are also dirty, dingy, salt-encrusted dive bars left behind, either to rot to the ground in stale grog and vomit (as they well should), or to be sadly re-purposed as the “new” hip neighborhood bar. Nevertheless, the sailor bar is almost a methodical arrangement, consistent throughout maritime culture, going back to, well, the creation of booze and the very first pubs.
CLEVELAND — The U.S. Brig Niagara is scheduled to remain in dry dock at the Cleveland shipyard operated by Great Lakes Towing Co. for 12 days, and is tentatively set to return to Erie on Friday.
The Niagara returned to Erie on Sept. 22 after a two-week voyage to Montreal for a tall ships festival. Its crew spent the next two days taking down rigging before sailing the vessel to the Cleveland shipyard Monday. Work on the Niagara began Wednesday.
As a sailing school vessel under U.S. Coast Guard inspection, the Niagara is required to be inspected out of the water twice in a five-year period, with no inspection interval exceeding three years. The Niagara’s last such maintenance check was in October 2008.
*View a photo gallery of the U.S. Brig Niagara as it is dry-docked for required maintenance at Great Lakes Towing Co., in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29:
When Iowa was selected to ferry President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Cairo and Tehran Conferences, she was outfitted with a bathtub for Roosevelt’s convenience. Roosevelt, who had been paralyzed in 1921, would have been unable to make effective use of a shower facility.
Norwalk, CT – A U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary operations vessel rescued nine children and one adult from the 40’ R/V Oceanic, which had run hard aground in Norwalk Harbor this afternoon. The “Otter” a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel responded to a distress call from the research vessel after it became aground near Light 11 in Norwalk Harbor. The children ages 8 – 11 donned lifejackets and boarded the Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, while the research vessel crew remained on board.
According to Coxswain Richard Aarons, the rescue went as well as could be expected in light of the unexpected grounding. According to Coxswain Aarons, “My crew performed flawlessly, I cannot say enough for their professionalism. I told them what we needed to do, and they just did it.” After getting the children and an adult companion off the stricken vessel, we transported them to the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium dock off Water Street in Norwalk. “Everyone was safe, smiling and in good spirits,” said Coxswain Aarons.
Law of the Sea The U.S. Navy trumps a U.N. treaty: weeklystandard.com
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST), presents a dilemma for some national security conservatives. On one hand, LOST “codifies” key navigational rights and freedoms that are important to the U.S. Navy—and the Navy brass actively supports ratification of the treaty on those grounds.
On the other hand, one could be forgiven for thinking the U.S. Navy’s 11 supercarriers, 75 nuclear submarines, and 200 other vessels, along with nearly 4,000 aircraft and 340,000 active duty personnel, obviate the need for a document that would merely allow us to do what we already do, and what we are entitled to do, with or without codification by the international community…
Autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire draws spellbinding 18ft picture of New York from memory… after a 20-minute helicopter ride over the city. Beautiful Minds: A Voyage Into the Brain, a documentary on a number of similarly gifted people, including Wiltshire.
Big Rusty Things: Here, have one of the largest antennas in the world – the PT-70.The height of the Radio Astronomy Telescope is 86.36 meters, and the diameter of the mirror antennas is 70 meters – almost the size of a football field! This antenna is steerable, and the weight of its moving parts far more than five thousand tons. Pointing accuracy of the swinger is 10 arc seconds, or less than a millimeter. The transmitter power is up to 200 kilowatts.
above: The tanker “Sabunchi” in the Caspian Sea
below: On the Caspian shelf the giant Kashagan oil field
Typhoon Nalgae slammed ashore in northeastern Isabela province Saturday, then barreled across the main island of Luzon’s mountainous north and agricultural plains, which were still sodden from fierce rain and winds unleashed by a howler just days earlier. Nalgae left at least three people dead Saturday. Typhoon Nesat killed 56 others and left 28 missing in the same region before blowing out Friday.
below: Fishermen stand at the scene of a cargo ship washed ashore at the sea port in Navotas city, north of Manila Sept. 27 after Typhoon Nesat, locally known as Pedring, hit the capital, Manila. Typhoon Nesat pounded the Philippines’ main island lashing crop-growing provinces and bringing the capital to a near standstill as it disrupted power supplies and closed financial markets, government offices, transport and schools. At least one person, a 22 month-old boy, died in the storm, and four people were reported missing. (The Big Picture)
The MTS – 626 (Moored Training Ship) going to sea for a shipyard visit down the Cooper River from its’ home at the NPTU (Nuclear Power Training Unit) in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Assisting are the Tugs: CAPE MAY, CHRISTOPHER B TURECAMO and the PATRICK McALLISTER. For more info on the MTS – 626 (Formerly known as the USS DANIEL WEBSTER SSBN 626) check out these websites:
Schotia brachypetala:Drunken Parrot Tree »
The common name of Parrot Tree derives from the large numbers of parrots attracted to the tree during its flowering season. The common name of Drunken Parrot Tree derives from the fact that the individual flowers contain so much nectar that it has a tendency to ferment before the birds can eat it all, resulting in a mild narcotic effect on the birds. more on wiki »
Experts say they are not sure if the lorikeets are actually drunk, but they do have tell-tale symptoms. “They exhibit odd behavior like falling over or difficulty flying and they keep running into things,” says Darwin vet Dr. Stephen Cutter from The Ark Animal Hospital.
