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Seaman's wooden trunk

Overall: 450 × 790 × 480 mm
Medium: Wood, bronze
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Isabel McBryde
Object Name: Trunk
Object No: 00054745

User Terms

    This decorated trunk belonged to a merchant seaman who was killed at sea. By tradition it was common in such circumstances for personal effects of the dead man to be bought by his fellow sailors and the money raised, sent to his relatives. It was bought by John Smyth McBryde and remained a memento of life at sea, long after his retirement.
    SignificanceThe trunk is significant as an example of the long tradition of seamen decorating their seachests with portraits of ships they served on. It was bought by mariner John McBryde during his long career and is part of a collection of material associated with McBryde's life at sea.
    HistoryThis seaman's trunk relates to the career of John Smyth McBride (1896 -1987) who, after serving an apprenticeship in sail, served on active service during both the First and Second World Wars, returning to the merchant service after 1945. McBryde served as Fourth Officer on KANIMBLA as a merchant vessel, then later as 1st Lieutenant when the vessel was requisitioned into the Royal Navy (1939-43). After WW II McBryde was Chief Officer of the KANIMBLA 1950-57 and then Master 1957-61. The chest originally belonged to a sailor killed at sea and was purchased by McBryde in an auction of the dead man's possessions.

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