Embroidery of H.M.H.S. 'China', by John Leask
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|Title||Embroidery of H.M.H.S. 'China', by John Leask|
|Notes||My Grandfather John Leask served aboard H.M.H.S. 'China' during the 1st World War as a Helmsman (Quartermaster.)|
From November 1914 'China' served as a Hospital Ship in and took part at the Battle of Jutland, where smaller Hospital Ships were used to collect casualties from the fighting ships and transfer them to the larger Hospital Ships in the Firth of Forth.
As Helmsman he was in charge of one of the launches and rescued the casualties of battle, amongst whom were some Germans. This did not surprise us as before the war he served in the Merchant Navy and had made several trips to Hamburg, where he made good friends with a German family who visited his family home in Leith.
He sewed the two embroidered pictures of the ship during and shortly after his time of duty.
After the Great War on a visit to a ˜breaker's yard' at Boness with his son, my father, they bought a lifeboat from the ˜Orsova', an Orient Liner that was being broken up. Enlisting the help of friends they converted it into a 6 berth cabin cruiser. The two embroideries had pride of place in the saloon. Unfortunately War again loomed, and returning from service my father sold the cabin cruiser and the embroideries took up residence in the attic of various homes where they remained until last year, when I donated them to the Shetland Museum Archive. My Grandfather was born in Dunrossness in Shetland. The embroideries have been sent for inspection and restoration and will hopefully be on view in the Museum at some point in the future when they plan a WW1 exhibition.
This embroidery is on cotton, sized approx. 30'' x 12''.
Note that the ship flies the Blue Ensign with horizontal jellow anchor, the ensign used by Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.
|Item Date||1914 - 1918|
|Creation place||H.M.H.S. 'China'|
|Copyright||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor|
|Digital repository||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford|
|Contributor Name||Rosemary Leask|