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Thomas Kennedy's RN Service Record


On further Googleing for "HMS Crescent", I have discovered that Westminster Press published a series of books known as the 'Log Series' in the early twentieth century. One of the books in the series was titled "The Log of H.M.S. Crescent, Flag-Ship, Cape Station, 1904-1907 " - this link appears to be some sort of an OCR/scan copy of the original. Wikipedia has an almost complete list of the series here.

Does anyone know anything about the original series of these books?

I found the image below dated 1898 showing some of her crew on this antique website:

Also available at the same site is the image below. HMS Crescent appears to be the ship in dry dock on lower left - I suspect the 350 ton copper and wooden sheath is showing on the lower bow at the water line - but I could be wrong!

This extract below from the The Sydney Mail of 5th January, 1895 refers to her bringing out relief crews to Australia for a number of other Royal Navy ships. She also appears to get a change of Captain for the return trip.

I note part of the above article states:

"...the unsettled state of affairs in the Far East caused a complete change of programme with regard to her movements..."

At first I thought this was a reference to the Boxer Rebellion but the Wikipedia article here gives the date for that as 1900. The Russo-Japanese War commenced even later in 1905, so I am not sure what the reporter is referring to here. I guess it could be a reference to the generally unsettled times in the Far East from which both those events sprung - can anyone put light on this reference?


sea_mine said:
...I note part of the above article states:

"...the unsettled state of affairs in the Far East caused a complete change of programme with regard to her movements..."

At first I thought this was a reference to the Boxer Rebellion but the Wikipedia article here gives the date for that as 1900. The Russo-Japanese War commenced even later in 1905, so I am not sure what the reporter is referring to here. I guess it could be a reference to the generally unsettled times in the Far East from which both those events sprung - can anyone put light on this reference?



Pat - This excerpt from Wikipedia is relevant to the period in question. The Japanese Navy had close links with the RN at the time and even modelled itself on it. Captain WC Pakenham RN (later Vice Admiral Sir William Christopher Pakenham, KCB, KCMG, KCVO) was even embarked as an observer in a Japanese battleship at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War:

First Sino-Japanese War
Wikipedia said:
Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan fought over the control of Korea in the First Sino-Japanese War (August 1, 1894– April 17, 1895). The Sino-Japanese War symbolized the degeneration and enfeeblement of the Qing Dynasty and demonstrated how successful modernization had been in Japan since the Meiji Restoration as compared with the Self-Strengthening Movement in China. A shift in regional dominance in Asia from China to Japan, a fatal blow to the Qing Dynasty, and the demise of the Chinese classical tradition represented the principal results of the war. Those trends resulted later in the 1911 Revolution.

With victory, Japan became the major power in East Asia, empowered by Western technology and a well-trained, well-equipped military. Having gained confidence, Japan next challenged and defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904. The United States, under the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, admired Japan's modernization and military might, encouraging Japan to take on the job of civilizing Korea and the rest of East Asia. That naive policy would ultimately lead to Japan's attack upon the United States in World War II. Only with defeat in World War II did Japan cease imperial ambitions...

[I see that Nobby has just beaten me to it. :) ]


War Hero
Book Reviewer
In the photo group of someof the Crescent's ship's company, the centre man of the middle row is wearing fore and aft rig with a cap tally. I've never seen that before. What is his rate? Anybody know about this? Canteen manager for instance? And the POs, horn buttons but gold badges ???
nobby0919, Naval_Gazer, Seaweed & List,

Many thanks for joining up the dots guys - I appreciate your time and effort.

All this occured before Thomas Kennedy's tenure on HMS Crescent - I have failed to find anything on her during the period 1st July - 23rd August 1907, when he was onboard.

She appears to have joined the Home Fleet 4th Cruiser Squadron in 1909, so unless someone here can put light on the missing period, I will have to move on.

Thomas Kennedy was next posted to HMS Pioneer for just over two years from 24th August 1907 to 31st August 1909. Wikipedia has this on her. This Australian site has info on her both before and after she was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy on 1st January, 1913. However, there is nothing specific to the period 1907-1909. A far more detailed account of her duties from 1913 onwards is here on the Royal Australian Navy web site.

The caption to the image above reads:

I cannot seem to find the article referring to her Royal Navy career in the first paragraph of the article here on the Naval Historical Society of Australia web site - I don't think it's in their online database - pity, as the guys down under seem to have put a lot of effort into recording their ships' histories - I don't suppose anyone has a copy of the first article referred to?

This interesting bit of research into an old postcard appears to imply that she was on the Australia Station during Thomas Kennedy's tenure onboard.

Another good image of her is here

While dated eight months prior to Thomas Kennedy joining HMS Pioneer, I have to say I love this article from the "Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle" dated 15 January 1907. It looks like the paper sponsored three prizes for school kids to write of their experiences while visiting HMS Pioneer at Bluff on the southern coast of South Island, New Zealand. This is another tie to the Australian Station.

