HMS Repulse is best known today as one of the two capital ships sunk by Japanese bombers in a single attack in 1941, alongside HMS Prince of Wales. However before that tragic event, she had a long and illustrious career with the Royal Navy. She was a battlecruiser of the Renown class and launched during World War One. She was one of the fastest battlecruisers afloat when launched and although she missed out on the Battle of Jutland, she did see service in the Second battle of Heligoland Bight in 1917. She spent a busy interwar period flying the flag between refits, including being part of a world cruise in 1924. Today we are looking at an engraved pewter tankard from the ship in that interwar period:
The tankard itself dates to 1925, the date code being on the base of the tankard alongside the manufacturer’s mark:
The design itself has a distinctive scalloped edge around the tankard and it appears it would have held half a pint:
What makes the tankard of interest to us however is the engraving which reads “The Gunroom Officers, HMS Repulse from H N Reid”
The ‘gunroom’ was the mess for junior officers of the rank of midshipman and sub-lieutenant, as opposed to the wardroom which more senior officers used. This being the case, it is possible that the tankard was presented to the gunroom when one of its members received his promotion to Lieutenant as a memento of his time in the mess and a symbol of his goodwill to his fellow junior officers. The tankard clearly did not remain on board HMS Repulse and became separated from the ship sometime in the 15 years before it was made and the ship’s sinking. The future fate of the ship makes this tankard rather more interesting than that for a less important ship in the history of the Royal Navy.