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Thread: ca 1878 British Merhchant Navy Master's Uniform enquiry: Photograph

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    Question ca 1878 British Merhchant Navy Master's Uniform enquiry: Photograph

    SEYMOUR John as Captain.jpg

    My questions relate to the uniform of the captain in this photograph.
    1. There appear to be a 'ribbon' stripe embellishment across the left breast of his jacket. They look a little like medal ribbons from naval decorations but he was never navy and I am not aware of his receiving any civil / merchant equivalents. Can anyone advise me please what they are, or are likely to be? I have another photo of him, as first mate, from some years earlier and there are no similar ribbons across his jacket breast.
    2. It's difficult to tell but the cap badges do not all look alike and they do not seem to be standard merchant marine type insignia. Is it likely that they're wearing some sort of 'corporate' cap badges?

    Background.
    The captain here is John Seymour, seated middle row fourth from the left. He gained Masters certification in 1869 and his first command in 1878 on Kangaroo (ON 1608). His previous voyage, and several before that, were with her as First Mate. The photo may well be his first command, making it Kangaroo in 1878. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1889, but that's the only 'decoration' I am aware of. Seymour, and Kangaroo, were with The Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company at the time this photo was taken.

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    Default Re: ca 1878 British Merhchant Navy Master's Uniform enquiry: Photograph

    Hello Dougal,
    I typed in "Images for John Seymour Royal Geographical Society" and a whole raft of stuff came up including his Election paper as a Cable- Laying Master Mariner. Photo of him as First Mate c.1877. I'm rubbish at doing links but I'm sure you could find him quite easily. Whole history of his family as well.

    Best of luck. I thought that the youngsters in the picture looked more like Midshipmen, but as you say maybe they were in the uniforms of the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. The cables must have been the 'internet' of the day - fast Communications so a really important job. There's also a Ship's Chaplain ( Padre) in the photo.
    All very interesting
    Regards
    Brenda

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    Default Re: ca 1878 British Merhchant Navy Master's Uniform enquiry: Photograph

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenda Shackleton View Post
    I typed in "Images for John Seymour Royal Geographical Society" ...
    Hi Brenda

    Most of the material you found will be the result of my research efforts. It’s a hobby / passion and I’ve found a lot of interesting stuff. Usually I am able to find an answer via online and physical archives and only rarely do I seek external expertise on issues. This is one such issue

    The photograph does not do the Chaplain justice. His eyes look somewhat malevolent, poor fellow.

    The photo shows 28 folk. Kangaroo had a base-crew of around 30 and augmented up to 80 or so for cable laying missions. None of the crew agreements I have mention a chaplain so I am not sure whether they had a secondary official position or whether they were not a part of the official crew, or what.

    The dog may be the Master's. I think I have other photographs of a very similar dog at home with family. Maybe I will even ascertain the dog's name.

    Cheers
    Dougal
    Last edited by Dougal Watson; 24th June 2019 at 02:28 AM.

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