For the descendents of Richard Dearie and his son John Russell

Archie's dairy for 1899

Archie began a diary in 1899 when he was 16 years old.

The first entry begins with the family embarking on the Japanese ship Sanuki Maru in which he, his father Jack and his three brothers Phil, Don and Bob travelled from London to Malaya.

Page 78 Saturday March 18th 1899. Awoke 6.30, after breakfast (8.30) met the Captains son who is coming as far as Gravesend he took me over the engines and we then had a row round the boat in a ?wherry. The captain’s son is an Alleyn’s boy. The Sanuki Maru had to wait till 4 before she could get and out of the docks. I find she has only been built 2 years. Bob was rather troublesome & tacked himself on to all the officers. The wind was very strong and cold we passed the ?line about 7.30. The ship rolls a good deal & I feel squeamish

Page 79 Sunday March 19th 1899 The following is an account of the voyage yesterday from 4.00 to 12 today Lat 50° 22 N Long 2 °13 W Cse various Dist 240m Bar 29.92 Ther 39 °Sea 44. Slept very well last night ship very steady. Day warmer than yesterday but still cold, sea very calm. This morning sighted I. of Wight and Swanage, will be in the bay tomorrow. Put watch right by chronometer. Paced the deck nearly all day, is cold to read. Bob making himself friends with everybody, and ?nusians

Page 77 Friday March 17th 1899

Went to Fenchurch Street Sta. Met Uncle Arthur (1) and Aunt Annie, (2) also Mr. ?Killerty who gave ?games, Aunt ran up with father’s overcoat. Went to dock met Maurice Auger & Bert Richardson. Boat started at 3pm, but could not get out of the harbour because of another boat, Uncle Geo (3) & Arthur came round ?on tug & shook hands At 4pm tea. At 5pm Uncle George & Arthur left, followed by Bert and Maurice. Father and I unpacked Dinner 6.30 (NB ?Specs chopped in devilled duck) Grew very foggy. Turned in had rather restless night. Wrote to Kate. (4)

Notes. (1) Uncle Arthur. Archie's mother Frances had a brother called Arthur. (2) This could be Annie Fox or possibly Arthur’s wife. (3) Uncle George is probably George Oxer married to Nel, Archie’s mother’s sister, with whom they have been living in Peckham. (4) Kate, is possibly Katie Oxer his cousin, daughter of George and Nel.

Page 80 Monday Mar 20th 1899 Lat °46 .52' N Long 6° 47’ W Cse Various Dist 282 miles Bar 29.79 Ther 46 ° Sea 52° Day very dull, but not cold. Looked as if it would rain but it did not. The bay very calm. Sighted several ships, two British ?India and also a Japanese. Will have passed the bay by 11p.m. tomorrow. Phil and Don have colds and have therefore turned in early, the former rather touchy. Bob very restless Spill red ink today. Feel very tired shall turn in early.

Page 81 Tuesday Mar 21st 1899 Lat 42° 50' N Long 9 °19 W Cse various Dist 272 miles Bar 29 14 Ther 52° Sea 64 ° Day dull & showery warmer than yesterday. This morning the bay was getting rough and have shipped several seas. We have got out of the bay in just a ?nice time. Rounded Cape Finnisterre about 11.15 AM. It then came over very misty & we lost sight of the Spanish coast, the sea is now getting up and the Sanuki Maru is rolling a very much. The only first class passenger ?side is the Chinese lady. Bob and Don have been playing

Page 82 Wednesday Mar 22nd 1899 quoits with the Chinese Children during the afternoon. We have seen a great number of ships today, more than the captain remembers having seen before in the bay. Lat 38.31 N Long. 9.30 W Cse Various Dist. 266 miles Bar 2947 Ther 61 Sea 59 Very rough all day a ship rolled a lot, also pitched I was the first sick, followed by Don and then I went again. Don not to be beaten vomited twice. Bob had all the day been gloating over us, but just before dinner he emptied himself. Lo how art the mighty fallen. On father suggesting that he should only have

Page 83 Thursday Mar 23rd 1899 soup for dinner he was very indignant. Don behaved like a trojan. Lat 36 N Long 5 .51 W Cse various Dist 238 m Bar 29.42 Ther 57 Sea 60 Yesterday we passed C. St. Vincent. Today Trafalgar Bay. It was very rough in the morning until we passed Gibraltar when we entered the Medittaranean it then became very calm. It rained up to 7.30pm but was a beautiful night. Saw several fish. Bob lost this tournaments. The Chinese are better.

