Royal Navy: Sailing And Fighting Instructions

The collection of volumes of sailing and fighting instructions include the majority of those listed in Sir Julian Corbett, Signals and instructions (Navy Records Society, 1908). In addition, there are many examples of those issued to smaller squadrons rather than fleets. The earliest is a printed copy of 1673 issued to James Duke of York (1633-1701). There is a copy of 1691 by Admiral Russel (1653-1727), issued in 1702. Subsequent sets show the development which took place up to the Seven Years War. From 1756 onwards additional and supplementary instructions became more numerous. The collection also contains several versions of instructions for ships in convoy, 1708 to 1815. In addition to these single items, there are sets in the personal collections. The most extensive, of thirty-four volumes, is that of Admiral Duncan (q.v.), 1760 to 1799, including signals and instructions issued during the American War, convoy instructions for 1782 and a number of sets from the 1790s. Other sets of significance include those of Vice-Admiral Duff (q.v.), 1748 to 1762, including convoy instructions, 1756 and 1758, and printed instructions for disembarking and re-embarking troops, which were issued by Admiral Rodney (1719-1792) for the landings at marinique, 1762; of Rear-Admiral Clements (q.v.), 1758 to 1770; and of Captain Lord Longford (q.v.), 1779 to 1780.

Object Details

Type: Manuscript
Display location: Not on display
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 140 cm
Parts: Signals Collection (Manuscript)

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