Cowes Letter Collector to Board 1908 - 1909

Extracts from the Book held at the Isle of Wight Records Office

Transcribed entries are in Black, entries in Blue relate to other material included the Book, which has not specifically been transcribed. Entries in Italics reflect some degree of uncertainty.

Unless otherwise stated the Letters are signed by Collector, A H Drumgoole (until 3 April 1909) and J Stephens from 3 June 1909).


24 February 1908           I have recently given permission (proceedings to be reported later in accordance with standing Regulations) for three or four cargoes of broken granite from Alderney to be discharged at the Town Quay, Newport, an unapproved place up the River Medina, 5 Miles from this Station. On the afternoon of the 21st Instant one of the barges chartered for the conveyance of the stone, the “Normanhurst”, 68 tons net register, of Rochester arrived here and sailed up to Newport without bringing to at the Boarding Station for rummage, which it is essential should be carried out before such vessels proceed to the unapproved place in question.

The vessel was hailed as she passed the Watch House, and the Master directed by the Preventive Man to bring to, but he gave no heed to the hail. About a mile further up river the Preventive Officer, who was engaged in shipping Bonded Stores on an outward bound vessel  also hailed the “Normanhurst” as she passed, and directed the Master to bring to for rummage. The latter, however, took no notice of this Officers instruction, beyond shouting in reply, if he wanted to rummage the ship and ask him any questions, he could follow him up to Newport if he chose. It was accordingly necessary to despatch the Preventive Officer and crew by the motor launch to Newport as soon as possible and the vessel was dealt with about an hour later. It will be observed that in the Masters explanation, forwarded herewith, he expresses his regrets that he was “not polite” to the Officers – the actual fact that he behaved in the most objectionable manner, and used very foul and abusive language, to them while they were on board in the execution of their duty. 

He appeared at this Custom House on the following morning and explained verbally to me, what he states in his written explanation, – adding, however, what does not appear in that document, that his conduct was due to his being under the influence of drink. From his condition when he saw me, I could entertain no doubt that this was so, but the fact does not excuse his conduct, which, I submit, it would be well to mark by the infliction of a fine. I have taken the deposit of One Pound from the Master to abide your Honours decision, and beg to point out that if vessels are granted the privilege of discharge from foreign at outlying unapproved places it is very necessary, from every point of view, that they should, wherever possible, to be cleared as to health and rummaged before proceeding to their discharging berths. In the present case an absolutely unnecessary demand was made on the Waterguard officers’ time and unnecessary expence incurred in regard to the consumption of the petrol burned in the running of the launch to Newport and back. (A Boards Order of 26 February waived proceedings in this case on payment of a Fine of £1 and informed the Collector that he should caution the offender to observe the law strictly in future.)


28 February 1908 (To Charles A Fry, Preventive Man)       

You are herby required to furnish, as soon as possible, an explanation, for the consideration of the Honourable Board, of the circumstances under which you neglected your duty as Watchman, on the watch between Midnight of the 27 Instant and 8am of this date, by being asleep when you were visited by me at 4.25 of this date.

28 February 1908  (Reply by Charles A Fry, Preventive Man)

I went on duty at midnight, and patrolled to Town Quay, and Floating Bridge, and a little way below the Royal Yacht Squadron returning to the Watch house as the Church Clock struck I then lay down to rest my foot, which has been, and still is, very painful, owing to a swelling of the toe joint; and regret to say I fell asleep. For two nights previous, I have had but very little rest, owing to the illness of my child, my wife also expecting confinement, could not attend to her at night so that I could rest. On Wednesday I was on duty from 4 pm to midnight, went on duty at 9 am, Thursday, was relieved at 2 pm, going on duty again at midnight. The intervals off duty would (had there been no sickness at home) have given me plenty of time for rest, but as it was, when I reached home I was unable to obtain rest, and in fact did not have more than one hours continuous sleep since Tuesday night. I very much regret that I fell asleep while on duty and as it is my first offence of which I have been guilty since entering the service is 1893. I appeal to their “Honours” to deal leniently with me, I do assure them, that I will do all in my power, to see such an occurrence does not happen again.

28 February 1908           I regret to have to report to your Honours that on visiting the Watch House at 4.25am today I found C A Fry asleep. I have called upon him to furnish an explanation of his conduct, and submit for your Honours consideration and directions, a statement which he has furnished.

Fry, who has service of 145/12 years, has been under my survey for 5½ years and is a well conducted Officer holding 1 star. I have frequently visited him on watch at all hours of the night, and have not had occasion to complain of lack of vigilance on his part. No previous offence is recorded against him. I understand that his wife is in a delicate state of health at present, and is not able to give to their ailing child the attention which, Fry states, it has fallen to him to devote to her during his time off, and it is possible that the resulting fatigue overcame him in the early hours of this morning and caused this dereliction of duty. I satisfied myself on leaving the Watch House that there was no sign whatever of indulgence in drink about him. (A Boards Order of 2 March 1908 stated ‘The Collector will inform Fry that the Board accept his explanation in this instance, but they desire to impress upon him the necessity for unrelaxed vigilance during the time he is on duty, and that his proper course would have been to represent the facts of the case to his collector with a view to a temporary change in his night watch’) 


28 February 1908           I beg to report that, upon the application of Mr George Drover, Shipbroker, I have allowed discharge of two cargoes of broken stone in bulk from Alderney, at the Town Quay, Newport, an unapproved place about 5 Miles from this Station by barges “Ionic” and “Normanhurst”

The “Normanhurst” was rummaged inwards under circumstances set forth in my report of 24 February 1908 – the “Ionic” in the Roads here before she proceeded up the river to Newport.

The Officers visited the vessels on the 24 Instant while the discharge was in progress. The cargoes were all out yesterday and as, owing to the state of the tide, it was not possible to use the launch for the journey, the Preventive Officer travelled to Newport and back by train in the afternoon and cleared them inwards. His return fare amounts to 1s 2d and this is the only expence so far chargeable against the deposit of £2 which Mr Driver lodged on the 14 instant with his application.

Other cargoes are expected to arrive on this account.


9 March 1908                I beg to report that, upon the application of Mr W T Maby, Shipbroker of this port, I have allowed the ketch “Daring” to discharge a cargo of broken stone in bulk, from Guernsey, at St Helens in this Island, a place not approved.

The vessel arrived on the 5 instant and the Preventive Officer and one Preventive Man travelled hence St Helens and rummaged her inwards. Their second class railway return fares for this journey amounts to 8/- (ordinary fares). The cargo was all out on the 7 instant, on which day the Preventive Officer alone went to St Helens and cleared the vessel inwards. On this occasion he was able to get a cheap Saturday return ticket at 3s 1d and the total expenses therefore amount to 11s 1d. (Such incidents occurred on a regular basis, and Letters were sent to the Board for each of them.)


10 March 1908               I beg to report that, upon the application of Mr George Drover, Shipbroker, I have allowed the barge “Normanhurst” to load 30 tons cement for Alderney at West Medina Cement Mills, about 2½ miles up the River Medina from this Station.

No expenses have been incurred, as the Mills are within the limits visited and supervised by the Waterguard officers in the ordinary course of their duty.

Such cargoes have been loaded at this at this place for many years past, and standing authority of the sanction of the concession was given by your Honours in 1894.


11 March 1908               The instructions referred to are carefully borne in mind by the Waterguard Officers here, but no arrivals of Carrier Pigeons have been noted by them. There are comparatively few arrivals from Foreign at this port (19 small trading vessels and 4 yachts since the date (18 September 1907) of the circular referred to) so that a strict observance of your Honours’ instructions in this respect presents no difficulties whatsoever in the accomplishment. Any instance falling within the scope of this Order might be expected to be casual as there are no regular line of vessels importing goods or carrying passengers to this port.


17 March 1908                     A report was made by T M Lewis, acting Collector and Surveyor seemingly on a form letter that the Collector was sick and that Mr Parsons, PO Lower Section as acting Second Officer during the Collectors absence. A medical certificate was attached. The Board approved 10 days sick leave. A further 12 days was requested, and granted on 30 March 1908.


17 March 1908                     Increments granted to  F J Parsons, P O Lower Section, £130 from 9 April and W J Jennings, Assistant £80 from 21 April.

In Mr Jennings case a request was made about his conduct whilst in London, and it was confirmed that it ‘was such as to render him deserving of an increase in salary’.


1 April 1908                   In Order with the directions on papers Scry 18540/1807 I beg to report that “The Francis” from Zandoorde discharged a cargo of Bricks at Wootton Creek in the month of March. The vessel arrived on the 14th when she was visited and rummaged. She was again revisited and rummaged on the 6th and cleared inwards on the 9th. The visits were made by motor launch and no expenses were incurred. (This was a regular report, and on this occasion signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector)


10 April 1908                 In compliance with your directions I beg to report that the only Customs outstation within the limits of this port is that at Ryde, the staff of which is attached to Portsmouth. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector).


10 April 1908                 These salvage claims arise in connection with two of four casks of wine which were salved at different parts of the Island within two or three days of each other. One was worthless and destroyed and one realized, exclusive of duty, more than sufficient to pay the salvage claim. The remaining two are subjects of this paper. They are entered in the Receivers Wreck Report Book. The former was found on the 23rd January about 1000 yards out on Ryde sands and was salved by the Coastguard detachment at Springvale, and the latter found floating at sea about 4 miles off Luccombe Chine on 25th January by J Kemp, fisherman, who towed it to Shanklin and with assistance placed it in charge of the Coastguards at that place. I gauged both casks and found that each contained 128 gallons Claret. Samples of the wine was drawn and sent to Southampton for test and the results showed a strength to be n.e. 30o, the actual percentage of proof being 20o.

Efforts to trace the ownership of the droits were unsuccessful and as the casks had apparently been in the water for some little time it was considered to dispose of them as early as possible. The sanction of the Board of Trade having been obtained, notices of sale were posted up and circulated and the wine was sold by public auction at the Custom House at this Port on the 6th February under the regulations of the Import code paragraphs 765/767. Each cask realised 1d per gallon, exclusive of duty (total 10/8 each). The charges against the first cask Ref. No, 74 are 16/4 made up as follows:- Board of Trade Commission 6d; report to Lloyds (proportion) 3/4; cartage from Springvale to Cowes 12/6 and against Ref. No. 75 4/8 -  Board of Trade Commission 6d; report to Lloyds (proportion) 3/4; carriage of samples 10d. On the first there is a debit balance of 5/8 and on the second a credit balance of 6/-.

The cask salved by the Springvale Coastguards involved a considerable amount of labour. It was rolled from the place where it was found to the Coastguard Station, and then as it would not go through the Coastguard gate permission was sought and obtained from the owner of adjoining property to take it through his grounds and to pull down a portion of a wooden fence separating that property from the Coastguard Station through which it was taken into the Station grounds. The cask salved at Shanklin was towed about four miles by Kemp and two others and was brought as close inshore as possible, additional men were engaged to assist in rolling it to the Coastguard Station.