The image of her printed in the "Otago Witness" of 25th March 1908 here, does at last, show her during Thomas Kennedy's tenure on board. Another 'direct hit' is here in this article from the New Zealand "Evening Post" of 7th June 1909. Note the last sentence:

"...She returns to Wellington towards the end of the month, and then leaves for Sydney and Home waters."

This reference to her leaving for Home waters towards the end of June 1909 ties up well with Thomas Kennedy's Service Record, which states he was transferred off her on 31st August 1909.

More soon...



Upon returning from the Australia Station on 31st August 1909, Thomas Kennedy is then posted to the armoured cruiser, HMS Terrible. His tenure on this ship lasted 1½ months from 1st September to 15th October 1909.

Wikipedia has this on HMS Terrible - again there is no mention of where she was in 1907, so the hunt begins...

This page gives a good account of her action in the relief of Ladysmith during the Boar War. It appears some of her guns were actually landed with naval crews during this action.

I found this page with a much fuller description of her history and why she came into being - there are some great images of her too. I note that she appears to have been very expensive to run and is therefore most lightly laid up in September and October 1909.

I also found this fantastic photo album for sale on eBay, but as I have not won the lotto this week either, I will have to let it go. There are some very interesting images in it, including some excellent ones of Captain Percy Scott and the gun carriages he designed for land use of HMS Terrible's guns at Ladysmith. There is a Wikipedia article on Captain (later Admiral) Scott here - he seems to have had a keen interest in improving the accuracy of naval gun fire during his sometimes troubled career. Captain Scott commanded HMS Terrible from 1899 -1902 - which seems to have been the period when she saw most action.

The image below is from the 'Sea Your History' website here. The caption reads "The Naval Brigade from HMS Terrible (1895) at Durban, South Africa c.1899. (RNM)" - this would indicate that the gun is also from HMS Terrible:

Another good description of HMS Terrible's guns in Ladysmith is here.

This link appears to suggest that 1st Baron Maurice Hankey (see his Wikipedia article here), sailed on HMS Terrible when he was a coastal defence analyst in the War Division of the Naval Intelligence Department. The collection of letters cover the period July - August 1906, so from the description of the collection, we can conclude HMS Terrible visited the stated locations during this period.

This House of Commons question tabled on 25 July 1907, appears to confirm her in Portsmouth for propeller shaft repairs from September 1906 - she had been returning from Hong Kong when the damage occurred - which could have been the return part of the voyage referred to in the Hankey Letters collection above.

The delay in repairs results in a second Commons question being tabled here.

HMS Terrible
is referenced on a list of BRONZE ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY MEDALS on this page:

Godden, John R., Leading Seaman, H.M.S. Terrible, Case 35192

On the 14th February, 1907, Richard Smith, O.S., fell from a stage on H.M.S. Terrible into No. 5 Basin in Portsmouth Dockyard. John R. Godden Leading Seaman of the same ship, jumped in from a torpedo boat, and having caught Smith swam with him to the boat, where he was hauled aboard.

Still no direct link to Thomas Kennedy's tenure onboard HMS Terrible, but I will have another look tomorrow.


nobby0919 & List,

Thank you for the "Field Gun Jack" book reference - I came across a link to it last night.

These two great image collections of HMS Terrible here and here show the ship during her early career.

The blog here has a very nice example of the Queen's South Africa Medal awarded to Edward Shergold of HMS Terrible.

I am still making no headway in getting anything on this ship while Thomas Kennedy was onboard - i.e. September - October, 1909. The closest photograph so far to this date frame is in The State Library of Victoria - see this rare image of her in the latter part of her career. It's dated c.1910 to 1920.

One of the best close up images of her I have seen so far is here - even though it appears to be from a postcard.

There is a pdf edition of the book "The Commission of H.M.S. Terrible, 1898-1902" by George Crowe downloadable (21.9MB) from this site - choose the colour version which retains the quality of the photographs in the book. There is also a hard copy available for sale on the American version of Amazon here.

Wikipedia explains the act of ship commissioning here as:

"Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service"

I have not had a chance to read the pdf version of "The Commission of H.M.S. Terrible, 1898-1902" as yet and consequently I was wondering if it was normal in those days for a ship to take four years to be commissioned?




Lantern Swinger
The Wikipedia description on "commissioning" is to me somewhat misleading. I would say that refers to a ship while still under construction and up to the point she was ready for official acceptance into the RN.
Her Captain would have to then sign an official handover document.