Page 84 Friday Mar 24th 1899 Lat 36.28N Long 0.16.30 W Course Various Dist 278 miles Bar 29.74 Ther. 37 °Sea 59 ° Not very cold but sea very rough. Felt very bad. I have learned what makes the Sanuki Maru roll much, it has a large cargo of iron packed right at the bottom of the ship. The Captain says she is behaving very badly & all the officers say that they have never known her to roll so before. We had fiddles on for meals which are a great nusciance Passed a shoal of porpoises African coast in sight.

Page 85 Saturday Mar 25th 1899 Lat 37.04 Long 5.01 E Course Various Dist 260 miles Bar 30.5 Ther 49° Sea 54 The day was awfully cold & miserable, it rained all day, & I think is the worst day for rolling we have ever had I felt awful & longed for the day to go Don vomited We shipped heavy seas all the time & I heartily wished I was back in England. Could not eat anything neither could Don, went to bed at 7.0. PM but could not sleep a wink. Things are rolling about in cabin in cabin overhead was a loose cannon- ball -misery

Page 86 Sunday Mar 26th 1899 Lat 37° 04’ 30” N Long 10.46 E Cse Various Dist 280 miles Bar 20.19 Ther 53 Sea 57. The day is better than yesterday but still awful. I am however getting a better sailor, we have shipped many heavy seas the deck having never been dry. One sea came down the ventilators & completed soaked Phils cabin it also did some damage to ours. We have passed C. Bon and an old Italian convict station Pantiliaria an island. We sleep next to the pantry & can hear all the plates rattling around at night.

Page 87 Monday Mar 27th 1899 Full Moon Lat 35° 33’ 30”N Long 15.48 E Cse Various Dist 261 miles Bar 30.26 Ther 58° Sea 59 The weather was warmer but still cold, the captain says it is very unusual for the Med. to be so cold. We passed Malta at 5.45 AM and Phil was the only one awake, he rushed up on deck in his pyjamas but did not wake us. The roll has abated, but is coming on again. The night is cloudless and there is a full moon. Still wearing overcoats & boots

Page 88 Tuesday Mar 28th 1899 Lat 34° 24’ 30, N Long 21.00’ 30 E Cse 576 E Dist 279 miles Bar 30.17 Ther 59 sea 60° Though the thermometer has gone up today does not seem so warm as yesterday The rolling has also increased but I can stand it now Father is suffering from indigestion & insomnia. We are out of sight of any land and have only sighted two ships. The ship is rather slow. I lay in a long chair and read most of the time & Bob & Don trapse over the ship with Miss W Levan

Page 89 Wednesday Mar 29th 1899 Lat 33° 23 N Long 26.10 E Cse S 76 E Dist 275 miles Bar 30.03 Ther 55, sea 60° The day was cold & the boat tossed a lot a white squall raged all day. Father is still bad. Thursday Lat 32° 07 N; Long 31.17 E Cse S 75 E Dist 275 miles Bar 29.97 Ther 60 Sea 62° The day was warmer but still chilly, soon after 1PM noticed the water was getting muddy as the tide

Page 90 Thursday Mar 30th 1899 Maundy Thursday flows out here. Reached Port Said 7.00PM. We were raced in by a Messarger. Natives came on board. Went ashore 8.00PM. The boat was very ?shakey. Bob’s cap was lost in confusion As all was dark not much could be seen of the town. The streets are wide & made of loose sand something like Rotten Row. The crowd is awful. Every body is French. We returned at 9.30. Coaling was in full swing. It is wonderful how quick the Arabs ?coal & shout. Everything was closed up to prevent the dust from getting in & therefore very hot

Page 91 Friday Mar. 31st 1899 Good Friday I do not know the log for this day. The canal is 87 miles in length. The day was ?warm We did not leave Port Said till 3AM, as we had to fix on a supplementary rudder & the electric light coaling was over at 1AM Have been going through the canal all day & have just got out 9PM The day is much warmer & very nice the canal is very monotonous but also very wonderful we are not allowed to go more than 5 m. an hour yesterday 7 1st class passengers came on board they are a very ?tory family