Application was made in due course by the respective salvors for award of salvage. Each case was carefully investigated, and having regard to the services rendered it was considered the sum of 30/- would be a fair and reasonable reward for each set of salvors. As no surplus was available from which these amounts could be paid, the claims were submitted to the Board of Trade under paragraph 194 of the Wreck Instructions. (The Board subsequently requested the number of men employed and the time taken in each case. Springvale used 4 men taking 5½ hours plus 6 nights guarding it and Shanklin 3 men to land, 6 to roll it to the Coastguard boathouse and took 4 hours. Payment of 24/- in respect of Shanklin and 30/- in respect of Springvale were subsequently approved. Letters were signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector).


16 April 1908                 In compliance with your Order of the 15th inst. I beg to report that a Preventive man is employed on the Motor Launch at this Port. He is paid overtime for attendance in excess of 48 hours for the six weekdays.

This extra attendance has, so far, been confined to a few hours at the height of the Yachting season. (Letter was signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector.)


21 April 1908                 Woody Bay is an unimportant place nearly midway between Ventnor and St Catherines, has no trade by sea, and the Coastguards stationed there are a detachment from Ventnor. The proposed arrangements by which the station is to be abolished, and the Coast which has hitherto been patrolled by Coastguards stationed there will in future be divided between, and supervised by, Coastguards stationed at Ventnor and St. Catherines is, I consider, from a Revenue point of view quite satisfactory as the distance between the two places is only about 6½ miles and the only means of landing at that part of the coast is by small boat. (This was in reply to the closure of the Woody Bay Coastguard Station, Letter was signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector, the District Captains report attached is shown below):

1. Name of Station to be Closed      Woody Bay

Complement: 1 Ch. Boatman           1 Commd. Boatman           2 Boatmen

Total Coast-line   1 mile 1398 yards

Supervision to be transferred to either; or both:

Left hand station

Right hand station



Present Coast-line Miles

Future Coast-line Miles



Present Coast-line Miles

Future Coast-line Miles


8 not including Div. Offr.

4 Miles 1337 Yards

5 Miles 1082 Yards

St Catherines

7 including 3 for Lloyds work, and 1 C.O.

2 Miles 29 Yards

2 Miles 1672 Yards

 2. Detailed Orders to Station or Stations whose Coast-line is to be extended.

Ventnor.                 Every morning at daylight the coast is to be patrolled, every portion of the coast-line is to be sighted, and any suspicious circumstances, boat or person, investigated for the prevention of smuggling.

On nights when a landing is possible, an occasional patrol is to thoroughly investigate all landing places.

It will be the duty of Officers and Men to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with Creeks, convenient and possible landing places and all roads and footpaths leading therefrom.

To be conversant with habits, customs and ways of fishermen and boatmen, and to watch their association with the Public House fraternity. The Chief Officer is to report any suspicions he may entertain confidentially, it being probably any dutiable articles smuggled will be disposed of thro’ local agents.

A constant watch must be kept on Ventnor Beach.

St. Catherines.     Every morning at daylight the coast is to be patrolled, every portion of the coast-line is to be sighted, and any suspicious circumstances, boat or person, investigated for the prevention of smuggling.

On nights when a landing is possible, an occasional patrol is to thoroughly investigate all landing places.

It will be the duty of Officers and Men to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with Creeks, convenient and possible landing places and all roads and footpaths leading therefrom.

To be conversant with habits, customs and ways of fishermen and boatmen, and to watch their association with the Public House fraternity. The Chief Officer is to report any suspicions he may entertain confidentially, it being probably any dutiable articles smuggled will be disposed of through local agents.

Signed by C. W. Winnington Ingram, District Captain, 13 April 1908

(The Station was closed on 31 July 1908.)


29 April 1908                 As directed by your Order of the 16 October, I beg to report that one of the six launches, constructed at this port for the Argentine government in Cowes by J S White Ltd, left here this afternoon in tow for Southampton for shipment at that port. (One of the function of Customs at this time was to monitor progress of the building of vessels for the British and foreign governments.)


9 May 1908                   I beg to transmit particulars of the barge “Lord Iddersleigh”, from Antwerp via Portsmouth, which I have allowed to discharge a part cargo of cement in bags and window glass in cases at St Helens in this Island, a place not approved for landing of goods from foreign.

The vessel arrived from Portsmouth at St Helens at 4pm on 7 instant, and was at once taken in charge by the Coast Guard at Bembridge. As there is no train out of Cowes until 8.45am, the Preventive Officer was accordingly dispatched on his bicycle at 6 o’clock. He arrived at St Helens sufficiently early to allow of the discharge being begun on time for the whole of the goods to be discharged in the course of the day, and landing and examination was completed by 6pm. He reached Cowes on his return at 8pm and the only charge incurred are therefore 4/- for his bicycle allowance and 2/6 for subsistence – total 6/6.


19 May 1908                 I have pleasure in reporting to your Honours that since the rendering of the Ages and Capacities Return for the year to 30 December 1907 there has been such a marked and progressive improvement in the discharge of his duty by Mr W J Jennings, Assistant, as to justify me now describing his character under the heading of “zeal” as good.

The improvement which I now report is manifest in all branches of his work, and he is availing himself of every opportunity to extend his knowledge of Waterguard duty in practice. As, however, he has only been called out once in the evening to deal with a vessel arriving from foreign (and that a small trader) since the date of the Inspecting Surveyors report No. 2702/1908, I would submit that the present arrangement might be continued as an experiment for a further three months,  -  a period which will embrace nearly all the yachting season, and in the course of which opportunity may, consequently, be expected of obtaining a more conclusive impression of Mr Jennings ability to deal with this special class of work. (This was agreed by the Board who requested a further report in three months.)


28 May 1908                 On the 22 instant was recovered from the sea off Yarmouth I.W. by men of the Coast Guard stationed at that place, a quantity of leaf tobacco which there is every reason to suppose was washed out of the wreck of “H M S Gladiator”. The tobacco is very wet, and has been found to weigh, in that condition, 100 lbs.

In accordance with item 101 of the Salvage Instructions I reported the salvage of the tobacco to the Inspecting Commander of Coast Guard at East Cowes. I enclose that Officer’s reply to my letter in which he states his intention of handing over the tobacco to the Naval Officers in charge of the salvage operations at the wreck, and request that I receive your Honours sanction to the adoption of the course proposed.


2 June 1908                   I submit for your Honours’ favourable attention the enclosed application, handed to me by the Preventive Men at this port in which they ask to be allowed to relieve in the night watch on weekdays at 11pm instead of midnight, which is the present arrangement approved by your Honours Order of 4 October 1905.

The Officers ask for the change on grounds of domestic convenience, and, as can be made without any prejudice to the interests of the Service, and without incurring any extra expence, inasmuch as the 48 hour limit per week for each Officer will not, in consequence, be exceeded, I recommend that it may receive your Honours sanction. (This was approved by the Board.)


4 June 1908                   I submit particulars as to the barge “The Francis”, which during the past month arrived from Zandoorde Belgium, and has been allowed to discharge her cargo of Bricks at Wootton Creek.

The vessel arrived off Fishbourne Coast Guard Station in the forenoon of the of the 29 Ultimo and, the train service being inconvenient, Wootton Station quite three miles from the berth, I thought it most convenient and expedient to dispatch the Officers hence on their bicycles. A similar course was followed yesterday when the Preventive Officer travelled hence to clear the vessel inwards. The total charges amounted to 6/-.


10 June 1908 (Letter to Harold Enos Fry.)

The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury having requested the Honourable Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs to appoint you to Preventive Man in that Department;

You are to appear before me at this Custom House on Thursday next, the 11 instant, at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, for the purpose of answering preliminary enquiries as to your fitness for the office to which you have been nominated. (Fry’s address was given as ‘Shamblers’, Arctic Road, Cowes.)

12 June 1908                 With reference to your Honours Order of the 9 instant, I beg to report that, finding Harold Enos Fry appeared to satisfy the requirements set forth under Headings III and IV of the copy of         “Qualifications of Candidates”. I arranged for his examination at 11 am of this date, and I now forward his papers herewith in a sealed packet. I also forward Form A duly filled up by Fry in duplicate; copy of this report; and a satisfactory statement by the Preventive Officer here who has taken Fry afloat.

I beg also to report:

1. Fry’s state of health is apparently such as to enable him to perform satisfactorily the duties of a Preventive Man.

2. I have no Knowledge of his having been guilty of any offence against Revenue Law.

3. There is no reason to doubt the he is free from pecuniary difficulties.

4. I have no Knowledge of any matter tending to disqualify him for admission to the Service.

Fry informs me that he has not been vaccinated since he was an infant, and expresses his readiness to undergo re-vaccination if called on to do so.

Fry’s chest measure was taken by Wilford’s chest measure, and found to be 33½/35½ inches = 34½ mean. His height is 5 feet 8½ inches. (Fry was appointed to fill a vacancy for a Preventive Man at Portsmouth on 9 August 1908.)


13 June 1908                       From a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book. Rummage of Yacht Pauline from Gibraltar, H Moore, Cook. Goods concealed under in Ballast Box under swing table. Offender was offered and accepted the option of depositing treble duty (£3 9s 6d) in lieu of proceedings before the Magistrates. Officers involved F J Parsons PO, E J Osborne PM (Detecting Officer), W G Geeves PM, A J Cassell PM.  (This is


17 June 1908                 Referring to the application for leave by Mr T M Lewis, and for the services of an Examining Officer to aid at this port during his absence, I should be glad, if I am permitted to make such a request, if Mr A E Perrett, Examining Officer Class II, London, could again be sent to furnish the required assistance. Mr Perrett shewed himself to be most competent and useful during the two months last year in which he was on similar service and his good address and care for appearance make him a desirable Officer for employment at a port such as this, and in the particular period of the year during which his services would be required. (The Collectors request was not accepted and Mr E A Richardson, Examining Officer Class II sent.)


17 June 1908                 From a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book. Catania Steam Yacht from Algiers, Alfred Watts, Carpenter .03 gallon Perfumed Spirit found beneath the boards in the Carpenters Shop. Offender was offered and accepted the option of depositing treble duty (£3 9s 6d) in lieu of proceedings before the Magistrates. Officers involved, E J Osborne PM in Charge, W J Jennings, Assistant, W G Geeves PM (Detecting Officer), A J Cassell PM, C A Fry PM (Detecting Officer).


18 June 1908                 The examination of E J Osborne, Preventive Man, having been carried out today, between 10am and Noon, in accordance with the directions contained in yours of the 10 instant, I forward herewith his replies (on 6 sheets) to the questions set.


