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Poetry from 1870s Naval Diary

Posted by Oliver Walton, on October 20th, 2014


The poems written into the back of a diary by the unidentified S.D. reveal the role played by the Royal Navy during the period, when the navy served as a global policeman, and took him to the Indian Ocean, on anti-slavery patrols on the SE coast of Africa as well defending the British Isles in the Channel squadron.  The poems do not reflect the changing nature of the Navy during the years S.D. was serving, but do suggest that S.D. intended the exercise of writing the poems into his diary as a form of self-improvement.  The fact that they are a shared experience explains the subjects: death, naval discipline, boredom, shore-leave, naval action, patriotism and the nature of friendships between shipmates.

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