SALT FROM SPAAAAACE! on Deep Sea News
Composite map of the first two and a half weeks of salinity data since Aquarius satellite became operational on August 25. Map reflects ~150km resolution and 1 week revisit time. © 2011, NASA Aquarius Project
Apologies if I lost any of you post-Gen X readers with that Muppet Show homage title. But this space + ocean news is a clear-cut case of science + technology = awesomesauce!
see also: PETA, Still Consistent in Being Idiots »
A rare slipper lobster, nicknamed Popeye, is cared for at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium after being discovered sitting on the pots of a fisherman in St Mawes, Cornwall. The slipper lobster – which is normally found in much warmer waters – is one of only a handful of specimens recorded in UK waters since records began back in 1758.
Glaucus changed into a Sea-God: Mythological Figures and Fables »
In ‘Neueröffneter Musen-Tempel’, a collection of mythological fables and stories (most notably from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’) is presented, accompanied by sixty copperplate engravings by Picart. The illustrations are superior in quality, even as they appeared in 1733 in the fading light of the Baroque tradition…
“By autonomously navigating the water’s surface, Seaswarm proposes a new system for ocean-skimming and oil removal. Seaswarm uses a photovoltaic powered conveyor belt made of a thin nanowire mesh to propel itself and collect oil. The nanomaterial, patented at MIT, can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. The flexible conveyor belt softly rolls over the ocean’s surface, absorbing oil while deflecting water because of its hydrophobic properties.
Seaswarm is intended to work as a fleet, or “swarm” of vehicles, which communicate their location through GPS and WiFi in order to create an organized system for collection that can work continuously without human support. Because they are smaller than commercial skimmers attached to large fishing vessels, they are able to navigate hard to reach places like estuaries and coast lines. Seaswarm works by detecting the edge of a spill and moving inward until it has removed the oil from a single site before joining other vehicles that are still cleaning. Oil is “digested” locally so that Seaswarm does not need to make repeated trips back to shore, which would dramatically slow collection time.”
all that remains of the SS Eltham, wrecked at Chapel Porth: According to the Canberra Times from 3 January 1930 (of all places), the story is this »
Discoveries Monument, Lisbon – “Padrão dos Descobrimentos” Henry the navigator
Redaksjonelt – Worker does maintenance on ship at Slipen ship warf in Sandnessjøen
Surging waves hit against the breakwater in Udono in a port town of Kiho, Mie Prefecture, central Japan, Sept. 21. A powerful typhoon was bearing down on Japan’s tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast approaching a nuclear power plant crippled in that disaster and prompting calls for the evacuation of more than a million people.
The Big Picture: Too Much of a Basic Human Need »
Stag, February 1955; Cover art by Clarence Doore via cowsinartclass72
lead ship of the Revenge class of battleships of the Royal Navy, the ninth to bear the name. She was launched during World War I in 1915, and was commissioned in 1916 just before the battle of Jutland.
In 1919, at Scapa Flow, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter issued the order to the now interned German High Seas Fleet to scuttle the entire fleet of 74 ships to prevent their use by the victorious Allies.
After the incident, von Reuter was brought to the quarterdeck of Revenge, flagship of Vice-Admiral Sydney Fremantle and accused of breaching naval honour. Von Reuter replied to the accusation, “I am convinced that any English naval officer, placed as I was, would have acted in the same way.” No charges were brought against him.
HMQS Gayundah: a flat-iron gunboat operated by the Queensland Maritime Defence Force and later the Royal Australian Navy (as HMAS Gayundah). She entered service in 1884 and was decommissioned and sold in 1921. She then served as sand and gravel barge for Brisbane Gravel Pty Ltd until 1950, when she was scrapped. In 1958, Gayundah was run aground at Woody Point at Redcliffe, to serve as a breakwater structure, her remains are still visible today. MORE »
left: To my eye, this ship’s hull echoed Richard Serra’s “Wake” sculpture installation in the Olympic Sculpture Park. The tanker was high out of the water, its anchor chain taut. Buildings from Uptown and Seattle Center are visible beyond.
right: The hull of the ship just off shore in yesterday’s photo reminded me of this nearby sculpture installation at the Olympic Sculpture Park. This is an abstract detail of one of many 14 foot tall pieces that comprise the work
The last day of September and the trees changing colour ready for autumn , here we see holiday barges lined up on the Forth & Clyde Canal near Camelon in Falkirk , Stirlingshire. Taken September 30, 2011 in Camelon, Scotland, GB by Dave Forbes Photography
my-ear-trumpet: 1920s boys counting change for entrance to circus sideshows
See you next week!
Maritime Monday is compiled every week by Monkey Fist
Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Portland, Maine. In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang and The Scuttlefish
Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at MM@gcaptain.com. She can also out-belch any man.