Posted 9 months ago
This is the second of three cheaper postcards of the Great White Fleet. It is one of a series that was prepared for sale to the public based on an American format by the Edward Mitchell Company. This card gives details of not only the Virginia but of the Georgia as well. I suppose they could have been used by the public to identify the ships as they sailed into each port on their world tour.
The Great White Fleet is the nickname of a fleet of sixteen gleaming white American battleships that arrived here in Sydney in 1908 as part of an around the world show of force by the US Navy.
This card is part of the collection of Annie Maude Lankester (1871-1950) that I bought two months ago at the Salvo’s here in Sydney. There are more than 110 cards that were collected during the early years of the twentieth century.
Title: U.S.A. Battleship “VIRGINIA.” Also “GEORGIA,” 15,000 Tons; Speed, 19 Knots; 74 Guns, 812 Officers and Men.
Size: 14.1cm x 9cm (5½" x 3½")
Description: black and white photo card with U.S.A. Battleship “VIRGINIA.
Materials: Paper, Ink.
Content created: The handwritten text is "Dear Maude, Percy cannot leave till Monday by Express/ He will go on to Albury and look for you all at the show. If he does not meet any of the family he will take train back to Warringah. Love to all K.P."?
Recipient of letter: Miss Lankester. Emu Park, Albury, N.S.W. Sent from Dulwich Hill on September 4 1908. One penny red stamp franked and then received at Albury on September 08, 1908.
Associated place and context:
"The four squadrons of American warships, dubbed the "Great White Fleet," which arrived in Auckland 100 years ago this month, represented the best of industrial technology from the preceding 20 years. At a time of unprecedented industrial progress, the ships of 1908 were:
• built of steel,
• had hydraulic and electrical power systems to train turrets, elevate guns, move the heavy shells, and light the interior,
• had radio communications (albeit spark-gap transmitter systems, which were slow, limited in range and vulnerable to interception),
• and had triple expansion reciprocating steam engines – which gave the ships long range (but the massive engines were limited in their maximum speed)."
USS Virginia (BB-13), USS Nebraska (BB-14), USS Georgia (BB-15), USS New Jersey (BB-16) & USS Rhode Island (BB-17)
• Virginia class Commissioned: 1903-4
• Displacement: 15,000 tons
• Armament: 4 x 12 in (305 mm) (2x2), 8 x 8 in (203 mm) (4x2),
• 12 x 6 in (152 mm) guns (12x1), 24 1-pounders (24x1), 4 x 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
• Armour: Belt 11 inches; Turret 12 inches; Deck 3 inches
Speed: 19 knots
"The 'Great White Fleet' sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909 consisted of sixteen gleaming, white modern American battleships & their escorts, that later came to be known as the Great White Fleet. The fourteen-month long voyage was a grand pageant of American sea power. The squadrons were manned by 14,000 sailors. They covered some 43,000 miles and made twenty port calls on six continents.
The fleet was greeted with excitement around the world. In port after port, citizens in the thousands turned out to see and greet the fleet. The fleet travelled to San Francisco, Honolulu, and Auckland before entering Sydney Harbour on August 20th, 1908 where they remained until the 27th. Following Sydney, the fleet arrived at Melbourne on August 29th and remained until September 5th when most of the fleet left for Albany. The visit was a vast occasion in Sydney and Melbourne, crowds of between 400,000 and 600,000 turned out to welcome the fleet. They arrived at Albany on September 11th and remained until the 17th when they departed for Manila. A number of events, from balls, sports days, city parades, and concerts were held in honour of American visit.”