An unpublished manuscript journal of a British voyage to the Gulf, on display at the ongoing ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition organised by Sharjah Book Authority at its headquarters in Sharjah, is a unique primary source that offers an insight into the Middle East during the early 1930s.
Documented by British Royal Navy officer Francis Wyatt Rawson Larken, who served on HMS Effingham – one of five Hawkins-class heavy cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War, the three-journal volume also includes a richly detailed account of a visit to Dubai and an on-board reception of the Trucial Sheikhs on December 17, 1930.
In his journal entry, 19-year-old Acting Sub-Lieutenant Wyatt R. Larken notes that the Trucial Sheikhs and an entourage of around 200 people were given a tour of the battleship. He writes: “They then left in their respective barges – ornate and rather splendid motor dhows, the various Sheikhs receiving salutes the number of guns ranging from 6 to 1 in ratio to their importance.”
With 28 charts and plans and 55 technical drawings in pen-and-ink and watercolour on card, the original two-tone cloth is bound with red spine-labels.
Royal Navy insignia, belonging to the keeper of the journals, is displayed in a metal case.
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