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About Brian Goodison-Blanks
Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood. He is based at Honiton in Devon.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Friday, July 12, 2019

 After taking part as a crew member of the British Antarctic ‘Terra Nova’ Expedition 1910-1913, Francis Davies remained in contact with several fellow crew members and scientists throughout his lifetime.

One of Francis Davies strongest friendships was that with the Terra Nova’s captain Harry Pennell (1882-1916) in fact Francis Davies even gave his son ‘Pennell’ as his middle name. The strength of this bond is seen within Francis Davies Polar Collection in a letter from Harry Pennell written aboard HMS Queen Mary during World War One. Harry Pennell was Commander of HMS Queen Mary at the time and writes to Francis Davies of his concerns regarding Sir Ernest Shackleton during his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 of which Pennell writes ‘Undoubtedly and Expedition will have to be sent to the Weddell Sea this next season to try and relieve Sir Ernest’.

 a letter from harry pennell to francis davies on his concern for sir ernest shackleton.

 A letter from Harry Pennell to Francis Davies on his concern for Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Harry Pennell goes on to write about other expedition members Williams and Nelson and their wartime situations, in particular the fact that Nelson was now the only original officer of his regiment surviving the war. The letter is a glimpse into the relationship of two men who understood the perils of Polar Exploration and of war. It is even more pertinent when one considers the date on which Harry Pennell writes to Francis Davies, the 11th May 1916. Harry Pennell was to be killed on the 31st May 1916 aboard HMS Queen Mary when she was sunk during the Battle of Jutland
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Friday, July 12, 2019 4:37:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, July 11, 2019

As a young boy Francis Edward ‘Frank’ Davies (1885-1952) was inspired after reading ‘Farthest North‘ an account of Fridtjof Nansen’s Polar Exploration aboard the ‘Fram’, to one day travel the world on an adventure and explore unknown regions. On the 4th July Francis Davies reported to the Royal Naval barracks Devonport and signed on as a shipwright for twelve years, beginning his own lifetime of adventure and exploration.   In 1910 Francis Davies was selected as the ships carpenter aboard the Terra-Nova for Captain Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1913, where he proved himself invaluable by keeping the aged ship afloat, even spending nights asleep beside the Terra Nova’s ever troublesome main pump. Francis Davies was instrumental in the preparations and construction of the expedition’s winter quarters of ‘Scott’s Hut’ at Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica and after hearing the news of the loss of Scott and his party on the return journey from the South Pole, Francis Davies constructed the Terra Nova memorial cross erected on Observation hill. Both structures still stand today and are designated Antarctic Historic Monuments.

 

rss discovery ii leaving london, december 1929

RSS Discovery II leaving London, December 1929 

 

The friendships established on the Terra Nova Expedition were to last throughout Francis Davies lifetime, through both World Wars and further participation in Polar Expeditions aboard RSS Discovery II and RSS William Scoresby in the late 1920s.   A selection of Francis Davies Polar archive from his later expeditions along with a collection of correspondence are to be included in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewoods Maritime Auction of the 14th August 2019. 

 

rss william scoresby with plane aboard for the second wilkins-hearst polar expedition

RSS William Scoresby with plane aboard for the Second Wilkins-Hearst Polar Expedition

 

Among Francis Davies Polar Archive is a photograph album of the Second Wilkins-Hearst Polar Expedition of 1929-1930 with some wonderful images of both the RSS Discovery II and RSS William Scoresby. Also included in this Polar archive are a number of images of the planes used during the Wilkins-Hearst Expedition and the conditions that he men faced in Antarctica. 

rss william scoresby with float plane in antarctica 1929-1930

RSS William Scoresby with float plane in Antarctica 1929-1930

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Thursday, July 11, 2019 3:18:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Friday, April 07, 2017

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….well it was 1977 and it was London, but I like many young boys at the time was captivated by Stars Wars, a film that was, and still is, one of the most memorable ever. Such an influential film on a young nerd leaves it mark, so it was no surprise that during a recent valuation event in North Devon an absolute gem of a collectable was revealed.

