Noel Papers at the National Maritime Museum

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A list of the papers of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Gerard H. U. Noel in the possession of the National Maritime Museum, London.



Letters to Noel as Captain.


Letters to Noel as Rear-Admiral.


Letters to Noel as Vice-Admiral.


Letters to Noel as Admiral.


Correspondence from Winston Churchill, Lord Brassey, Lord Roberts, Lord Charles Beresford, G. Goschen, Arthur Balfour, R. MacKenna, Admiral Fisher, Lord Beatty, Sir Edward Grey and others.




Reports of Committees.


Russo-Japanese War 1904-5.


Spring Cruise, Reports, 1902-3.


Crete, 1898.



Manœuvres, 1888-1889.


Manœuvres, 1908.


Memoranda Mediterranean, 1892-3.



Miscellaneous papers on Naval subjects. n.d.


Miscellaneous papers about personnel. n.d.



Naval papers chiefly about supplies and tactics. n.d. (See also NOE/13/C/2).


Naval papers chiefly about supplies and tactics. n.d. (See also NOE/13/C/1).


C-in-C the NORE, n.d.


Ship list, British and Foreign and estimates. n.d.


Ship lists. n.d.


Papers about National Service League. n.d.




Personal papers. n.d.


Personal papers. n.d.



Personal papers including newspapers cuttings, papers on the Fleet, before 1897, gun inspection. (See also NOE/15/B/2&3).


Personal papers including newspapers cuttings, papers on the Fleet, before 1897, gun inspection. (See also NOE/15/B/1&3).


Personal papers including newspapers cuttings, papers on the Fleet, before 1897, gun inspection. (See also NOE/15/B/1&2).


Personal and miscellaneous papers. n.d.


Plans and drawings of manoeuvres and ships. n.d.


Books and personal papers. n.d.


Press cuttings and printed matter. n.d.



Night orderbook HMS NILE, 1891.


Journal of Rear-Adm Noel, 1898-1900.


Watch Bill, 1868.


Captain's remark book HMS NILE, 1891.



Signal book HMS NILE, 1891-3.


Letterbook, 1890-1892.


Enclosures to general letters, China, 1904-6.


General letters, China, 1904-6.


China correspondence, 1904-6.


Private letterbook, 1877.


List of warships, English and Foreign. n.d.


Notes on Naval architecture. n.d.



Printed books, Naval architecture by Thearle. n.d.


Coastguard Instructions, 1898.


Manual of Gunnery, 1868.


Squadron Exercise by Adm Phipps Hornby, 1855.




Naval papers, 1888-94. (See also NOE/24/A/2).


Naval papers, 1888-94. (See also NOE/24/A/1).


Ships Company HMS HANNIBAL, 1859.


Daily instruction book, HMS REVENGE, 1898.


Notes and remarks HMS ROVER, 1886, and training squadron notes.


Watch Bill of HMS HANNIBAL, 1859.


Three personal notebooks, n.d.


Personal notebook, list of crew from various RN vessels, n.d.


Personal notebook, a list of religious books, n.d.


Personal notebook, handwritten poetry, n.d.


Letterbook HMS NILE, 1892-93.


Notes and diagrams, training squadron, 1887.


Letterbook, 1741-48, Capt Charles Powlett to the Admiralty.


Logbook of HMS HANNIBAL, 1860-61; HMS VICTORY, 1861-62; HMS SHANNON, 1862-64.


Private papers. n.d.



Admiralty publications. n.d.


Court Martial on the loss of HMS VICTORIA, 1893.


Proceedings in S. Africa, 1896. Royal Commissions on import of food and raw materials, 1903-5.


Seven workbooks including Algebra, marine survey and astronomical observations, 1877-1885; Commanders notebook for VICTORIA AND ALBERT, 1878.


Notes on naval articles, gunnery reports and general notes, including some Chinese scripts, 1873-1907.



Pamphlets and essays on naval subjects, some written by Noel, 1877-1885.


Four foreign books on Naval subjects, Russian, French and English, 1878-1910.


Family letters received by Noel, mixed dates.


Family letters received by Noel, mixed dates. (See also NOE/30/2).


Family letters received by Noel, mixed dates. (See also NOE/30/1).



Letters written by Noel to his wife, mixed dates. (See also NOE/31/2).


Letters written by Noel to his wife, mixed dates. (See also NOE/31/1).



Thirty nine diaries, 1880-1918.


Six private account books; one small journal, probably belonging to Noel's daughter Charlotte, 1911-1912.



