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Description: Proclamation signed by D.V. Johnston

  • Notes: At the end of World War I, the visible symbol of a nation's military might was its Navy, and so in 1923-24 'His Majesty's' ships 'Hood, 'Repulse,' 'Delhi, 'Danae,' 'Dragon' and 'Dauntless' with the 'H.M.A.S. Adelaide' in tow combined as the 'Special Services Squadron' setting forth on a World tour to showcase the firepower of the British Navy and help reaffirm control over its vast Empire. In 1919, the defeated Germany scuttled its entire fleet at the Scarpa Flow to prevent the ships falling into British hands, while Britain's colonial rival France finished the war with a naval presence that was small and largely obsolete. In contrast Britannia continued to 'rule the waves' but now in company with the formidable US Fleet and the ominously rising Japanese Navy. The combined British Squadron set out from Devonport (Plymouth) on the 27th November 1923 calling in first at Sierra Leone then Cape Town, Durban, Zanzibar, Mombassa, Trincomali, Penang, Singapore, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Jervis Bay and Sydney where it was joined by the recently commissioned 'H.M.A.S Adelaide,' which had only just shaken off its nickname the 'H.M.A.S Longdelayed' due to its lengthy construction that began in 1915. After a side-trip to Brisbane the Squadron set sail for New Zealand, Canada and the U.S.A. before arriving in Panama where the Hood, Repulse and Adelaide took a shortcut through the canal to the Atlantic. On their journey home they were greeted in the ports of Jamaica, Halifax and Newfoundland before returning to Devonport. The remainder of the Squadron visited various west coast ports in South America before rounding Cape Horn. After visiting the Falkland Islands they meandered up the east coast calling in on Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro before crossing the Atlantic to Cape Verde on the long journey home. On the journey, the H.M.A.S Adelaide crossed the Equator for the first time on the 1st June 1924 and, in the ancient tradition, any crew for which this was a first-time experience were inducted into 'King Neptune's Realm.' Each inductee was issued with a humorous proclamation protecting them from the perils of the sea which read in part that should a 'person fall overboard, having become one of our loyal subjects, we recommend all sharks, dolphins, whales, eels etc. under our command, to abstain from eating, playing with, or otherwise maltreating him.' In our Sale we offer a rare personalised proclamation for Seaman D. V. Johnston is along with a Silver-enamelled Badge issued to commemorate the commissioning of the H.M.A.S. Adelaide.
  • Provenance: World War I
  • Exhibited: Collectibles
  • Literature: 637
  • Medium: Military & Wartime

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September 22, 2019, 12:00 PM AEST

Paddington, Sydney, Australia

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