Provenance and Methodology
This document is the memoir of my Grandfather, George H. J. Hanks, who was a Sick Bay Attendant (S. B. A.) on board the H.M.S. Carnarvon during the First World War. He wrote this memoir in Montreal in 1915 while the Carnarvon was undergoing major repairs after having hit an uncharted reef off the coast of Brazil. The memoir is just over 6300 words long, filling a 40 page school exercise book. The manuscript remained in family possession until 2003, when it was donated to the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library.
Based on the high level of factual accuracy (dates, locations, ships encountered), it seems clear that Grandfather took notes of some kind during the Carnarvon's voyage. When I asked my Father, Dr. George Edward Hanks, about the unusual level of detail, he told me that Grandfather had a friend on the bridge, which seems probable because page 40 of the memoir contains an extract from the ship's log for the Battle of the Falklands Island. Apparently, keeping a diary was against regulations, so it seems likely that Grandfather took advantage of the extended shore leave in Montreal to write up a full account of his notes and memories.
In order to preserve the spirit and structure of the original memoir, I have decided to maintain its original spelling, sentence structure and pagination. Where possible, I have tried to corroborate or to explain certain points in greater depth with explanatory footnotes. In this spirit, I have also appended several supplementary documents, including profiles of the opposing fleets, maps, and the most illuminating excerpts from the Carnarvon's Night Order Book.
Robert K. Hanks, Ph. D.
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