Social engagements, including visiting cards, appointment cards for dinners and to State Balls at Buckingham Palace. n.d. (See also NOE/34/2).


Social engagements, including visiting cards, appointment cards for dinners and to State Balls at Buckingham Palace. n.d. (See also NOE/34/1).


Newspaper cuttings and picture postcards, foreign and English, n.d.



Certificate appointing Noel as lieutenant, dated 21 April 1866.


Letter confirming Noel's appointment as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and Saint George (KCMG), dated 25 November 1898, with the envelope addressed to Noel on the battleship HMS REVENGE (1892).


Letter sent to Noel as Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, confirming his promotion to the rank of admiral of the fleet, dated 30 November 1908. Also the letter later sent with the commission to his home address at Fincham, Downham, Norfolk.




File containing handwritten extracts from the report of the commission charged with the revision of French naval tactics, 1892. The commission met on 3 November 1891.


Printed slips concerning boat exercises, to be added to the General Signal Book. Sent to officers commanding ships of the Detached Squadron by Noel from the battleship HMS NILE (1888) at Kalamaki and Salonika, 26 April and 7 May 1893.



Handwritten tables with details of dock accommodation for certain large warships, in home ports and on foreign stations, compiled by the Hydrographic Department following a request sent by Noel on 31 December 1894. With notes on lengths of warships for docking added by Noel, 18 July 1895.


Handwritten copy of a letter by Noel supporting proposals for naval works, dated 16 December 1896. With an annotated copy of a printed report on proposals for deepening the harbour approaches and extending the dock facilities at Bermuda, considered at a meeting chaired by Vice-Admiral John A. Fisher on 29 October 1896.


Papers concerning the Naval Works Act:

(1) Printed schedule of expenditure for the Naval Works Act, 1897, sent to Noel for reference.

(2) Printed report on progress of the Naval Works Act ,1897, by Major Henry Pilkington, Civil Engineer-in-Chief (Works Loan), dated 14 October 1897. Attached are plans of the new harbour and dockyard extension at Gibraltar, proposed works on the Admiralty Harbour at Dover, the Keyham extension at Devonport Dockyard, and the new breakwater at Portland Harbour.

(3) Request for numbers of seamen and marines to be accommodated at existing and new barracks, sent by Noel, dated 26 October 1897. With replies from W.E. Riley, Assistant Director of Works, and Pilkington.

(4) Copy of a minute sent by Noel discussing naval churches, dated 1 November 1897. Also typescript details of costs for the construction of churches, supplied by Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Raban, RE, Director of Works, dated 8 November 1897.

(5) Request for plans of the coaling depot at Keyham sent by Noel, dated 23 November 1897, with a reply from Pilkington, including a plan of the extension.



File marked 'Papers referring to signals historical’, concerning interpretation of the Fleet Signal Book, particularly signals used during alteration of course by compass pendant and station keeping in line ahead, 1898-1902. Including memoranda issued by Noel to the Mediterranean Fleet and the Naval Reserves, and correspondence with his superiors.


Files marked 'Manoeuvres with single flags' and 'Confidential memos, signals, etc.', containing memoranda on additional action signals, and the use of single flags in conjunction with other general signals (flag 'T' rules), 1899-1903. Also printed signal orders issued by Noel in China, 1904-1905.


Envelope addressed by Noel to Vice-Admiral Lord Walter T. Kerr, First Naval Lord, marked ‘May 1900 Not sent’, containing:

Copies of memoranda concerning temporary additions to signal books and remarks on handling ships, also instructions for alteration of course by compass pendant. Sent to the commanding officers of the Cruising Squadron from the battleship HMS REVENGE (1892) at Malta and San Remo, 9 July and 21 August 1899.


File containing a copy of Noel's proposals for the strategical disposition of naval forces in the Mediterranean, and of the necessary reinforcements and stores, in case of war with France and Russia combined, dated 14 and 25 October 1899. Also related proposals for orders and general memoranda to be sent to senior naval officers, dated 11 January 1900. Sent to Vice-Admiral Sir John A. Fisher, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, from the battleship HMS REVENGE (1892) at Salonika and Malta.


Bundle of papers concerning tactics of the French Fleet:

(1) Handwritten extract from a report by Captain Douglas A. Gamble, Naval Attaché at the British Embassy in Paris, following his visit to the French Fleet, dated 6 October 1899.

(2) Printed reports ‘Battle Tactics of the French Fleet’ and ‘Admiral Fournier’s Battle Tactics’ also by Captain Gamble, dated 31 October 1899 and 8 June 1900, with notes added by Noel.