A warship was comissioned for periods of time,usually several years.Starting after her trials acceptance under the first Captain,

Each of these periods become known as a commission. Quite often an oficial record of this period is published, hence Commision Book.
There are very good examples of these on the following website
nobby0919 & List,

Again, I appreciate your reply to my query on commissioning - yes what you say makes sense of the four year period of HMS Terrible's Commission (as opposed to Commissioning)

Not a direct link to HMS Terrible, but this pdf turned up on a Google sweep early this morning. It appears to be a document on Lieutenant-Commander Patrick Cashman R.N. pertaining to his service with the Naval Brigade in the Boar War aboard the light cruiser HMS Philomel. This ship was part of the HMS Terrible / HMS Powerful 'Task Force' in South African waters during the conflict. I mention him because he too was from Waterford.

I have to stop here for a break as, unfortunately, there is no school here in Ireland tomorrow (St Patrick's Day) and my son is looking for a game of 'Delta Force II' - it's either that or the 574th (ish) viewing of "Band of Brothers" - back soon :lol:



I am going to leave HMS Terrible for now as I have not had any hits for September or October 1909 on her, despite repeated Googleing over the past few nights.

Thomas Kennedy was sent back to HMS Pembroke II (Chatham Naval Barracks) - see page 3 of this thread here. His second tour of duty at HMS Pembroke II lasted from 16th October to 24th November 1909.

On 25th November 1909, he was assigned to what I deduce from this Wikipedia article as the base ship, HMS Ganges II, at Shotley, Suffolk - see the section titled Ganges at Shotley. This period culminated on 2nd September 1910 and Thomas Kennedy was then transferred back to HMS Pembroke II for 16 days from 3rd to 19th September 1910.

On his next transfer, this time back to sea on HMS Newcastle on 20th September 1910, he was promoted to Shipwright II of three years or more (as sweetpea states here on page 1 of this thread). He served on this light cruiser until 5th December 1912. Wikipedia has this on HMS Newcastle.

I'll Google her more tomorrow night.




Lantern Swinger
HMS Terrible
National Archives ships logs, these are in sequence, with no others listed between these references/dates.

So unless logs have been destroyed, or never existed,because say she was not in commission. I would not be able to say

ADM 53/27539 1907 July 16 - 1908 May 4

ADM 53/62606 1915 Sept. 9 - 1915 Sept. 30
nobby0919 & List,

Many thanks for the two document titles - I just cannot get a handle on doing this type of search on the National Archives site - just to prove I am trying, see the screen grab here:

Can you explain to me how you came by those two document titles?

Thanks again,

nobby0919 & List,

OK, I think the penny has dropped - the 'Documents Online' section holds records which have been already scanned, while the 'Catalogue' holds an index of documents too large to be scanned as a matter of routine - they are manually searched on request and then scanned for downloading or collection in person - have I this correct?

I followed your link and done a search for HMS Empress of India (without the 'HMS') for the window 1901 - 1905. This produced these seven results; the third result down on the list is in the screen grab here and begins with the date on which Thomas Kennedy joined the ship's company - 13th October 1901...

...Clicking through brings me to this page, where upon clicking the 'Request This >' button opens a new browser window thus...

...always being one for instant gratification, I choose the first option, 'Digital Express', which then opens this page. So far so good, but I am a bit concerned about the phrase used in the second part of the ordering process:

2. Pay securely online

From £8.50 we will locate and copy the specified number of pages as per the service you choose.

Has anyone any knowledge of how this 'Digital Express' service works as regards costing an order i.e. - how do you know how much of a document needs to be copied and do they tell you how much the final bill will be before they start scanning your order?

The FAQ section does not make you any wiser on this point.

Can anyone put light on this?




War Hero
Book Reviewer
CAUTION: If you are thinking of asking for copies of ships' logs they are enormous documents, roughly double A3 to a day, TNA will indeed make copies but the cost will be astronomical. Better to make a good list of exactly which ships and months you want and then go to Kew and look at them. NB page after page will have very little detail apart from courses steered and the weather. Individuals rarely get a mention.

If you do go to Kew, arrive at opening time (also best bet for parking), get straight on the computer and order your first three. It takes time to get them up and you need to be ahead in the queue. Pick a late closing day if you want to be sure of your money's worth.


Lantern Swinger
Seaweed is absolutely correct about document sizes & quantities.I went armed with a good digital camera to get what I wanted.There is no charge,or at least there was not when I visited Kew, for using your own gear.
Good advice from Seaweed and Nobby, particularly with regard to taking a good digital camera. The photocopying charges are prohibitive for anything but the odd page or two.
Seaweed, nobby0919, Naval_Gazer & List,

Thanks guys for the caution and advice on ordering copies of ships logs - I had a suspicion that it could cost a lot of money for possibly little gain when ordering these documents blind via the web site. As you advise, I will need to plan a research trip to Kew with care.

I missed my slot here tonight as I have a new recon image to dissect over on the Battlebus forum - see page 3 of the thread here. Seaweed, you may well have saved me enough money to buy another one :lol:

I'll move onto HMS Newcastle tomorrow.


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