20 June 1908                       From a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book. H.M.S. Eclipse, Home Fleet, John Truelove, Private R.M.L.I. Bought in Post Bag from “H.M.S. Eclipse” at Cowes for dispatch by Parcel Post. Handed over by the Postmaster. Treble duty paid value (£1) deposited in lieu of proceedings before the Magistrates. Commanding Officer Informed. Detecting Officer A M M Dowling, Sorting Clerk & Telegraphist.


20 June 1908                 I beg to report that, in the enclosed application from Mr G Drover, Ship Broker, I have allowed the landing of 100 tons of clay by the barge “Thistle”, 79 tons net register, from Guernsey, at Yarmouth in this Island, a place not approved.

The concession has been granted for many years past, and by your Honours Order of 5 September 1794, standing authority was conferred on the Collector here to sanction it on application without reference to your Honours.


3 July 1908  (Boards Order acknowledged by Collector.)

The use of badges on the bows of Customs Boats originally proscribed by G.O. 92/1906, was withdrawn by G. O. 4/1908, but experience shows that at certain ports they are quite desirable on the Motor Boats. The Advising officer may therefore affix them, at discretion, to such motor boats as he considers suitable, and renew them when worn out.


3 July 1908                    One or two cases which have occurred at this port lead me to submit to your Honours whether some trifling additions to the Regulations governing the importation of dogs is not desirable.

On the 7 May last the Master of a home trade vessel took on board at Antwerp a dog, with which he sailed to the Tyne, leaving there for West Hartlepool, he shipped coal at that port for Yarmouth (in this Island), and the dog has been advised from port to port and duly been identified as being on board at each port of call. The vessel has now been cleared out here for Guernsey, from which place she will return with a cargo to be discharged at the port of Rochester, and it appears to me that is such cases (which are probably not of inconsiderable number) there is a danger that by the movement of the animal to a non-restricted port, whence it will be re-imported onto this country, it may cease to be kept under official supervision for the prescribed period. It is my practice to endeavour to ascertain from the Master of the vessel when clearing out for the Channel Islands to which port in this country he will return, and the letter of advice is sent hence to that port – which course has been followed in the present instance.

If I am right in assuming that the expression “foreign port” in paragraph 415 of the Importation code would be held by officers to cover vessels departing from the Channel Islands, I submit that the general adoption of the local practice would be desirable for the reasons stated above. (This appears have been favourably received by the Board, and was included in the next Omnibus General Order.)


 13 July 1908                 A small racing yacht of the eight metre class having been built in Norway to represent that country in the yacht racing in connection with the forthcoming Olympic Games, her transport to this country, entirely free of any charge, was undertaken by the owner of the Norwegian steamer “Ganges Rolf” as a friend of the builder. The steamer, on her passage from Christiania to Rouen, with a cargo of wood pulp called in the Roads here yesterday (Sunday), and the application of a local shipbroker commissioned to attend the business I allowed the yacht, which had been carried on the “Ganges Rolf” deck, to be put over the side, and her crew of 4 amateurs landed. Report was made, an Entry passed, and the yacht itself with all her sails, gear, & stores examined. The steamer proceeded at once in continuation of her voyage and my proceedings are now for your Honours approval.


13 July 1908                  The motor launch at this port is very rarely employed after dark, - indeed her masthead and side lights have only been used once since she was taken over in March 1906. The course, however, to be followed in such circumstance would be that the side lights would be screened; the masthead light kept visible; and the craft left in charge of one or two of her crew, who would display a white light to any approaching vessel. (This was in reply to a query from the Board about the procedure adopted when moored at night at a pier or wharf or alongside another vessel.)


23 July 1908                  I beg to make application for the supply of a small blue ensign 4 ft. 6 ins. by 2 ft. 6 ins. For use in the motor launch “Nimble” at this port. The one supplied on 6 May 1905 is now unfit for use. (Received on 29 July.)


26 July 1908   (Letter from Col. Bagot.)   

I wish to bring to bring to your notice the following – On the 24th July I arrived Ryde I. of W. from Antwerp on my yacht “Creole” at about 8.30am and hoisted an ensign at the masthead. No Custom House Officer came on, and about noon I rowed to the pier where I was met by a Coastguard who refused me permission to land, though I had no baggage of any sort with me – after considerable delay and argument he accorded me what he termed the privilege of landing but at the same time told me none of my crew could land till the yacht had been cleared by the Custom House Officers. The Custom House Officers did not board until about 3.30pm. I would ask if this was strictly regular and point out the great inconvenience of not being able to land to get letters or food on arriving from foreign for many hours.

I would mention that on the same morning the “America” Steam Yacht was not allowed to land anybody, but being a steamer was able to go to Southampton to clear. The Secretary of my club dispatched a telegram to the Inspector of Customs at Portsmouth about 2.30pm asking for instructions as to what was to be done, but as yet has received no reply. If through ignorance I have addressed this to the wrong department, I would be much obliged if you would forward it on.

31 July 1908   (Report by Collector Portsmouth.) 

The explanation of the PO at Ryde is annexed. On this date Spithead and Stokes Bay were full of warships just arrived from manoeuvres at foreign stations – most were giving leave to their crews and all my available staff were busier with the necessary preventive measures. I know from the reports of the Portsmouth Officers that the Ryde Crew were occupied as stated and that there was no remissness on the part of the Officer in charge. There was no wind and having to row their progress between Spithead and Ryde was necessarily slower than is ordinarily the case. About 3.30pm a telegram from Ryde Yacht Club to the effect that the “Creole” had arrived and could not obtain clearance was delivered at the Custom House. It reached my hands shortly before 4 on my return from visiting a sugar steamer from Hamburg which was discharging up the Harbour & I at once dispatched a PO and men in the Customs launch to Ryde to clear the yacht but on their arrival they found that the Ryde crew was already on board and had done what was necessary.

1 August 1908               The Collector had an interview with the Inspecting Commander of Coastguard on the 28th ult., and the latter has taken steps to ensure in future that the Coastguard Watchman on Ryde Pier Head will use more discretion when dealing with yacht owners and allow them to land, if from some unavoidable circumstances unnecessary delay would be caused by waiting for the Customs Officer to clear the vessel, providing the health questions could be answered satisfactorily.

A letter similar to the one on enclosure was received by the Inspecting Commander of Coastguard from Lieut. Col. Villiers Bagot.

I think that the Coastguard in refusing Lieut. Col. Bagot to land before practique had been granted was acting strictly within his duty, but under the circumstances he might have used a little discretion, and after satisfying himself there was no sickness on board the vessel, have permitted the landing. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector).

6 August 1908   (Reply from A J Hotham, Inspecting Commander of Coastguard to the Collector.)

In reply to your letter of the 5th August, I beg to point out that the statement that Colonel Villiers Bagot was refused permission to land by the Coastguard is incorrect.

Col. Villiers Bagot on approaching the steps of Ryde Pier was met by the Chief Officer of H M CG at Ryde, and after Col Bagot had answered the health questions contained in the Quarantine Regulations 18 July 98, Admiralty, page 8, he was allowed to land. The whole of this procedure only occupied a few minutes. I replied personally to Col. Bagot at the R.V.Y, club Ryde on 28th July.

11 August 1908             Ryde ceased to be a Coastguard Boarding Station on the 1st October 1905. The Coastguard do not render any assistance to the Customs in actual Boarding duties.

The arrangement is that should a yacht arrive from Foreign when the Customs Staff are away from the Station on rummaging or other duties, and delay would be caused by awaiting their return. The Coastguards will go off to the yacht and put the Health questions, and if these are answered satisfactorily persons wishing to land will be at liberty to do so. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector).

12 August 1908 (Minute by Board.)       

Reply to Lieut. Col. Bagot that the Board regret the delay experienced on arrival at Ryde. The Board are satisfied that the delay was not due to any remissness on the part of their officers who were exceptionally busy on that day clearing vessels in Spithead. In future similar circumstances the Coastguard Officers at Ryde Pier Head will allow passengers to land provided the health questions are satisfactorily answered.

Upon receipt of the telegram referred to the Collector at Portsmouth he despatched Officers to Ryde in the Launch but on arrival the found that the Ryde Officers had already dealt with the yacht.

Inform Collectors Portsmouth and Cowes.


8 August 1908   (Précis of memo from Office of Works.)

The house adjoining Customs Watch House let for 6 years for £10 pa (previous tenant, Mrs Perry paid £12 pa). This had earlier been used as staff accommodation


12 August 1908             On the evening of the 1st instant the Deputy Governor of the Isle of Wight, Mr J.B.H. Cochrane, M.V.O., D.L., when paying his official visit to the King was taken off in the Customs launch to the Royal Yacht in Cowes Roads, and also on the 5th Instant on the occasion of his official visit to the Prince of Wales. For this service he has forwarded me a cheque of £1 for distribution among the officers who we in the launch, and I beg to request your Honours directions in the matter.

The officers engaged on the launch were Mr Parsons, P.O., Fry P.M. and Osborne P.M & Launchman. The two first named men were on Crown overtime on each occasion, but Osborne, who is liable to 60 hours attendance weekly, received no additional remuneration.

In August 1905 when Mr Cochrane used the launch for a similar purpose he sent a gratuity of £1 for division among the Officers then employed and the circumstances were reported to your Honours, but the report was withdrawn and unofficial sanction given for distribution of the money to the Officers concerned. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector).

14 August 1908   (Reply from Board.)     

We would rather you settled the matter as in the last instance in 1905, we do not wish to know anything about it. Perhaps you would therefore withdraw your report and letter and proceed as in 1905. (The report was withdrawn and the overtime to the officers repaid by them.)


13 August 1908             I beg to report that on rummaging the steam yacht “Latona”, 125 tons of Southampton from Rouen this morning the Waterguard officers discovered 2¾ lbs tobacco and 1lb of tobacco concealed in the Chief Officers berth. That Officer, W Stoneage, admitted the ownership of the tobacco and deposited treble duty paid value, £3 – 8 – 3, in lieu of being proceeded against before the Magistrates. In view of the position of the Offender and the method of concealment which points to a deliberate attempt to smuggle, I submit that the whole of the deposit should be retained.

As the Offender was a “responsible officer” I called for the deposit of £5 to avoid detention of the vessel, and this amount was paid to me by the Master on behalf of Colonel Hankey, who has the yacht on charter, and I now forward the application from that gentleman for the return of this deposit. There is no reason to suppose that Colonel Hankey knew anything of this attempt to smuggle the tobacco, nor do I think the Master and Officers were privy to it. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector, the Officers involved were F J Parsons, P.O., E J Osborne, P.M. and detecting Officer, A J Titheridge, P.M. and C.A. Fry, P.M. The deposit by the offender was brought to account as a fine. £2 of the deposit on the vessel was retained, the Board noted that this amount would probably be deducted from the offenders wages.).