(3) Typescript translation of a French newspaper article giving details of tactical exercises undertaken by the French fleet under Admiral Fournier, sent to Noel as the Admiral Superintendent, Naval Reserves, by the Admiralty, 28 June 1900.

(4) Typescript letter with a copy of Navy Notes received from HM Consul at Marseilles, respecting the relative values of Admirals Gervais and Fournier as tacticians, sent to Noel as Admiral Superintendent, Navy Reserves, by the Naval Reserves Office at the Admiralty, 6 August 1900.


File containing copies of memoranda issued by Noel concerning experience gained during Mediterranean Fleet manoeuvres:

(1) Notes on remarks sent in by officers of the Squadron relative to the recent manoeuvres, dated 24 August 1899.

(2) Four copies of night arrangements for the Mediterranean Battle Squadron when at sea in time of war, with conclusions drawn from the Second Summer Cruise, dated 18 September 1899.

(3) Remarks on the manoeuvres in April to June 1901, dated 22 August 1901, with a single sheet of related notes.


Papers sent to Noel by Vice-Admiral Sir John A. Fisher, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean:

Copy of a submission to the Admiralty regarding adjustments to conning stations in battleships, as recommended in a report by Noel, dated 18 December 1899. Together with a reply from the Admiralty to Fisher and a note to Noel asking for his views on conning stations for the battleship HMS CANOPUS (1897), to be used in the preparation of sketches at Malta Dockyard, both dated 6 January 1900.

Also three letters from Fisher to Noel discussing the same and other topics, sent from Malta on 7, 11 and 14 January 1900 (with one envelope).


Memoranda and notes on wireless telegraphy:

(1) Copy of a general memorandum on the 'Hyphen Code' to be used in trials with wireless telegraph instruments, issued by Vice-Admiral Sir John A. Fisher, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station, from the battleship HMS RENOWN (1895) at Gibraltar, 8 July 1901. Forwarded by the Admiralty to Noel on the battleship HMS REVENGE (1892).

(2) Various notes on wireless telegraphy made by Noel, 1901-1902.

(3) Memorandum sent by Noel as Admiral Superintendent, Naval Reserves, concerning a scheme of daily practice for the wireless telegraph stations at Rame Head and Scilly, dated 23 January 1903.


Printed memorandum on the strategic conditions governing the coast defence of the United Kingdom in war as affected by naval considerations, sent to Noel as Admiral Superintendent, Naval Reserves. With a cover letter from the Admiralty, dated 22 March 1902.


Memoranda on mode of conducting an action and instructions for towing target practice, for use in the combined operations, issued by Noel in command of the Home Squadron, from the battleship HMS REVENGE (1892) at Torbay and Mount's Bay, 8 and 19 July 1902.



Binder marked ‘Important Letters. China. 1904-1906.' containing mainly copies of letters and memoranda sent by Noel as Commander-in-Chief, China Station.


China Station telegrams:

(1) Sheaf of typescript sheets with copies of telegrams sent between the Admiralty and Commander-in-Chief, mainly concerning the withdrawal of ships from the China Station and reactions to the Russo-Japanese War, dated between 25 October 1904 and 11 March 1906 (with envelope).

(2) Typescript sheet with copies of seven telegrams concerning the closure of Weihaiwei to belligerents, 6 to 18 July 1904.

(3) Telegram warning about the possibility of an attack by the Russian Fleet, dated 21 April 1905.

(4) Telegram from the First Lord of the Admiralty stating that the order recalling the battleship HMS GLORY (1899) must be carried out, with a handwritten copy of Noel’s previous signal, dated 17 and 20 June 1905.

(5) Copies of an exchange of telegrams between Noel and the British minister in Tokyo, 8 and 9 September 1905.

(6) Typescript sheet with copies of an exchange of telegrams with Admiral Togo about the explosion on the Japanese battleship MIKASA (1900) at Sasebo, 12 to 14 September 1905.


Papers relating to the China Station during the Russo-Japanese War:

(1) Notes on a system of telegrams to indicate that war is declared.

(2) Typescript sheet with general ideas on preparations for war, dated July 1904.

(3) Memoranda issued by Noel concerning Admiralty orders for the closure of Weihaiwei to belligerent vessels and precautionary measures to be taken in case they approach, dated 30-31 July and 9 August 1904.


Typescript list of fortified ports in the Far East, with remarks on their current status and armament. 1904.



Various papers relating to the Nore:

(1) Lists of reserve guns and ammunition to be maintained at Chatham for various fleets and warships, including a statement of cartridges and shells stored at Upnor-Lodge Hill, dated 10 September 1907 to 14 September 1908.