 an original 1977 issue luke sky walker 12 inch action figure

An original 1977 issue Luke Sky Walker 12 inch action figure 

There in his original box in pristine condition and with the more unusual grappling hook accessory was an original 1977 issue Luke Sky Walker 12 inch action figure. The inner nerd re-surfaced and I spent the rest of the day telling everyone how fantastic this item is. Since there have been later films and re-issues of various figures, the holy grail for collectors’ are the original issue figures. These are harder to come by in their packaging, especially after forty years so this figure should really get the bidding war going. Included in the Two Day Sporting & Collectors Auction at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood, Exeter, 17th & 18th May (sadly not May 4th!).

 

an original 1977 issue luke sky walker 12 inch action figure

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Friday, April 07, 2017 12:02:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Recently consigned for inclusion in the Sporting & Collectors Auction is this Edwardian 9ct gold and enamel Scottish International football medal for Alexander Bennett.  Pre-war football memorabilia has always had a strong following for devoted collectors and this piece should prove to be no exception.

edwardian 9ct gold and enamel scottish international football medal for alexander bennett 

Edwardian 9ct gold and enamel Scottish International football medal for Alexander Bennett 

Alexander 'Alex' Bennett began playing for his local club Rutherglen Glencairn in 1901 and was selected for the Scottish International Junior side in 1902, scoring three goals in junior internationals, In 1903 he signed for Celtic Rangers and was a regular first team player in the squad that won the Scottish League title for four years consecutively from 1905-1908. In 1908 he left Celtic and signed for Glasgow Rangers (ten days after scoring the winning goal against them) and became the first player ever to play for both Celtic and Rangers. The signing did not pass without an enquiry from Celtic into the transfer, but the appeal was eventually turned down by the Scottish FA in June 1908. During the First World War he played for Dumbarton and finished his foot balling career with Albion Rovers in over the 1920/21 season. He went on to manage Third Larnak and Clydebank as well a writing a regular column for the Daily Mail. Over his playing career he made eleven appearances for the Scottish International team scoring two goals and represented the Scottish League on ten occasions. 

alex bennett 9ct gold and enamel medal scotland v england 1908

Alex Bennett 9ct gold and enamel medal Scotland V England 1908

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017 9:25:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Collectors | Medals & Militaria | Sporting | Trackback

Amongst a number of items of Polar Exploration to be included in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s next Specialist maritime auction, is a rare and well preserved Arctic exploration sledge flag for Admiral George Richards CB, Commander of HMS Assistance in Sir Edward Belcher's expedition of 1852/3/4 in search of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror of Sir John Franklins Lost Expedition of 1845. The silk flag with Admirals Richard's personal heraldry comprising a lamb and flag crest with motto 'Laus Deo' (Praise God) in white silk on a blue reserve, is mounted in a glazed frame with inscription,

arctic exploration sledge flag for admiral george richards cb, commander of hms assistance    

Arctic exploration sledge flag for Admiral George Richards CB, Commander of HMS Assistance   

'This Banner was carried to the Arctic Regions by Admiral Richards CB. when Commander of HMS Assistance, in Sir E Belcher's Expedition 1852.3.4 in search of the Erebus and Terror, under Sir J Franklin. After wintering at the Head of Wellington Channel in 76°55' N. Lat it was taken, in the Spring of 1853 to Melville Island and floated on every conspicuous height discovered, and having accomplished near 1000 miles, it was returned to HMS Assistance. Passing a second Winter it was again carried on a Sledge journey down the Channel westward and through Barrow Straits, and again returned after a sojourn of 73 days on the Sledge. On reaching England in 1854 it was presented to Mr Barrow. When the late Expedition of 1875 was fitted out under Capt now Sir George Nares KCB it was carried up Smiths Sound and hoisted on Cape Joseph Henry in Lat 83° N. On its return to England it was restored to Mr Barrow who bequeaths it to the family of Adml Richards'

 admiral george richards cb, commander of hms assistance in sir edward belcher's expedition of 1852/3/4 in search of hms erebus and hms terror of sir john franklins lost expedition of 1845.

