From the July 2011 edition of the UK Log
As we went to press with the January 2011 edition of the UK Log, we heard of the sad death of Maurice Allward on 30th December 2010.
We spoke about how we could produce a fitting tribute to Maurice, one of our most active and enthusiastic members, at our committee meeting in January, and it was decided that some of the best photographs of Maurice’s work could be included in this edition of the magazine - most of which will appear in print for the first time in colour.
Maurice was a fantastic model maker. Not satisfied to just build a model of the Bounty from a weekly part-work magazine, he had to make it his own. The model of the Bounty would have been too pristine if he followed the instructions, so he had to age every part to make it look authentic and appear as it did on the day of the famous mutiny.
He managed to purchase another partly completed model of the Bounty and turned that into the remains of the ship, at rest on the sea bed, and I think that was my favourite of his models.
Everything had to be authentic. If one of his models called for sand, then he obtained the correct sand from Pitcairn and from Tubuai. The Tubuai sand took some five years of letter writing to the Governor of the island to obtain. When Maurice did finally get his sand for Fort George, the scale looked wrong. He spent many long hours with a stone pestle and mortar grinding the sand to a fine dust (and ended up seeing his doctor for a problem with his arm!).
Maurice wrote over 70 books, fact and fiction, on aircraft and also space travel. During the second world war he worked on the Hurricane as a junior draftsman.
He is survived by Joy, his wife of 31 years and his two step-children, Paul and Lorna.
Maurice’s ‘Pandora’s Box’
by Graham Ford
Maurice Allward’s collection of unusual Bounty and Pitcairn artefacts was renowned, if somewhat bizarre. One example that springs to mind being the pigtails, said to have been cut from mutineers hair! Maurice’s enduring interest in books will always be remembered by those of us who sat through many a PISG Saturday auction. Rarely did he depart without a carrier full to the brim with his successful purchases. Such enthusiasm will be sorely missed.
Walking into Maurice’s Hatfield home and being invited into his ‘study’ was an interesting experience, beholding endless numbers of books on shelves stretching around every wall. There were many ‘gems’ hidden away in this unforgettable Pandora’s Box. It would be difficult, perhaps unfair, to choose one favoured item in particular. No doubt everyone would have had their own preference whilst being offered a sneak preview by Maurice. One such occasion happened to me some years ago when, knowing of my interest in 19th century naval matters, he showed me a prized possession obtained at a Bonham’s auction .
This was a fascinating account of a voyage to the Pacific aboard a Royal Navy sloop. Written by Stephen G. Gundry, it tells of a Friday in April 1884 when H.M.S. Pelican said farewell to ‘dear old England’, leaving Plymouth on a four year Pacific Station commission. It was not uncommon during the 1800’s for crew members to write of their experiences aboard ship, especially if they were sailing to exotic destinations. Indeed, a number of these historical works can be found at the British Library, various Universities, Maritime Museums, National Archives in Kew, and even repositories such as the Wellcome Institute in central London. The National Library of Scotland also has an interesting collection.
These personal accounts of life aboard naval vessels not only deal with the traumas connected with a lengthy and often uncomfortable voyage, but also describe every event in each port visited, in the most minute detail. Gundry’s Log is no exception, even mentioning that biscuits ‘are not stored at the naval yard Esquimalt, but in the village’ and that on Hiva – Oa (Dominica Island)
‘Mr King can supply pegs’. Importantly a number of signatures appear in the Log, of which Thursday October Christian must surely be the most prized, together with that of John I. Tay, which is accompanied with the remark by Gundry ‘a gentleman taking passage for a good purpose’. It is also noted that Rosalind Amelia Young (who was very seasick) came on board together with Catherine Edith Warren, and remained until the anchor was weighed.
Stephen Gundry describes the Pitcairn church ‘…built on piles a few feet from the ground it appears to be kept very clean’ and assiduously remarks further about the morality situation on various Pacific islands (the Society Islands ‘are civilized’, according to him ‘but are thoughtlessly giddy’). All the more surprising, therefore, that scant reference is made to John Tay’s passage on Pelican. Evidently is was not clear at the time, of the religious impact that this visitor was to have on island life at Pitcairn.
One Log entry mentions John Adams and concludes: ‘His ashes lie in the beautiful island, which for 40 years was his home. His spirit is with his saviour’.
Maurice never visited Pitcairn but his ashes will be taken there, thus fulfilling his wish.