11 August 1908             I beg to report that the annual survey of the motor launch “Nimble” at Cowes, having become due, tenders for the necessary work including the fitting of a new teakwood casing over motor, also fixing new steering gear and were obtained on a specification, and the lowest offer received, Viz £11:18:6, from Mr C Lallow, being fair and reasonable, I instructed him to carry out the work.

Upon the boat being placed on a slipway, certain additional repairs were found necessary to the rudder, also a new circulating pump for motor, and these services were carried out at an additional cost of £9:1:6.

Further, to avoid prolonged stoppage of the “Nimble” the new parts required in connection with the steering gear, were ordered of Messrs. Gill & sons of Rochester, at the cost of £6:16:3.

Both hull and motor are in excellent order, and the alterations carried out are a very great improvement.

I therefore enclose certified Bills (in duplicate) for the services referred to for favour of the Boards approval and payment, please, the expenses being met out of the sum allowed for the maintenance of His Majesty’s vessels during the current year. (Signed by M Travis, Advising Officer, not based at Cowes, and approved the following day.)


26 August 1908             I beg to forward a letter from Hamburg America Lines in which they state that the S.S Oceana will arrive at Cowes from Hamburg on the 3rd proximo with a party of about 350 passengers who will land at Cowes and re-embark at Ryde on the same day in continuation of a trip to Teneriffe, and they ask that the dutiable stores may not be placed under seal – a privilege that was granted to the “Meteor” last year under similar circumstances. I submit the application be granted conditionally upon:

1. The vessel reporting and clearing at Cowes

2. The Master giving an undertaking in writing that no dutiable stores will be landed in the United Kingdom by any passengers or members of his crew.

3. The Agent makes a formal request and deposit £2 to cover any expenses.

4. Returns being furnished under the Aliens Act.

In regard to the requirements of the Aliens Act, I beg to ask for instructions whether, in this case Form 387 is to be filled up by the master in accordance with para. 41 of G.O. 88/1907, or whether as the vessel is an excursion steamer & landing passengers from the Continent and re-embarking them on the same day in continuation of a trip which presumably will end when she returns to the Continent forms 441 & 442 (Incoming & Outgoing Passenger Returns will not meet the case under paras. 46 & 50 of the aforementioned General Order. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector. Accepted by the Board).


26 August 1908    Memo from the Board following a query from the American Ambassador about the privileges accorded to American yachts arriving in British waters.

Yachts, British and Foreign arriving at or sailing from a British port are not required to enter or clear, and are not required to obtain cruising licences.

An annual payment of 1/- per ton is imposed as Light dues on all yachts 5 tons and upwards. It is, I believe, of some port to accept Light dues from foreign yachts, if tendered, but should there be no offer of payment no steps are taken enforce it.

Foreign sailing yachts of and above 5 tons registered tonnage, coming to the United Kingdom for racing purposes only are exempted from the payment of Light dues if holding a certificate showing that they are in territorial waters for the sole purpose of racing.

This department is not concerned with the levying of tonnage or harbour dues. (The Collector at Cowes was asked to look at this memo and offer any observations with reference to the American Ambassadors enquiry.)


28 August 1908             I have read the memo and can add nothing very material to it. Foreign yachts belonging to a recognised yacht club are allowed the free use of dutiable stores whilst in British waters, a privilege not allowed to British yachts. In regard to Light dues the annual charge of 1/- per ton is subject to an abatement of 20% (at this Port all foreign yachts liable to Light dues are called upon to pay and do pay these dues).

From enquiries made I learn that the only local charges on foreign yachts at this Port are Harbour dues, and these are payable only when moorings laid down by the Harbour Commissioners are used. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector.)


3 September 1908          As directed by your Honours Order of 5 May last, I beg to report that in the interval since I made my report of 19 May Mr Jennings has given me entire satisfaction by his conduct, capacity and zeal.

He has frequently been afloat with the Waterguard Officers for the purpose of rummaging etc. and has, in addition, taken charge of the crew for such work. The results have been quite satisfactory, and I submit therefore that the arrangements suggested by the Inspecting Surveyor may be made permanent. 


7 September 1908  (Memo within the Board.)      

The arrangement suggested is that the P.O, Senior P.M., and Assistant remain “on call” for Waterguard work from 4pm to 10pm for a week each in turn. Now that the Assistant is fully qualified to take charge of a Waterguard crew the Collector suggests these arrangements be brought into operation.  (This was approved subject to review in six months.)


3 September 1908          I beg to report that on the 31 ultimo C A Fry, Preventive Man, sustained personal injury in the discharge of his duty, a cask of Spirits shipped as stores per steam yacht “Xarifa”, and which was in the course of examination on board the vessel, slipping and jamming the fingers of his left hand with the result that the forefinger was broken at the first joint.

I attach a certificate by the Doctor in whose care Fry is, but, as the injured finger is progressing favourably, and Fry himself id desirous of undertaking such light duties as he is fit for, I am allowing him to come on duty for the purpose of watch-keeping, in which he will have no manual, but only clerical and pedestrian work to perform. (A note was received stating that the Board would give favourable consideration to a request for medical expenses.)


4 September 1908 (Report to Collector by T M Lewis, Second Officer when acting as Collector)       

The S.Y. “Nirvana” arrived here from Havre on the evening of the 18 August. On the following morning the Boarding Officers informed me that the owner, Mr Powell, amongst other stores produced a case containing 11 bottles of Benedictine which he claimed as his property and said it was not duty paid. The Officer told him he should place it under seal, but as the owned declined to provide a place for that purpose, it was brought to the Kings warehouse. Mr Powell came to Custom House and complained of the actions of the Officers in refusing to allow him the use of the Benedictine on board but I pointed out that British yachts while cruising in home waters are not allowed the free use of dutiable stores and that he could have the Benedictine on payment of the proper duty; or that it could be put on board under seal if a suitable place was provided, or left in the Kings warehouse. As he required the Spirits he finally agreed to pay the duty, and a bottle was opened for the purpose of ascertaining the quantity chargeable. This was found to be 1.15 gallons, and at 16/4 per gallon the duty amounted to 18/9. I told him that if he desired a bottle could be sent for test and then the duty would be at the rate of 12/6, and he asks that this course should be followed. Accordingly the bottle which was opened was sent to Southampton and the test note showed the Benedictine to contain 74.4% of proof spirit. The quantity now chargeable with duty was 10 bottles each .105 = 1.05 ullage = .78 proof spirit and the duty 9/9 which amount was paid on the 27 ult. and the case cleared from the Kings warehouse. (This followed a complaint to the Board from the owner, Mr James Powell, the Collector on his return wrote to the Board stating that he considered the action perfectly regular. The action was confirmed by the Board in their reply to Mr Powell.)


2 September (extract received from the Admiralty regarding proposed closures of Coastguard Stations.)

1. Name of Station to be Closed      Foreland

Complement: 1 Chief Boatman, 1 Commanding Boatman, 2 Boatmen, Total 4

Total Coast-line   2 miles 1320 yards

Supervision to be transferred to either; or both:

Left hand station

Right hand station



Present Coast-line Miles

Future Coast-line Miles



Present Coast-line Miles

Future Coast-line Miles



4  885/1760 Miles

7  220/1760 Miles



3  844/1760 Miles 

3 1169/1760 Miles

2. Detailed Orders to Station or Stations whose Coast-line is to be extended.

Extend Bembridge station Guards to meet those of Sandown at Whitefield.

Present system of patrols to be modified so that all the coast may be sighted just after daylight during fine or moderate weather : an occasional irregular patrol to visit possible landing places.

On stormy nights when wrecks are likely to occur, also during fog, an occasional patrol to visit the guards.

3. Coast Communication Telephone : proposals for maintaining communication on the station being abolished.

Coast Communication telephone to be removed.


1. Name of Station to be Closed      Spring Vale

Complement: 1 Chief Boatman, 1 Commanding Boatman, 2 Boatmen, Total 4

Total Coast-line   1 miles 385 yards

Supervision to be transferred to either; or both:

Left hand station

Right hand station



Present Coast-line Miles

Future Coast-line Miles



Present Coast-line Miles

Future Coast-line Miles



2 1325/1760 Miles

3  637/1760 Miles

Sea View


3  200/1760 Miles 

3 1272/1760 Miles

2. Detailed Orders to Station or Stations whose Coast-line is to be extended.

Sea View: Western guard to be extended 1072 Yards to corner where roads meet on western side of Dovers.

Ryde: Eastern guard to be extended about the same distance to the same spot.

Present system of patrols to be modified so that all the coast may be sighted just after daylight during fine or moderate weather : an occasional irregular patrol to visit possible landing places.

On stormy nights when wrecks are likely to occur, also during fog, an occasional patrol to visit the guards.

3. Coast Communication Telephone : proposals for maintaining communication on the station being abolished.

No Coast Communication telephone fitted.

(The Collector replied on 8 September that “The proposed arrangements are, in my opinion, satisfactory”, Spring Vale was closed on 1st November, for Foreland see below.)


9 September 1908          I have, since receipt of the Secretary’s letter at the end of last September, kept before me the requirements of your Honours’ Order, 387/1907, and I address this report to your Honours after careful consideration of the points to which my attention was directed, - not only may I add, since those special directions reached us, but throughout the whole period since, in May 1905, I first raised the question of the employment of a motor-boat at the port. The boat now in service was on trial for 10 weeks of the summer of that year, and was taken into permanent use on 15 March 1906, so that my opportunity for observation has been apply sufficient to justify me now speaking with definiteness and assurance such as I could not assume until any knowledge of the boat and motor and their capabilities was fuller.


a) as to the boat and motor

On this point I am able to assure your Honours the boat “Nimble” and Fay and Bowler motor with which she is fitted has been entirely satisfactory in use and in wear. There has not been a single breakdown of any description, and, when she was hauled up earlier this summer for her annual overhaul, and I inspected the opened out machinery with the local overseer acting on behalf of the Superintending Engineer, it was found that practically all the parts had worn well and were in satisfactory condition, and that very little in the way of renewal was necessary. The Superintending Engineer, after his personal inspection when the overhaul had been completed found himself able to state to your Honours in his letter of the 11 ultimo that both the hull and motor were in excellent order. I believe the motor to be a thoroughly good one, and though its consumption of petrol is somewhat heavier in proportion to the power developed than some others in use there are compensating advantages in the way of simplicity of handling, ease in minor repairs, and which may I think, which may be set against the expensiveness in that respect. As to the particular motor in use here, I must add – and I believe the Superintending Engineer would endorse the statement – that the fact I am able to report in such terms as I have used concerning it is very much due to the admirable and praiseworthy manner in which it has been tended and driven by the Preventive Man who has been in charge of it from the first – Edward J Osborne. I am acquainted with a case in which a precisely similar supplied to a private owner (the Bishop of Ripon) has given constant trouble in working and I am assured by the (Independent) Consulting Engineer on whose recommendation the Bishop bought the motor that the difficulties and breakdowns which had been experienced were due to careless and inefficient driving. Osborne has throughout devoted himself to the care of the engine, and, by his intelligent application acquired a degree of proficiency in driving and caring for it, which makes it my duty to say that had it been in careful and competent hands I might not have been able to use in this report the almost unreservedly favourable terms I have employed.

b) the motor boats contribution to the efficiency of the Waterguard service

As to this, it is the governing consideration to be borne in mind that it would not be possible to accomplish satisfactorily the boarding duties at Cowes during each years yachting season without the use of a mechanically-propelled launch of some description. For eight years prior to the purchase of the “Nimble” some motor launch had been annually hired for the period referred to. There is no doubt that the anticipation which I expressed in my letter to Mr Stoneham of 9 May 1905 that much greater expedition and reliability would be secured by the employment of the motor-boat than had been hitherto possible of achievement by means of indifferent craft hired out to the Department has been amply realised. I am satisfied that the conditions of boarding work has been considerably improved for the Officers, and also that very desirable despatch and readiness in the accomplishment of their work, unattainable without such aid, have resulted and are appreciated by yacht owners. As regard the Revenue, the Officers radius of action has been considerably increased, and trading vessels discharging at outlying have been visited and supervised to an extent which would not have been otherwise possible. It is probable that not the least valuable effect of the use of the boat has been the increased time and strength set free for actual rummaging etc. on the part of Officers conveyed to the scene of their duties by such means and causing consequently, to their work in physical condition very different from that in which they were sometimes left in former days after arduous and exhausting rowing against wind and tide. This view was emphasised by the Secretary in his memorandum of 26 September 1905 and experience fully confirms the practical importance of such a consideration.

