H.M.S. Edward VII Presentation Capstan Inkwell, 1907
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6cm (2.5in) x 14cm (5.5in)
Silver. Hinged lid with glass liner. The foot inscribed ‘With The Best Wishes Of The Admiral's Staff Of H.M.S. Edward VII, June, 1907’. Maker’s mark of A & J Zimmerman Ltd. Hallmarked Birmingham, 1907.
In 1907 the pre-dreadnought battleship H.M.S. King Edward VII was flagship of the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet Admiral Lord Charles Beresford who combined the two careers of the navy and a member of parliament, making a reputation as a hero in battle and champion of the navy in the House of Commons. Widely known to the British public as ‘Charlie B,' he was a well-known and popular figure who courted publicity. He was considered by many to be a personification of John Bull, indeed was normally accompanied by his trademark, a bulldog.
Beresford command of the Channel fleet from 1907 to 1909 has been described as 'principally a processional career around the ports of Britain’ rather than the any attempt to implement any of the innovations of rival and superior Admiral Jackie Fisher. Consequently it must have been an awkward time for his staff. Relations between Beresford and the Admiralty became strained over two incidents involving Admiral Percy Scott, commander of the First Cruiser Division. In November 1907, Beresford ordered all ships of the Channel Fleet then at sea to return to harbour to be repainted for a review by the Kaiser. H.M.S. Roxburgh was engaged in gunnery practice at Portland, and its captain requested permission to finish the exercise before returning to harbour. Scott refused, signalling ‘Paintwork appears to be more in demand than gunnery, so you had better come in in time to make yourself look pretty by the 8th’. When word reached of this Beresford via his staff, he demanded Scott to be relieved of his command. The Admiralty did not comply. The following year Scott refused an order from Beresford that otherwise would have caused a collision.