Regarding the inscription in that 1869 copy of “Pocket Rules for Leading at Whist” discussed in the preceding post . . .

On occasion I like to conduct research regarding names found in inscriptions or on bookplates, or regarding similar references to people — in books in my collection, or perhaps in books that I see offered for sale on eBay. (I am not talking about inscriptions by the author, or inscriptions to well-known people, or other indications of names of “known” people.)

I recently did some research regarding the names in the inscription on the front cover of the 1869 copy of Pocket Rules for Leading at Whist discussed in the preceding post. I believe that I had attempted to research this several years ago without success. For one thing, the writing is a bit difficult to decipher.

Anyway, my recent research appears to have borne fruit.  I would not stake my life on these results, but in an everyday way, I am certain that the results are accurate.  I won’t at the moment bother discussing the process I went through, and all of my reasoning.  I’ll just state the basic results.


The inscription reads:

C.H. Scafe, R.M.


F.D. Tongue, R.N.

C.H. Scafe is Charles Harrington Scafe, Royal Marines.  The following is from Foster’s Men at the Bar, second edition, 1885 (on Google Books), page 414:


F.D. Tongue is Frederick D. Tongue, Royal Navy. The following is from The Navy List, 1867 (on Google Books), page 211:


According to page 181, “S. denotes Screw,” indicating a propeller-driven vessel. According to Wikipedia, there were several vessels called H.M.S. Rattler.  This one would be the one which according to Wikipedia was “launched in 1862 and wrecked in 1868.”

A long account of the disaster (from the Japan Times) is found in The Empire, Sydney, December 29, 1868 (on the Trove website of the National Library of Australia). (Link.) The sloop was wrecked on a reef near Japan.  No lives were lost.  The crew was ultimately picked up by a French warship. The article describes the vessel as a steam-sloop with 17 guns.

Here is a link to a rather interesting Wikipedia article on Camelion-class sloops, and the article indicates that the Rattler was of that class. The article confirms the number of guns and the steam-power (though it notes that ships of that class were barque-rigged — basically multi-masted and mainly square-rigged, from what I gather, based on a Wikipeda article on barques.

—Tom Sawyer

February 28, 2017

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