There can be no question that in the event of changes in the guarding of the coast which have been foreshadowed in communications from your Honours to the outports being carried out, the motor-boat will be a valuable aid to the oversight of various Revenue stations by the supervising officers.

Economies effected

Except in that view in which greater efficiency and more useful application of Officers’ capabilities may be regarded as economy, I do not think that it is possible to estimate any saving that has resulted from the employment of the motor boat. The number of staff has not been affected, as the establishment here remains at it was before the “Nimble” was brought into permanent use, and is, I consider, adequate to the needs of the port while yachting and trade conditions continue as at present, there should be no necessity to recommend any alterations in numbers. It is possible that some small saving in overtime may have resulted, but as a whole – and leaving out of consideration sums which have been expended in adding to the original equipment of the boat appliances which have increased her safety and efficiency – the account appears to remain, substantially, as before. Upkeep and stores for the punt formerly in use amounted, I find, to a little over £4 per annum on average. Depreciation about £1 per annum, and on average annual cost of launch hire (1899 – 1905) £95, make a total of £100. Against this figure, in respect of “Nimble” and dinghy are, roughly, depreciation £31, drivers allowance £16, Stores and minor repairs £52 – 10 – 0, total £99 – 10 – 0. (On the basis of reports from Cowes, Harwich, London, Newcastle, Plymouth, Rochester and Sunderland it was reported that the information ‘proved conclusively the advantages which attend the use of motor boats for Customs Service, and believe that even better results may be looked for as more experience is gained’.)


14 September 1908  (Memo from the Board re Foreland.)

The suggestion of the Coast Guard Committee:

Bembridge         1 P.O. & 4 P.M. to supervise Bembridge, Foreland & Culver Cliff N.S.

Sandown           1 P.O. & 3 P.M. to supervise Sandown.

Will the Collector please state how much supervision would be given to Foreland station under the proposed arrangement shewn above, and how this compares with the present proposals of the Admiralty.


16 September 1908  (Reply to Boards Circular of 15 September)

Title of Departmental Banking Account in  books of Capital and Counties Bank Limited Cowes - “His Majesty’s Customs”


16 September 1908        In submitting the enclosed application by Mr T M Lewis, Clerk Class II Upper Section and Second Officer at this port, for an appointment to a junior Collectorship, I have to say in the interval since Mr Lewis last approached your Honours with an application of similar character his conduct has been uniformly such as to justify me now in repeating and justifying all the previous terms in which I have previously reported concerning him. He has frequently acted in my room during my absences by leave and sickness, - this year during the height of the yachting season, when I was away on leave, and discharged the necessary duties with praiseworthy tact and judgement. He is a most punctual and painstaking worker; reliable and active in any emergency calling for exertion in the interest of the Service; of exemplary conduct in all respects.


17 September 1908  (Reply to request for ”Nimble” to be fitted with a clutch.)

All the Motor boats that have been constructed specially for Customs service have a clutch as described.

The “Nimble” was, however, bought second-hand, and although a clutch would improve its working, to supply such would necessitate part re-construction of the appliances and be somewhat expensive.

It was thought, therefore, that this alteration might be delayed until existing parts were worn out, which will probably be in about twelve month time.

I beg approval therefore to note the matter for attention at the next annual overhaul, probably in July 1909.


18 September 1908  (Following various correspondence with the Coast Guard.)

In the absence of explicit information on the point I have assumed that, by the proposals of the Coast Guard Committee which were referred to me in October 1906, patrol of the coast along (in most cases) routes already established would be retained under the new arrangements. This being taken for granted, it will be seen from the red line in the sketch herein (not included in book) that Foreland would be included in such supervision of the coast. A communication is also forwarded from the Divisional Officer of the Coast Guard from which it appears that under the revised Admiralty arrangement, the whole cost would be patrolled once a night. (The Board replied asking “What are the proposals for day supervision? Our proposed staff at Bembridge would patrol the coast at least one by day and once by night, and we require the same supervision by the CG.)


22 September 1908  (Reply from Board to request for forms.)        

With reference to the enclosed communication, I am sorry to have to inform you that a supply of the forms in question has not yet been received from the printers. Your copies will be forwarded as soon as possible. (The Collector replied requesting that the supply of forms be expedited, they were for reporting the building of vessels for foreign governments.)


28 September 1908        I submit for your Honours favourable consideration the enclosed application by C A Fry, Preventive Man, to be allowed the Surgeons Fee, £1 – 1 – 0, for the treatment of two fingers on his left hand, injured in the discharge of his duty under circumstances which have been reported to your Honours. (The Board requested further details, and were sent details by Fry and Dr Gibson, the Surgeon. It was approved on the 8 October)


1 October 1908  (Letter from the Board.) 

I beg to call your attention to one point in connection with your Returned Form No. 404. The “date of completion” means the expected date of completion as may be inferred from the printed sentence above. A vessel is under construction / about to be constructed – the vessel being incomplete in either case. I should be very much obliged if you would insert the information (if available) on returning the paper.


3 October 1908              I attach further communication from the Division Officer of the Coast Guard at Ventnor from which it will be seem that it is not proposed to patrol that part of the coast on the Foreland guard except in thick weather. (Correspondence within the Board stated that it was within the “danger zone” and asked for patrols by day as well as night. They stated they would have no objection to the closure if this was the case. This was accepted by the Coastguard and the Station closed on 1 December.)


10 October 1908            It is not the practice at this port to require report inwards from any yacht arriving from Foreign, and only yachts which ship bonded stores are required to clear outwards.


(No date) (Letter from Inspector of Aliens.)           

On 3rd September 336 aliens landed at Portsmouth from the “Oceana”. It is stated that 332 re-embarked at Cowes, but no Form E has been received. Please give this your immediate attention

22 October 1908            I shall be glad to furnish any particulars of these 4 passengers which you request, but before returning Form E in accordance with your note, may I ask whether you do not think that that return should come from Southampton “the port of embarkation” whence these people sailed for New York?

23 October 1908  (Letter from Inspector of Aliens.)           

We don’t want further details of the 4, out of the 332 who are stated to have re-embarked at Cowes assuming of course that they did re-embark at your port.

24 October 1908            I regret very much that I am not in a position to furnish the particulars required for the return on Form E as to these 332 passengers. When preliminary arrangements were being made with the “Oceana’s” Agents, the acting Collector sought the direction of the Honourable Board as to the procedure to be followed in regard to Alien Returns, and I forward herewith, for your information, an extract from their Honours Order on his application from which you will see that it was considered that numbers returns only should be demanded.

27 October 1908  (Letter from the Board.)

I should be glad if you would kindly peruse the note of the 26th I have received from Mr Dallas of the Alien Inspector’s Office in regard to the passengers landed from the “Oceana”.

I cannot quite make out the course of this vessel, whether she first touched at Portsmouth or Ryde. Is it the case that both Incoming and Outgoing Number Returns were sent to the Board of Trade for this vessel?

I rather think that the Board’s Order of the 29 August, which I send herewith for convenience of reference was given under a misapprehension. The Board of Trade are concerned with the total number of passengers, whether British or foreign, landed or embarked, and for this purpose they are furnished with the Numbers Return. On the other hand, the Home Office deal with the number of aliens landed and embarked. For a vessel, such as the “Oceana”, which had alien passengers on board who were landed and embarked in Great Britain, the following returns should have been forwarded (see page 16 of General Order 80/1907):-

            To the Board of Trade : Numbers Returns No. 441 and 442

            To the Home Office : Form B No. 387, and Form E No. 431

Apparently the requirements of the Home Office have been overlooked in this case. I should be grateful if you would suggest how could be best adjusted. (Considerable correspondence took place between the Collector Cowes, Collector Portsmouth, the Board, the Inspector of Aliens, the Board of Trade, the Agent and the Shipping line, Hamburg America Line. This has not been reproduced. The Board appear to have become annoyed by the matter and the following letter was sent to the Collector:)

18 November 1908         Thank you for your note of yesterdays date. I quite agree with you that to these passengers as Emigrants from Great Britain seems rather foolish and I supported this in my note to Mr Perrett of the 6th. After weeks of consideration they may have decided otherwise & they are the parties primarily responsible for the statistics. Let us give them what they want & get this petty matter squared up. It isn’t worth all the correspondence there has been over it.

25 November 1908  (Letter from Hamburg America Line.)              

We are now advised by our Company that 341 passengers embarked at Hamburg, but as far as they can trace five passengers left the Steamer at Ryde. Our Company cannot inform us of the names.

26 November 1908         I now beg to forward herewith the return on Form 440 required by the Board of Trade in this case. The Master is, of course, not available, and the return has to go forward without his signature.

It has been prepared from the “Oceana’s” passenger list which Messrs. Smith Saunders & Co. obtained for me from Hamburg, and as it shews 338 339 names it is evident that the Numbers Return of 332, signed and deposited by the Master on 3 September, is to that extent erroneous.

27 November 1908  (Reply from the Board.)         

Thank you for the return. I have sent them to the Board of Trade and with the fervently hope I shall never see them again. I am sorry you have been so much troubled on this matter.


10 November 1908         I beg to transmit a letter received from the Clerk to Cowes Harbour Commissioners today from which it will be seen that there does not appear to be any recognised rules in force at this Port as regards lights to be shown by Steam-Launches and Motor-Boats engaged in night work under the conditions set out in the Circular letter above quoted nor are there any local bye laws dealing with this question. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector.)


