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Boat compass with cardinal point markings and wooden box

Date: c 1920
Medium: Copper alloy, paper, glass
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Compass
Object No: V00054731

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    Description
    This small portable boat compass sits in gimbals in a wooden box fitted with a sliding lid for easy viewing. Such compasses were commonly used in open whale boats in the 19th century and lifeboats and other open boats in the 20th century.
    SignificanceThe compass is significant for its association with the career of Captain John McBryde and relates to his service in the Customs branch of the Federated Malay States during the 1920s when he undertook patrols in small boats in anti-smuggling patrols. The object forms part of a larger collection relating to Captain McBryde's long career at sea.
    HistoryThis boat compass relates to the career of John Smyth McBryde (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. The compass was possibly acquired by McBryde during his work with the Federated States of Malaya Customs Service in the 1920s when he took part in small boat operations pursuing smugglers in Malayan coastal waters and rivers.

    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. He retired in 1963.

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