(2) Noel's recommendations on the Royal Fleet Reserve, submitted to the Admiralty on 26 June 1907.

(3) Copy of a letter from Noel to the Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth, regarding the amount of leave granted to men in home ports, dated 9 July 1908.

(4) Copy of a letter from Noel to the Chairman of Sheerness Urban District Council, discussing the future of Sheerness Dockyard, dated 23 July 1908.

(5) Copy of a letter to the Admiralty with remarks on naval works, following Noel’s visit to Dover, dated 6 August 1908.

(6) Correspondence concerning the painting of warships, 24 to 28 August 1908, also a report by Noel on suitable colours for war purposes, dated 19 March 1902.

(7) Lists of positions of German High Seas Fleet warships, 5 October and 23 November 1908.

(8) Copy of a submission to the Admiralty regarding the arrest and punishment of deserters, dated 22 October 1908.

(9) List of ratings and boys entered and required at home ports, sent by the Admiralty to all recruiting officers, dated 2 November 1908. Also Noel’s remarks on an order stopping all entries of boys, youths and stokers, sent to the Admiralty on 23 November 1908.

(10) List of recently abolished Coastguard Stations, sent to Noel by the District Office at Harwich, 23 November 1908.

(11) Printed list of revised pendant boards for warships, dated 29 November 1908.

(12) Admiralty directions for handing over the Nore Station command to Admiral Sir Charles C. Drury, dated 30 November 1908. Also remarks by Noel in passing over to Drury, dated 2 December 1908.


Papers on coastal defence in the Thames and Medway area:

(1) Typescript sheets with extracts from the Thames and Medway Defence Scheme (Military), 1906, with corrections to lists of armament made in 1908.

(2) Papers concerning details of armament at Coalhouse Fort on the River Thames, defence lights installed at Sheerness and Grain, and police protection of the magazine enclosures at Chattenden and Lodge Hill, 1907-1908.


Papers on coastal defence in the South Eastern District:

(1) Typescript sheets with details of the South Eastern District Defence Scheme, including Dover and Newhaven, revised to 1903.

(2) Map showing search and fixed beam lights around Dover harbour, with a letter sent to Commander C.H. Morgan, Commander-in-Chief's Office, The Nore, by Headquarters, Dover Defences, dated 6 July 1907.


Papers on coastal defence in the Harwich area:

(1) Typescript sheets with details of the Harwich Defence Scheme, revised to 1906.

(2) Details of guns and electric lights supplied by Headquarters, Coast Defence Command, Harwich, 5 July 1907.

(3) Correspondence with the Admiralty regarding the reduction of defences, following Noel's recent visit to Harwich, August 1908.


Papers on coastal defence in the North Eastern District:

(1) Typescript sheets with remarks on the North Eastern District Coast Defence Scheme, 1903.

(2) Two letters providing details of armament, minefields and searchlights used in defence of the Humber, Tees and Tyne, sent by the Headquarters, Newcastle Coast Defences, to Commander C.H. Morgan, Commander-in-Chief's Office, The Nore, dated 14 and 28 May 1907.

(3) Report on the testing of the Examination Service and Coast Defences of the Tyne, carried out by the cruiser HMS VINDICTIVE (1897) and torpedo gunboat HMS SPEEDY (1893) in August 1908.


Papers on coastal defence in Scotland:

(1) Typescript sheets with details of the Scotland Coast Defence Scheme, covering the Forth, Tay and Aberdeen areas (Parts 1, 3 and 4), 1905.

(2) Letter from Headquaters, Scotland Coast Defence Command at Edinburgh, providing details of minefields and electric lights, dated 25 May 1907.

(3) Copy of the War Office remarks on the Scotland Coast Defence Scheme, revised to September 1907, sent to Noel on 8 September 1908.


Typescript precis of the lectures on coast defence given by Major St. George B. Armstrong, Royal Marines, Royal Naval War College, Portsmouth, on 21-23 January 1908. With related statistics, sketched maps of defended ports in the British Isles, France, USA, and northern Europe, also notes made by Noel.


Copy of a report on the reduction of armament on British coasts in the Nore Command, submitted by Noel to the Admiralty, 3 May 1908. Including lists of armament in the Medway, Thames, Harwich, Humber, Tees and Hartlepool, Sunderland, Tyne, Tay, Forth, Aberdeen and Dover areas. Plus some related papers.