11 November 1908         The extent of the “Nimble’s” usual patrol is 9/10 of a mile, but she might be required to cover (and I personally have covered in her) about 44 miles of coast – out and home. The usual patrol can nearly always be accomplished but the more extended could not be made in bad weather.


14 December 1908             A letter was received from the Board inquiring what additional Waterguard staff would be required to perform the same amount of work, with equal efficiency, if the Motor Boat was withdrawn.


16 December 1908         I fear that it is not possible to estimate that under any re-organisation of the staff, or any probable additions to its numbers, the Waterguard work here could be performed with equal efficiency to that which in attained with the aid of the motor boat, She has been in continuous use for nearly 3 years and in that period conditions have been established in which safety, despatch and extended radius of action have been secured to a degree to which, I think there is no doubt, is not to be expected without mechanical aid.

Should she be withdrawn, however, I think that to secure a satisfactory performance of the duties, it would be necessary to add permanently to the staff 1 Preventive Man, and also, to provide temporarily in the yachting season (say 1 June to 31 August) each year an additional boat’s crew of 1 Preventive Officer and 2 Preventive Men. (It is, of course, at this time of the year that the use of a mechanically propelled boat has been indispensable.)

It would also be necessary to build and equip a new galley at a probable cost, I estimate, of £40, as the punt which is now available as a stand by has been in use for 23 years, and can no longer be considered fit for the sole performance of boarding work. I suggest the use of a galley as, with the new class of Preventive Man with which the service is now being recruited, I do not think that boarding etc. in a roadstead of this character, could be safely maintained by a crew of the number allotted to the work before the motor boat was available. The steadily increasing size of yachts being built by wealthy owners, and the increasing distance from the shore at which they are consequently compelled to bring up, have practically doubled the extent of the ground over which the boarding work has to be done, and the further out the men have to go the more their labour in rowing etc. is added to by the strong tides which run in these Roads.


17 December 1908             T M Lewis Clerk Class II Upper Section given an Increment from £260 to £270 from 1 January 1909.


18 December 1908         I regret, as I learn from the enclosed communication from the Accountant and Comptroller General, I have failed to comply with the established practice in regard to the payment of the allowance to the Chief Officer of Coast Guard at South Yarmouth granted by your Honours in September 1905, which granted the allowance to the “Chief Officer of Coast Guard at South Yarmouth I.W.”, and I took this to mean that the allowance went with the Office and was not personal to the holder of it.

The Chief Officer at Yarmouth when the allowance was granted was Mr G. T. Perring. He left the Station in April 1907 and was succeeded by Mr J. Brown. When the latter was appointed I saw the Inspecting Commander of Coast Guard at East Cowes, in whose command Yarmouth lies, on the subject, and asked him whether he wished that I should report the change and obtain sanction for the continuance of the allowance to Mr Brown. The Inspecting Commander took the same view as myself, and I consequently continued payment to Mr Brown without further authority.

The latter left Yarmouth in July last, and was succeeded by Mr H Hawkes, to whom payment has been made of the instalments of the allowance for the quarter ended September last, - for which and other payments made since Mr Perring left the Station, I beg to apply for your Honours’ sanction.


To Mr G T Perring

To Mr J Brown

To Mr H Hawkes




Oct. 2

8s 4d

July 3

1 . 5 . 0

Oct. 26

1 . 5 . 0


Oct. 2

1 . 5 . 0



Jan. 1

1 . 5 . 0




April 2

1 . 5 . 0

Jan. 2

1 . 5 . 0



July 2

1 . 5 . 0

April 1

1 . 5 . 0



Oct. 4

1 . 5 . 0

July 9

1 . 5 . 0








Jan. 1

1 . 5 . 0





April 2

1 . 5 . 0





(The Board allowed the payments and authorised continuance of the £6 per annum allowance.) 


21 December 1908         (Letter from Board.)       

I am directed to inform you that an order for 2 Torpedo boat destroyers has been provisionally placed by the Admiralty with Messrs. J S White and Company, East Cowes. This information is to be treated as strictly confidential. (Such information was received on a regular basis.)


29 December 1908         (From Advising Officer, Launch, to Board)

I beg to report that, at a recent inspection of the Motor boat “Nimble” at Cowes, the propeller shaft was discovered to be slightly bent, and I instructed Messrs. the Mitcham Motor Co., Cowes, to withdraw the shaft, fit the spare shaft (in store), and, at the same time, to straighten the bent shaft that it might be available to meet a similar contingency in future.

The whole of this work was carried out at a total cost of £5 – 9 – 6, and the charge being fair and reasonable, I now enclose a certified bill (in duplicate) for the same, for favour of the Boards approval and payment, please, the expense being met out of the sum allowed for maintenance of His Majesty’s Customs vessels during the current year. (This was approved by the Board and the Collector notified.)


6 January 1909              The Honorary Secretary of the Medina Sailing Club is quite young and has only recently taken over the duties of that Office, without any experience in such a capacity. He was seen, together with other owners of small boats, when the Notices issued with Circular 14098/1908 were received here, and I have no doubt, from what I have learned since, that he confused what he was then told as to the requirement of Section 176 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, with information given to him at the same time as to those of Section 7 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, concerning the marking of vessels, from which he would suppose members of his club would desire to be exempted. His application to the Board of Trade, though it refers to “the new ‘Marking Order’”, was really inspired by the desire to obtain such exemption, and the Board of Trade have, I fear, misunderstood the tenor of the concluding remark in the report I addressed to that Department in my capacity as Superintendent of Mercantile Marine. What I wished to convey thereby was that though the application really had to do with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, the Honorary Secretary had made it because his attention had been drawn other requirements of the law as to marking.

I might add that there is really no question of any practical importance involved in the correspondence, and no object to be served by Secretary making any such application at all, for the only two registered yachts in his club which would require marking under the Merchant Shipping Act, are “Scamp” and “Laura”, the owners of which are members of the Island Sailing Club – yachts belonging to members of which are exempted from such marking (GO 68/1907).

No undue pressure is being applied to boat-owners in this matter, which is I can assure your Honours, being dealt with in the manner and spirit prescribed by the recent circular to which I referred above. (The Collector subsequently explained to position to the Secretary.)


11 January 1909            I beg to that negotiations are in progress for the sale of auxiliary steam screw yacht “Valhalla” of Cowes, official number 98461 and now owned by the Earl of Crawford, K.I., to a foreigner who is said to be an American citizen, whose name, I have been informed, has not been disclosed, as the negotiations are being conducted through an agent. It is understood that the yacht is intended to be used as a Mercantile Training Ship in South American waters. She carries two three pounder guns mounted on the main deck between the fore and the main masts, the calibre of each is two inches and the range about 1800 yards. There are also on board twenty rifles and a small quantity of ammunition for the guns.

I forward a letter referring to the sale of this yacht received from the Secretary to the Royal Yacht Squadron in response to inquiries made by the Collector a day or two ago, and also a copy of the letter referred to in that communication as having been received from the Honourable Board.

The yacht has been kept under observation by the Waterguard Officers since the time – about three weeks ago when it was first rumoured she was about to be sold to a foreigner, but so far nothing has been done to alter her character as a yacht, neither is she in any way fitted for a voyage.

In view of the fact, however, that this vessel has on board two mounted guns and twenty rifles, with some ammunition, and is about to be transferred to a foreigner, I beg that I may receive directions as to whether she is allowed to depart in her present armed condition. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector. It appears that the matter had previously been discussed by the Board, and was subject to further discussion after this letter.)

10 February 1909           I submit for your Honours’ information a letter received by me today from the Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron in which he states he is satisfied that the 3 pounder guns mounted on board the steam yacht “Valhalla”, now sold to American citizens, will only be used for signalling and saluting purposes.

I might add, that in private conversation with Mr Parsley, he assured me that he was perfectly satisfied with the bona fides of the ultimate purchaser, to whom the yacht will pass through the present purchasers hands. (It was left to the collectors discretion as to whether export was allowed.)


19 January 1909            Mr Walter John Langton, one of the sureties to the Bond dated 11 April 1895, securing Warehouse No. 4 at this port, desires to withdraw from his obligation under the Bond and the proprietors, Messrs. W B Mew Langton and Co. Limited consequently wish to enter a new Bond.

Mr Francis Templeman Mew, a director of the Company, and the principal in the Bond of 1895, is again named as principal, with Mr Ernest Charles Langton and Mr Roger Charles Tilling as Sureties. I am satisfied as to the sufficiency of these gentlemen for the Penalty of the Bond - £3000.

The Warehouse in question is necessary for the trade of the port. I am satisfied with the accommodation provided thereat for the Officers, the condition of the premises may be said to be quite sanitary. (The Board agreed to a 7 year Bond with a Penalty of £3000.)


24 February 1909           The examination of the two Preventive Men, E J Osborne and W G Geeves, having been carried out in accordance with the directions contained in your letter of the 17th inst. I now forward herewith their answers to the questions set.


2 March 1909                       From a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book. H.M.S. Eclipse, Cruiser attached to Royal Naval College, Osborne, J Eastwood, 3rd Class Domestic. Landed by the postman from the cruiser, posted at the Head Post Office, Cowes and there detained. No proceedings, 3/-. Commanding Officer Informed. Detecting Officer M Dowling, Sorting Clerk & Telegraphist.


5 March 1909                The undermentioned seized Spirits and Perfumed Spirits have been offered for sale at this port but without obtaining any bid, and I submit that they may be forwarded to London, where it is possible a sale may be effected.

No expenses have been incurred so far in respect of the goods, and as a quantity of Tobacco will shortly be forwarded to the Office Surveyor, under paragraph 760 of the Importation Code, the Spirits could be included in the package, and the cost of conveyance would consequently be trifling.

No. & date of Seizure


1.  30 . 1 . 08

.08 pt gallon Brandy

2.  17 . 6 . 08

.03 gallon Perfumed Spirit

The undermentioned goods are Overtime and I submit that the Perfumed Spirits in question might be also be forwarded to London with the seized goods specified:



8 . 5. 07

.05 gallon Perfumed Spirit

(This was agreed by the Board.)


6 March 1909                As directed by your Honours Order of 7 September last, I beg to report that the arrangement as to rotation of Waterguard duty between the Preventive Officer, the Senior Preventive Man and the Assistant, provisionally sanctioned, has worked satisfactorily, and I submit that it may now be made permanent.

Mr W. J. Jennings, Assistant, continues to discharge his duty to my satisfaction, and though, owing to the fact that the interval since my last report has been the slackest period of the year at this port, he has only been called out for evening rummaging on one or two occasions, I am satisfied he is competent to perform the necessary work. (The arrangement was agreed by the Board as a permanent measure.)


9 March 1909                Return of the detentions during the year 1908 of:

1.) Advertisements and articles relating to Lotteries.