Page 92 Saturday April 1st 1899 Lat 27. 42 N Long 33.51 E Cse Various Dist 156 miles Bar 30'.4” Ther 66 Sea 64 The weather is now getting hot awnings are put up. Fiddles are taken off the table. We left the Gulf of Suez at 12.AM & are now in the Red Sea. Saw Mt. Sinai & coast of Africa & Asia. Passed the wreck of a Holts boat that we saw coming home. Passed Hitachai Maru. Phil and I are shifted over to other table to make room for the Sale family who hold all before them

Page 93 Sunday April 2nd 1899 Easter Sunday Lat 23. 51 N Long 51.21.36 E Cse Various Dist 270 miles Bar 29.97 Ther 74 Sea 72 The weather warmer still. We have the punkahs ?pulled at meals & a small electric fan going which makes a lot of buzz & but little work. Ices and Iced drinks are in full swing. The stewards bring round blocks of ice which they put in our drinking water. The stewards have discarded their black suits & brass buttons & now wear white. I am not wearing a waistcoat.

Page 94 Monday April 3 1899 Bank Holiday Lat 19.52 N Long 38.49 E Cse S 29 E Dist 275 miles Bar 29.95 Ther 82° Sea 79° I forgot to mention that yesterday we had divine service in the 1st class saloon given by a ?Corean Missionary. The day is much warmer. A grand Cricket match was played today in which however I did not take part. Awnings are put up & lines drawn across the deck marked no runs are run, they are counted by distance the ball goes

Page 95 Tuesday April 1899 Lat 15.54 and a half N Long 41.19 E Cse S Various E Dist 279 Bar 29.92 Ther 80. Sea 80° Saw some flying fish this morning. There is now quite a scramble for the bath and we have to get up at 5.45 and go into the bathroom the others waiting outside the door. Bob and Don bathe in the Ladies Bathroom Another cricket match to day I scored 5 English 2 French 1 German 1 Russian 1 Dutch 1 Swede 1 Dane 4 Japan took part.

Page 96 Wednesday April 5th 1899 Lat 12.26 N Long 44.01 E Cse Various Dist 274 miles Bar 29.92 Ther 80 Sea 80 Today much cooler. A head wind has blown all day, it is almost chilly. No punkah today. We passed ?Penin & the Straits of Babel ?mandel at 2.00 and are now in the Gulf of Aden. Yesterday we passed a small archipelago of barren rocks known as the Twelve Apostles. I am teaching Phil a little Malay. There is a concert in the 1st class saloon tonight The performers are mostly Sales

Page 97 Thursday April 6th 1899 Lat 12.09 N Long 48.30 E Cse S 86 E Dist 259 miles Bar 29.98 Ther 82° Sea 82° Passed Aden during the night. We have had a strong head wind all day which accounts for our small progress. The weather is beautiful. The apples and oranges have run out on board & we are now having preserved fruit, tinned apples, pears, apricots, peaches and pineapples. The elder of the two young Sales is a terror, he is about 21 & has already told me the amount of his wages, his love affairs, his father’s salary and other items of interest.

Page 98 Friday April 7th 1899 Lat 11.48 N Long 53.02 00E Cse Var Dist 274 miles Bar 29’.97 Ther 81° Sea 82° It is still cool, but strange to say the wind has dropped & the water looks like oil. Flying fishes are skimming in all directions and a number of big porpoises are playing with the bows of the ship. We passed the isles of Socotra Abdullah Kuri and the two brothers today. Had another bad day from B. Sale today, when we see him coming we hide as quick as we can for if he once catches us we cant shake him off till the next meal time.

Page 99 Saturday April 8th 1899 Lat 10.55.00 N Long 57.16 E Cse S 79° E Dist 255 m. Bar 30.00 Ther 81 Sea 82 It is now getting hotter Today we left the Gulf of Aden & entered the Arabian Sea, a part of the Indian Ocean One of the engineers has a hammock slung to a derrick and in this Bob and Don get. They make themselves very warm & get very excited the consequence is that there are repeated warnings & then slappings.