Papers relating to dockyard construction at Chatham: (1) Folded plan showing the proposed new basin and dockyard accommodation to be constructed on St Mary's Island at Chatham, drawn in 1904, with a cover letter from Colonel Edward Raban, RE, Director of Works, dated 9 May 1907. (2) Copies of Noel’s typescript letters to the Admiralty, regarding dock accommodation for large warships such as the DREADNOUGHT and INVINCIBLE classes and the proposed new basin at Chatham, dated 3 July 1907 and 2 July 1908.


Two folded plans showing the reduced scheme for HM Dockyard Rosyth, one drawn on an Admiralty chart of the River Forth (Port Edgar to Carron River). With a cover letter from Colonel Simeon H. Exham, RE, Superintending Engineer, sent following Noel's visit to Rosyth on 28 August 1907.


Papers on the organization of destroyers:

(1) Copy of a printed Admiralty memorandum 'Organisation of the Destroyers in Home Waters and their Depot Ships, Submarine Depot Ships and Fixed Bases, Repair and Distilling Ships, and the Fifth Cruiser Squadron', with a cover letter addressed to Noel, dated 30 March 1907.

(2) Single typescript sheet with copies of messages sent between Noel and Captain (D), 14 to 19 August 1907. (3) File marked ‘Sheerness-Chatham Torpedo Boat Flotilla. Confidential Orders for.’, containing copies of memoranda issued by Commander Mortimer L'Estrange Silver, received by Noel on 9 January 1908.

(4) Copy of remarks on the organizations of destroyers, submitted to the Admiralty by Commodore Lewis Bayly on the cruiser HMS TOPAZE (1903) at Chatham, dated 11 February 1908.



Copy of a confidential letter discussing the defences of Hong Kong, sent to Sir Frederick J.D. Lugard, Governor of Hong Kong, by Vice-Admiral Sir Hedworth Lambton, Commander-in-Chief, China Station, on the armoured cruiser HMS KING ALFRED (1901), dated 25 November 1908. Received by Noel from Lambton in January 1909. See NOE/53/18 for a related letter from Lambton.


Typescript papers sent to Noel:

(1) Copy of a paper entitled ‘The advantages of having a second battery’, no date or author given, but with mention of the armoured cruiser HMS KING ALFRED (1901).

(2) Copy of a paper entitled ‘Notes on Battle and Cruising Formations’, by Vice-Admiral Sir Hedworth Lambton, sent to Lord Charles Beresford.


Remarks on the recent naval manoeuvres by Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher G.F.M. Cradock, 3rd Battle Squadron, sent from the battleship HMS HIBERNIA (1905) at Portland, 11 August 1912.




Letter concerning tactical discussions, from Admiral Sir Geoffrey T.P. Hornby, at Lordington, Emsworth, dated 15 March 1881 (with envelope). Also a copy of Noel's reply sent from Kings Lynn on 21 March 1881.


Letter concerning the TA system of signalling, from Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station, on the battleship HMS VICTORIA (1887), sent to Noel on the battleship HMS NILE (1888), dated 27 July 1892 (with envelope).


Letter from Captain Alfred L. Winsloe, discussing signal matters and his part in the court martial following the sinking of the battleship HMS VICTORIA (1887), dated 10 August 1893. Also a copy of a reply from Noel, sent from the battleship HMS NILE (1888) in the Mediterranean Squadron, dated 10 October 1893.


Single sheet with Noel's request for information on the supply of projectiles to battleships, together with a reply from Captain Henry C. Kane, Director of Naval Ordnance, and notes on the RENOWN and CAESAR classes, dated 2 May 1896.


Correspondence with Lord Selborne, First Lord of the Admiralty:

(1) Letter from Selborne concerning proposals for the formation of a Naval Volunteer Reserve, with a copy of Noel's reply, dated 21 and 23 August 1901.

(2) Copy of a letter from Noel discussing the Sir Redvers Buller incident, dated 25 October 1901.

(3) Copy of a letter from Noel concerning Coast Guard stations, with a reply from Selborne sent from Blackmoor, Liss, dated 11 and 13 September 1902 (with one envelope).

(4) Draft of a letter from Noel discussing the iron paddle gunvessel HMS JACKAL (1844) and the Scottish Fisheries Board, dated 1 December 1902.


Copy of a letter from Noel to Rear-Admiral William H. May, Controller of the Navy, discussing ADMIRAL class battleships, dated 19 March 1902.













Letters between Lt Col. Frank Noel, Royal Flying Corps and his wife, 1913-1916.


Letters between Lt Col. Frank Noel, Royal Flying Corps and his wife, 1913-1916.

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