2.) Indecent or obscene prints, photographs and books etc.



16 March 1909               The Officer who addresses to your Honours the enclosed request for transfer from this port to Belfast, Mr W. J. Jennings, Assistant, will complete 3 years’ service on the 20 proximo, and I venture therefore to submit his application, which is for removal after the date named.

Mr Jennings has been at this port since 20 June 1907, when he was transferred hither from London. He is 23 years of age; of superior education and high intelligence. His conduct is irreproachable, and though at first he seemed to find difficulty is adapting himself to the particular duties required from him the reason for any dissatisfaction in that respect has completely passed away, and for the past fifteen months he has discharged his duties with care, zeal and punctuality, which justify me in submitting his request for your Honours favourable consideration. I am strongly of the opinion at a larger port, with extended opportunity for learning and practically discharging official duties which only arise to a limited degree at such a port as this, useful and creditable development may be expected of the capabilities Mr Jennings undoubtedly possesses. (The application was noted for consideration, with others, on the occurrence of a vacancy for an Assistant at Belfast.)


16 March 1909               It appears from the list received this morning that both the Preventive Men who were examined here for promotion to Preventive Officer have qualified, and as the senior of the two, Osborne, is 3rd in the list it is possible that no very long time will pass before he receives his appointment to the higher office. I venture, therefore, to address this note to you with the object of begging that when the question of a successor to Osborne arises, no man belonging to this neighbourhood may be sent here. I feel very strongly on the subject, and 3 years ago when a similar vacancy arose here wrote to Mr Reade in terms such as those I am now using. The experience of 3 years since that occasion has only gone to deepen my conviction that it is most highly desirable that officers at this port particularly should be absolutely free of any local connections.

I am led to write to you without a day’s delay because I have some reason to think that a young man named Olden, serving as a Preventive Man at Grimsby is anxious to come here, and as his appointment is open (from my point of view) to the objections which I submit to you above. His father is employed on yachts sailing from this place, and is not, I think, very favourably regarded by the Waterguard Officers.

I hope that you will forgive me for troubling you with this note, and that you will believe that I only make such representations because I am sincerely convinced that, whatever may be said about the question as it affects the interests of the Revenue at ports generally, there are particular reasons in existence against such an appointment at this Port. 


17 March 1909               As directed by your Honours Order of the 15 instant, I beg to report that neither ruminating animals nor swine are carried as stores by the small sailing vessels by which foreign trade at this port is carried out. The arrivals are almost entirely from Russian and Scandinavian timber ports, the Channel Islands and Belgium, and the voyages so short that presumably there is no necessity to supplement the ships’ ordinary stores in this manner.

In the 6½ years during which I have been in charge at Cowes, I do not recollect one instance in which a vessel from foreign has been so provided.


31 March 1909               In consequence of the promotion to the Office of Preventive Officer at Southampton (your Honours Order of the 24 instant) of Edward J Osborne, Preventive Man, who has been in charge of the motor boat “Nimble” at this port since she was acquired for the Service in 1906, it becomes necessary to make fresh arrangements for the charge of the boat.

I have consulted with the Superintending Engineer and Constructor of Shipping on the subject, and with his concurrence, submit that “Nimble” may now be placed in the charge of C. A. Fry, Preventive Man, who has been relief driver while Osborne has charge, and that A. S. Cassell, Preventive Man, whom I have had under instruction for some months past, may be relief man in future. I believe Fry to be entirely qualified to take charge and Cassell has shown considerable aptitude in learning the management of the motor and will, I think, with further instruction and practical handling of the machinery, soon be able to satisfy the Advising Officer of his fitness. (This was confirmed by the Board on 2 April.)


1 April 1909                          (This is from a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book.) Royal Yacht “Alexandra”, Cruising with H.R.H the Prince of Wales, 29 March 1909 9am, J Farmer, Yeoman of Signals, landed by postman from the Royal Yacht, posted at the Head Post Office, Cowes and there detained. No proceedings, 7/-. Commanding Officer Informed. Detecting Officer W Butcher, Sorting Clerk & Telegraphist.


3 April 1909                   I beg to report that is my intention to proceed to Portsmouth to take up the duties of the Office of Collector and Surveyor there to which I have been promoted by your Honours Order No.501/1909. I have this day handed over charge of this port to Mr T.M. Lewis, Second Officer. I submit that Mr Lewis may act as Collector until he is relieved by my successor, and that Mr F. J. Parsons, Preventive Officer, may, as on previous occasions when I have been absent from duty, act as Second Officer.


19 April 1909                 In consequence of a vacancy in the rank of Preventive Men, it has been found necessary to employ the casual extraman, F. Abrook, since the 1st inst, Sundays excepted, and as his services will probably be required for some days longer I beg to ask your Honours sanction for his continued employment beyond the limit prescribed in Establishments par. 351.  (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector, approved by Board.)


27 April 1909                        James Doherty, Preventive Man London appointed Preventive Man Cowes.


11 May 1909                         (This is from a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book.) 10.30am “Lady Torfrida” auxiliary steam yacht from Gibraltar, Arthur Beales, Fireman. Brought ashore in sailor’s Bag and seized at the Gas House Yard. Deposit made of treble the duty (£1 4s 9d) in lieu of proceedings being taken before the Magistrates. Detecting Officer A J Titheridge, Preventive Man.


19 May 1909                 I beg to report that on application of Mr George Drover I have allowed the discharge of a cargo of broken granite partly at Maby’s Wharf and the remainder at the Town Quay, two unapproved places in West Cowes. Both places are within easy reach of the Watch House, and the vessel was visited and the discharge supervised by the Waterguard Officers in the ordinary course of their duty. The vessel arrived on the 13th and was cleared on the 18th inst. No expenses were incurred.  (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector.)


26 May 1909                         P.M. Cassell authorised as relief driver of the “Nimble” at an allowance of 6d a day when employed as such.


28 May 1909                 I beg to report on rummaging the schooner Yacht “Morning Star”, 125 tons of Portsmouth from Gibraltar and Vigo yesterday afternoon the Officers discovered concealed in berths off the main cabin, and on the person of a Steward, a quantity of Tobacco, Cigars and Cigarettes. Three members of the crew were implicated in this attempt to smuggle, and their names, ratings and quantity of goods, the ownership of which was admitted, are as follows:

W Brazier, 2nd Mate, 1lb Tobacco & 114/16lb Cigars

J Lovegrove, Steward, 2lb Tobacco & 14/16lb Cigars

H Stroud, Cook, ½lb Tobacco, 111/16lb Cigars & 1lb Cigarettes

Each of the offenders elected to deposit treble the duty paid value of the goods in lieu of being proceeded against before the Magistrates, and the amounts deposited by each was £5 – 17 – 7, £5 – 7 – 9 and £4 – 16 – 3 respectively. In view of the position of these men on the yacht, their emphatic denials of having dutiable goods, and the places of concealment which lead me to think there was collusion between the three men, I submit that the whole of the deposit should be retain, as I think there was a concerted and deliberate attempt to evade payment of duty.

As one of the offenders was a responsible Officer I called for a deposit of £10 to avoid detention of the vessel, and this amount was paid by the owner Mr Curwin who was on board. I had an interview with this gentleman, and his strong condemnation of this attempt to smuggle, and his action in reporting the Steward to the Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron convinced me that he knew nothing of the goods being concealed on board. I also saw the Master and am satisfied that he, too, knew nothing of the actions of the offenders, but he admitted that he did not take any precautions against smuggling by members of his crew, nor did he attempt to ascertain what dutiable goods were in their possession. I enclose a letter received from the owner. (Signed by T M Lewis, acting Collector, Officers involved were F J Parsons, P.O., A S Cassell, P.M. and W G Geeves, P. M.)

27 May 1909  (Letter from yacht owner.) 

With reference to the attempted smuggling of Tobacco on board my yacht “Morning Star” I beg to state that the men implicated have been for some years in my service and I am amazed their having done such a thing – I have mentioned the behaviour of the steward to Mr Parsley, the Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron and I have no doubt it will mitigate against his being employed by any member of the club. Having paid a deposit of £10 I hope the Board of Customs would be good enough to act as leniently as they can in this case. (The Board asked whether the offenders were being retained on the yacht. The Collector replied that it was being laid up as Shoreham for the remaining part of the year and probably for all of next year, the crew were discharged. The deposit on the good was brought to account, and £2 of the deposit on the yacht retained.)


3 June 1909                         John Stephens, Collector & Surveyor, Ipswich appointed Collector and Surveyor, Cowes.


10 June 1909                 I have been informed by Messrs Pickford’s Limited that, for family reasons, owing to the retirement of Mr J. W. Baxendale from their firm, it was necessary for the company, with the consent of the Board of Trade, to take the name “Baxendales Limited” for a few hours, but thereafter the old company continued, and continues quite as before without any change as regards its business relationships. The business at Thetis Wharf is carried on as before, and the local Manager informs me that he has had no official communication from the firm about the matter, although he was aware a change was contemplated. In case a new Bond may be considered necessary, I annex the existing one which was executed on the 24th February this year, and request your Honours instructions. (A new Bond was requested.)


10 June 1909                 The only plumbing press at this Port – No. 1 Cowes – has been produced to me today. It has never been used so far, and is good as new.


12 June 1909                 S.S. Allerwash of Sunderland : Sailing to be reported to the Board of Trade.

I beg to report, that as directed by B.O. 9021/1909, I despatched the following telegram viz.:

“Board Trade, Solicitor, London. Allerwash left Bembridge I. W. yesterday for Cardiff. James Stuart in command”


15 June 1909                 I beg to report that on arrival at Cowes Roads on Saturday the steam yacht “Boudicea” of Glasgow, O.N. 85937, 166 tons net register, she was rummaged by the local Waterguard Officers who made the seizure of Tobacco, Cigars and Cigarettes found concealed in the cabin.

The yacht was from Gibraltar via Bayonne and is owned by Colonel Anthony Hickman Sturgess Royal Yacht Squadron, who was not on board at the time of the rummage, having unexpectedly left the vessel at Bayonne on account of the illness of a relative resident near that town. Three members of the crew were implicated in the attempted smuggling, viz:

C Downes, Chief Steward, 8/16lb Tobacco & 3lb Cigars, £8 – 3 – 9

C Lucken, 2nd Steward, 38/16lb Cavendish, £3 – 7 – 0

G Nelson, 2nd Cook, 3lb Cavendish, £3 – 6 – 0

Each of whom admitted ownership and elected to deposit treble the duty paid value to abide by your Honours decision in lieu of being prosecuted before the Magistrates. The goods were so cunningly concealed that not a mark shewing that anything had been disturbed was visible, and it was only the slight smell of tobacco in the cabin that gave the Preventive Man Cassell the clue. The attempts at smuggling were deliberate, and the methods of concealment shew that the men were acting in concert. As the vessel was lying in the open roadstead and two offenders belong to Cowes and one to Portsmouth, there was, with their local knowledge, serious danger to the Revenue. In view of the circumstances I submit that the whole of the deposit on the goods be retained as fines.

