The editors began their introduction to this volume by remarking that it contains ‘very little history, as commonly understood’ -by which they meant the history of naval operations. Gardner’s Service career was undistinguished for reasons which can easily be inferred from his stories, but he was clearly a convivial shipmate, and as a raconteur of life afloat he can hardly have been equalled. This is easily the funniest volume the Society has ever issued.
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FAIRLIGHT SIGNAL STATION
Richard Vesey Hamilton was born on 28 May 1829, the son of a vicar. He was educated at the Royal Naval School in Camberwell and joined the Royal Navy in July 1843. He twice volunteered to take part in missions to search for Franklyn’s ill-fated expedition to the North-West Passage. He saw action in the Second Opium War of 1857 and served both in the East and the West Indies. He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1877 serving at the Admiralty, and later as Commander-in-Chief China Station in 1885. As a full admiral he became Second Naval Lord in 1888 and First Naval Lord in 1889. He became President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich in 1891, retiring from the Royal Navy in 1894 being awarded the GCB in 1895.
John Laughton was born in Liverpool on 23 April 1830, son of a Master Mariner. He was educated at the Royal Institution School, Liverpool and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics and graduated as a wrangler in 1852. He entered the Royal Navy as an instructor, joining his first ship, Royal George, in 1853, serving in the Baltic during the Crimean War. In 1866 he went ashore to teach at the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, moving with the College to Greenwich in 1873, becoming Head of the Department of Meteorology and Marine Surveying.