Unpublished journal offers fascinating insights into 1930’s Middle East at SBA’s ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition

Unpublished journal offers fascinating insights into 1930’s Middle East at SBA’s ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition

Sharjah, UAE: An unpublished manuscript journal of a British voyage to the Gulf, on display at the ongoing ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition organised by Sharjah Book Authority at its headquarters in Sharjah, is a unique primary source that offers an insight into the Middle East during the early 1930s. 

Documented by British Royal Navy officer Francis Wyatt Rawson Larken, who served on HMS Effingham - one of five Hawkins-class heavy cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War, the three-journal volume also includes a richly detailed account of a visit to Dubai and an on-board reception of the Trucial Sheikhs on December 17, 1930.

In his journal entry, 19-year-old Acting Sub-Lieutenant Wyatt R. Larken notes that the Trucial Sheikhs and an entourage of around 200 people were given a tour of the battleship. He writes: “They then left in their respective barges - ornate and rather splendid motor dhows, the various Sheikhs receiving salutes the number of guns ranging from 6 to 1 in ratio to their importance.”

With 28 charts and plans and 55 technical drawings in pen-and-ink and watercolour on card, the original two-tone cloth is bound with red spine-labels. 

Royal Navy insignia, belonging to the keeper of the journals, is displayed in a metal case.