Admiral George Richards CB, Commander of HMS Assistance in Sir Edward Belcher's expedition of 1852/3/4 in search of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror of Sir John Franklins Lost Expedition of 1845. 

Admiral George Henry Richards was captain of HMS Assistance under the command of Sir Edward Belcher on the Admiralty's last and largest Expedition to search for survivors of Sir John Franklin's Expedition of the Northwest Passage in 1845. In the early winter of 1850 the Assistance and the steam tender Pioneer became frozen in the ice off Northumberland Sound in the Wellington Channel forcing much of the searching to be undertaken by sledge. As sledges were man-hauled at this time by the men themselves they were treated in some degree as boats and each sledge named. The idea originated with Captain Horatio Austin who whilst leading a similar search in 1850 intended that sledge flags would "...retain esprit de corps, and a naval atmosphere,..' .The flags were usually the personal badge of the commanding officer who led the team on foot, carrying a gun ahead of the crew for protection. A similar sledge flag for Lieutenant Bedford Pim by Lady Franklin is held in the National Maritime Museum. A sledge flag used by Scott on his first Expedition of 1900-1904 made by his mother hangs in Exeter Cathedral.
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Wednesday, April 05, 2017 8:26:22 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Donald McNarry FRSA (1921-2010) is widely acknowledged among model ship builders as the master craftsman of extreme miniature model building. 

 a waterline model of the 20 -gun sixth-rate frigate hms tartar (1734) modelled by donald mcnarry frsa

 A waterline model of the 20 -gun Sixth-rate frigate HMS Tartar (1734) modelled by Donald McNarry FRSA 

Born in Walthamstow, February 21st, 1921 he took up model building as a boy and began entering competitions at the age of nine, winning several prizes at the annual Model Engineer Exhibition. In an early letter to the judges he expressed his dismay that his models were to be categorised as 'junior' rather than be judged against the 'proper' ship models.    

 an exceptional 16' 1" scale admiralty navy board style model of the 17th century eight gun royal yacht hmy charles (1675) modelled by donald mcnarry frsa:

An exceptional 16' 1" scale Admiralty Navy board style model of the 17th century eight gun Royal Yacht HMY Charles (1675) modelled by Donald McNarry FRSA: 

After serving with the Gordon Highlanders during the Second World War he continued to make models in his spare time, describing many of the models made between 1946 and 1953 in his first published book 'Shipbuilding in Miniature ' in 1955. It was also at this time he changed from 'amateur' model builder to freelance professional model maker, creating over 350 models of historic ships from 700BC to the late 1960s.   Working in either 100ft to one inch or 16ft to one inch, the models though small, contained as much detail as others executed on larger scales. Donald's wife Iris often helped with early models producing the sails and Donald even used strands of his own hair for rigging on these models before thinner wires and filaments became available. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  

 an exceptional 16' 1" scale model of the us brig 'lexington' (1775) modelled by donald mcnarry frsa

An exceptional 16' 1" scale model of the US brig 'Lexington' (1775) modelled by Donald McNarry FRSA 

Examples of his work can be found in the Royal Collection, but he was particularly sought after by American Collectors and modellers. Some of his models can be seen at The Peabody Essex Museum, The Smithsonian and the Mariner's Museum. The quality and detail of his work is perhaps best acknowledged by his overall attitude as described in his own words in the introduction of his first book;

 

'I believe one of the most important things is to try and build miniature ships instead of ship models'

 

 
These three models of the US Lexington, HMY Chares and HMS Tartar are included in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s next Specialist Maritime Auction of the 14th June 2017. For further information please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks bgb@bhandl.co.uk
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Wednesday, March 08, 2017 9:28:52 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, January 18, 2017

If you missed attending the auction of The Anthony & Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment  at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (SS02)  some catalogues from the sale are still available for £10 each.

the antony & yvonne pardoe collection of diving helmets & equipment

The Antony & Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets & Equipment

 

Fully illustrated with over 150 diving helmets, diving pumps, boots knives and diving accessories it is a useful reference for anyone with a passion for collecting historic diving equipment.