As a Chief Steward has a responsible position on board a yacht and one of the offenders in this case is of that rank, I have, in the absence of the owner, taken a deposit of £10 on the vessel from the Master, for the return of which I annex his application. I had an interview with him today, when he informed me that this was his first voyage as Master of the yacht. He appears to be a nice young fellow, and there is no reason to believe that he or any responsible officer other than the Chief Steward was implicated. The Master seems to have taken a certain amount of precaution to prevent smuggling by keeping the crew short of money when in foreign ports, but it is thought that the Chief Steward supplied the others with the necessary funds.

The offenders are being retained in their situations as the Master does not wish to incur the expence of engaging substitutes without obtaining instructions from the owner, to whom the Master has reported the offenders, but as no reply up to the present has been received from the owner, the Master believes him still abroad. In these circumstances I submit that a portion of the deposit of £10 be retained as a fine.

14 June 1909  (Letter from the Master, E.G. Harley.)        

On Saturday the 12th Instant when arriving from Bayonne the Officers of Customs found concealed on board the above named yacht a quantity of tobacco and cigars, for which a deposit of £10 was requested and paid by me for release of the vessel from detention.

I now beg application to make return of the above named sum, as I had no idea whatever that anything of the kind was happening on board. I took the precaution when abroad to keep them (the crew) short of money, and so thought I should have been clear of anything of this kind taking place.

Trusting you will consider my application, and treat it as leniently as possible. (The deposit of the offenders was confirmed as a fine, as was £2 of that made by the Master.)


24 June 1909  (Correspondence within the Board.)           

I beg to state that the question of fitting a clutch to the motor of the Nimble at Cowes has been very carefully gone into again whilst the Boat has recently been under annual overhaul.

It is found that to fit a clutch which will possess such sufficient certainty in action would mean the entire reconstruction of the engine, and in these circumstances I would ask, please, that the matter may be allowed to stand over until the appliance generally has become more worn to a greater extent and possible a new motor necessary. (This was accepted and the Collector informed.)


5 July 1909                    I beg to acknowledge my receipt today of my appointment by the Corporation of Trinity House as Collector of Light Dues at this port under the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 – 1898.


19 July 1909                  I beg to report, in reply to your Order 11196/1909, that no foreign fishing vessel either with cargo or in ballast has reported at this Port for the last ten years.


20 July 1909                  To enable me to provide for leave of Officers during July I have found it necessary to employ F Abrook as a casual Extraman since the 1st Instant, Sundays excepted, and, as his services will probably be required until the end of the month, I respectfully request your Honours for his employment beyond the limit prescribe in Establishment Code, paragraph 351. (This appears to have continued into October.)


29 July 1909                         (This is from a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book.) H.M.S.Y. Alberta, J. H. Holmes, Petty Officer. On shore at East Cowes, carried in parcel. Offender was offered and accepted option of depositing double value and duty (£1 – 4 – 8) in lieu of proceedings before the Magistrates. Commanding Officer not Informed. F J Parsons, P.O., A J Titheridge, P.M (Detecting Officer).


30 July 1909                         T M Lewis admitted to duty at Plymouth as Clerk 1st Class on promotion from Clerk 2nd Class Cowes.


14 August 1909 (From Advising Officer.)            

I beg to report that the time having recently become due for the annual survey and overhaul – also repainting by local staff – of the motor boat “Nimble” at Cowes, arrangements with the Collector for hauling the boat out of the water for that purpose.

As the result of such inspection, the hull internally and externally was found to be in good condition generally. A few minor repairs were, however, found necessary in connection with the rudder, and Mr C Lallow, West Cowes carried out the same to my instructions, at the cost of 18/6.

A few other small services in connection with the motor, we ordered of the Mitcham Motor Co., Cowes, at the cost of 11/6, and a new accumulator (£1 – 5 – 0) from Messrs. J C Fuller of London.

Opportunity was taken at this stoppage to complete the complement of space gear referred to in section XIII para. 136 of the Regulations and instructions relating to Hulls, Steam Machinery and Boilers, also Petrol Motors of His Majesty’s Customs’ vessels and such have been supplied by the Mitcham Motor Co at £5 – 9 – 0.

The whole service having been completed in a satisfactory manner, I enclose the certified bills (in duplicate) for favour of the Boards approval and payment, please the expence being met out of the sum allowed for maintenance of His Majesty’s Customs vessels during the current financial year. 


21 August 1909             I beg to inform you, that in reply to your letter of yesterday’s date, there are no places at this Port in which Customs Officers and Excise Officers are housed in the same building.


20 September 1909            (This is from a seizure report form sent to the Board, only the handwritten part is shown in the book.) H.M.S.Britannia, Atlantic Fleet, 13 September 1909, Goods owned by Plumley, a Naval Stoker, employed at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Dartmouth and borne on the strength of H.M.S. “Britannia”, but packet posted by Plumley’s wife. No proceedings. Intercepted at the Head Post Office, Cowes, in an Inland Postal Package, posted at Dartmouth. Detecting Officer R A Drake, Casual Postman.

17 September 1909  (From Collector, Dartmouth)             

With reference to the Postal Packet containing 6/16lb of Navy Cut Tobacco, I have separately seen Plumley and his wife. The latter states she sent the Tobacco to her brother, without her husbands’ knowledge he being on leave at the time and away from home, and she did not know it was contraband. Plumley, who is a Naval Stoker is borne on H.M.S. “Britannia’s” strength but is employed at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Devonport. The Tobacco, he says, was brought ashore by him for his personal use while on leave and regrets it should have been thus disposed of by his wife in his absence and without his knowledge. He adds that when he returned and found she had sent it he told her she had done wrong. I have informed the Officer in Charge of the “Britannia”.       


8 October 1909              The Accountant General having called for the Waterguard Employment Records for the 4 weeks ending 21st August under the Establishment Code, para 1012, has asked that your Honours covering approval may be requested for the extra long additional attendance given during the first fortnight of the period. I would have requested your Honours’ approval at the time had I been aware that it was practice to do so in a case of this time. The attendance of Waterguard staff at Cowes has always been long at Regatta time, but it was above average this year, due to the exceptionally large number of yachts arriving from foreign, attracted no doubt, by the Czar’s visit and the Naval Review. Besides this a large number of men who came ashore from the Fleet had to be dealt with and many of the British and Russian vessels took bonded and drawback goods the shipment of which took a considerable part of the Officers time.

As I was in attendance at the Watch House on every evening and as long during the day as my other duties permitted at this time, I am satisfied that the additional attendance was necessary and respectfully request your Honours approval. (This was approved by the Board, but the Collector advised that in similar circumstances he should seek relief. It was also stated that Landing (and Clerical) staff should not work more than 60 hours a week, but that there was no corresponding rule for Waterguard Officers.)          


13 October 1909            James Doherty, Preventive Man was not feeling well when he was granted ordinary leave for 11 days commencing Saturday the 11th Instant, and feeling much worse on Monday the 4th Instant, the doctor was called in and certified that he was suffering from Jaundice. He intends returning to work on Friday but as he is not feeling very fit yet, requests in order that he may have a chance of thoroughly shaking off the trouble that he may be allowed 10 days ordinary leave for the 10 days he has been sick, and I submit his application for your Honours favourable consideration. (The Boards stated ‘that it was unable to allow substitution of sick for ordinary leave, but he may be allowed sick leave for 10 days following his ordinary leave, on production of a medical certificate.’)


26 October 1909            I beg to submit for your Honours’ directions an application from Mr Charles Brown of Brown’s Stores, a highly respectable business in Cowes, for the return of £3 – 11 – 2, the amount of duty paid for H.C. Warrant on 3 cases containing 4.83 proof gallons of B.P. Spirits delivered under bond for shipment as stores on board the Steam Yacht “Joyeuse” belonging to Mr Morris Jenks of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, and bound for Trouville and cruise.

The goods were cleared from No. 1 Warehouse Cowes on 6th August last, but appear to have been shipped immediately after, but before the Officer could get on the vessel to certify the shipment, she had sailed unexpectedly.

A Statutory Declaration from the Master and Chief Steward that the goods were duly shipped and used as stores on the vessel outside British waters is annexed, and as I have no reason to doubt their statement, I submit the application for your Honours’ directions. (The Board asked how long the vessel was sailing outside Home waters, the port of return as whether she was rummaged.)


3 November 1909                               William McPherson, Clerk 2nd Class Upper Section, London appointed Clerk 2nd Class Upper Section, Cowes. He put up a Bond of £500. On 13 November he was also appointed Deputy Superintendent of Mercantile Marine at Cowes by the Board of Trade.


5 November 1909           The “Joyeuse” is lying at Itchen Ferry in the Port of Southampton, and I received today a letter from the Master stating that after leaving Cowes the vessel was cruising out of Home Waters until September 3 when she arrived at Dover after being at Trouville, Cherbourg, Dinard, Dieppe, Boulogne and Ostend. She left Dover on September 5 and arrived the same day at Southampton, where she was rummaged.

The Master states that no stores book was issued as there were no dutiable stores on board when she arrived.

A Certificate of Practique, issued at Southampton is annexed. (The repayment was authorised.) 


16 November 1909         This vessel (“Emerald”)   arrived at Cowes from Southampton where, on termination of a cruise to Guernsey, the Surplus Stores were placed under seal and enumerated in the Stores Book on 17th September last. The Master and Crew were paid off and their private surplus stores removed to the Kings Warehouse here on 30th September, but the Ships Surplus Stores consisting of:

41/6 gallons Spirits (bottles)

1 gallon Cordials (bottles)

84/6 gallons Wine (bottles)

were still on board under seal in a store-room, the total duty amounting to £6.

The yacht now being laid up for the winter, and Engineer who is in charge of the vessel was informed by the Preventive Officer that the Ships Surplus Stores should be removed to the Kings Warehouse, or the owner should enter into a bond in the penalty of the duty thereon, as required by the Importation Code paragraph 1035.

The Engineer sought instructions from his superiors and hence the enclosed application from the Owner’s Firm.

The small expence incidental to the deposit of the goods in the Kings Warehouse may be avoided by the Owner giving the approved bond, and no reason, why this cannot be done, is given.

The application to give an undertaking – seemingly in lieu of a bond – not being covered by standing regulations is submitted for your Honours’ directions. (The Board accepted the undertaking.)      


17 November 1909             The Collector requested leave of absence, but was informed by the Board wrote back that they regretted ‘due to the state of the revenue business, they must require Collectors to remain on duty for the present.’


1906 - 1908


1909 - 1912

Cowes Customs Records  

Note: These pages are my transcriptions of original documents, they are accurate to the best of my ability but I do not take any responsibility for errors.

10 February 2008