Entries for the next Specialist Maritime Auction of the 14th June 2017 are currently invited.  For further information please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks bgb@bhandl.co.uk

 

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017 4:26:22 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The basic principle of a diving helmet is relatively simple, so much so that over the years many budding explorers have made their own diving helmets and used them to great effect. Most of these homemade helmets, such as the one seen here made from a gas cylinder with a single air supply, have been for use in shallow water. 

 a homemade diving helmet constructed from a gas cylinder.

A homemade diving helmet constructed from a gas cylinder.

These have copied the basic designs of shallow water helmets like the Miller Dunn ‘Divinhood’ style one, in which the air escapes from under the shoulders of the diver (though it looks incredibly like a Minion character!) In order to go deeper, the more common standard diving dress is required such as those supplied by Siebe Gorman & Co and CE Heinke & Co.

 a miller dunn divinhood style helmet.

A Miller Dunn Divinhood style helmet.

But what if you look at this equipment and think ‘I know, I’ll make my own diving gear’?

In cataloguing the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment, there is one particular homemade diving helmet that has quite a remarkable story to its creation. Though the book does not provide any names or details, the images show a Swedish farmer who had lost his tractor through the ice, diving into the cold water using a helmet and equipment he had made himself.

The red painted helmet has clear weld marks to the domed section and is fitted with an engine drain tap in place of a spitcock. His ingenuity does not stop there as he even made his own diving weights using canvas and lead as well as using an old car headlamp as a diving lamp. 

As well as these pieces, he constructed his own diving knife and by using and old suitcase and speaker, made his own diver telephone with which to communicate to his friends on the surface.

 a set of homemade standard diving equipment made by a swedish farmer.

A set of homemade standard diving equipment made by a Swedish farmer.

Certainly comparing this homemade diving helmet to those made by Siebe Gorman, Heinke and Morse the extent of the farmer’s skills is evident in the quality of his work in producing a practical and functional diving helmet.  He was certainly brave enough to trust his own work and was even successful at locating the tractor beneath the ice and recovering it.

A truly remarkable man and an unusual provenance to this diving helmet should raise considerable interest when it comes up for auction on the 15th June 2016.

 

sweidsh farmer who made his own diving equipment

sweidsh farmer using his hoemmade diving equipment

swedish farmer and diving support team

Various shots of the Swedish farmer using his home made
diving equipment, which he used to recover a tractor.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016 8:55:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Monday, February 01, 2016

If any auctioneer ever says to you ‘seen one, you’ve seen them all’ then politely ask them to finish their cup of tea and leave.  If there is one thing that cataloguing the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe Collection of Diving Helmets and Equipment has taught me, it is that there are a vast number of variations of a single item that means, as an auctioneer, you can never stop learning.

 

 an early 12 bolt sqaure corselet diving helmet by ce heinke & co ltd

An early 12 bolt sqaure corselet diving helmet by CE Heinke & Co Ltd.

Diving helmets are instantly recognisable from their basic shape, which has essentially remained unchanged for over 100 years.  Even today you can still buy a figure in a diving helmet and suit for your fish tank at home! The large copper bonnet with small windows, the weighted chest plate and the umbilical cord airline remains the basic principal behind its use, but seeing such a collection of diving helmets together in preparation for an auction  later on in the year, shows how solutions to the development of diving helmets and technology have produced various results.

 

 a us navy mark v helium re-breather diving helmet by morse (front).

A US Navy Mark V Helium Re-Breather Diving Helmet by Morse (front).

From this early 12 bolt diving helmet with square corselet by CE Heinke with breast plate air outlet through to the rather Steampunk looking Mark V helium re-breather by Morse, the variations in the Tony and Yvonne Pardoe collection are quite simply fascinating. Taking time cataloguing the collection has been an interesting and educational experience.

 

a us navy mark v helium re-breather diving helmet by morse (side).

A US Navy Mark V Helium Re-Breather Diving Helmet by Morse (front).

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Monday, February 01, 2016 6:22:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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