Page 100 Sunday April 9th 1899 Lat 10.22.00 N Long 61.36.00 E Cse S 83° E Dist 258 m. Bar 29.95 Ther 82 Sea 82 Warmer still. Today we again had divine service the Rev Smart officiating. The sermon was most tedious & very dogmatic. He also was slightly personal. In the afternoon there was a children’s service & in the evening the Sales sung hymns. This was a bit too much of a good thing. We passed a school of porpoises a flying fish are abundant.

Page 101 Monday April 10th 1899 Lat 9.47.30 N Long 66.03 E Cse S 83° E Dist 265 miles Bar 29.94 Ther 86 Sea 84 It is now boiling & there is not a breath of wind. There is in the 2nd a man very like Longhurst and he is having rows with everybody. The two women are also having disagreements, also the Rev Smart. Bob & Don are always on the bridge the captain telling them that they can go up whenever they like. They also play cricket. Phil made 19 today. I read and also do a little Malay. I am teaching Phil.

Page 102 Tuesday April 11th 1899 Lat 9.03.00 N Long 70.33.00 E Cse S 83 E Dist 270 miles Bar 29.95 Ther 88° Sea 86° Today is the hottest we have had as yet. It is awful, we wander about deck all day trying to find a cool spot. Perspiration pours down our face, and bathes our bodies. Bob is simply awful, I come next. The 2nd are a lively lot they have a sweepstake on the days sun & bets on various other things. The ship possesses a laundry, & we have taken advantage of it today.

Page 103 Tuesday April 12th 1899 Lat 8.07 N Long 74.57 E Cse S 77 and half E Dist 266 m Bar 29.89 Ther 82 Sea 84 Today cooler, a breeze sprung up in the evening, & it began to rain, it has looked black all day, the Sales are playing ?rowing games. Thursday I have been unable to get the log this day. The day was rather cheerless & there was a slight breeze blowing, it rained in the evening & all night. At 10PM we sighted Ceylon and arrived at Colombo

Page 104 Thursday April 13th 1899 at 3.0. The coast is thickly fringed with palms & looks very pretty. At 4.0 we with Miss ?W Leman went ashore & after posting our letters, went for a drive to the Grand Pass on the ?Kelani River a distance of about 3 miles from the town. The road runs right through the native part of the town & gave us a good idea of the life in Ceylon. Soon after we had returned it began raining & we were obliged to return to the Sanuki (6.15) They were cargoing but had to stop because of the rain.

Page 105 Friday April 14th 1899 The day was very bright & fine and the coolies soon began to work again. We stopped on board all day & looked at the scene. The harbour is a very spacious one and was full of shipping, there were two English Gun- boats & several B.I. boats There was also a number native boats, catamarans, & dugouts, some of them merely two bits of wood lashed together with another piece of wood to act as an oar. The boat was crowded all day with native jewelers etc whilst other natives where juggling or diving for money We left at 4.30PM.

Page 106 Saturday April 15th 1899 Lat 5.46.00 N Long 82.11.00 E Cse Various Dist 202 miles Bar 29.82 Ther 82 Sea 83 It was dark and thundery all day, we could not open our cabin ports & the air was therefore awful. The ship rolled a lot and the Chinese girl & one of the Sales were down, I felt bad. We are now in the Bay of Bengal. We are plagued by cockroaches they are something awful they have eaten the remainder of the sweets & father’s kid boots & the stench that they give to the cabin is fearful.

Page 107 Sunday April 16th 1899 Lat 6.00.00 N Long 86.43 E Cse N 87. E Dist 273 miles Bar 29.92 Ther 84 Sea 84 Today brighter but still rolling I feel a bit ?qualmish the others all right. Had service at 10.00AM Mrs Sale is getting up a concert. We are now having tropical fruit at meals, we have had as yet Fresh bananas & pineapples also mangoes, green oranges, & papiahs, I like them all except the last. I am coming out into pimples and boils, Bob is the same. Many sleep on deck but we don’t.

Page 108 Monday April 17th 1899 Lat 6.08 N. Long 91.10 E. Cse N. 88. E. Dist 268 miles Bar 29.97 Ther 84 Sea 85 The sea has abated a lot & has an oily appearance but there is a heavy swell on the sea & the vessel still rolls. We will reach Singapore on Thursday morning & though for somethings I shall be glad for others I shall be sorry I will be leaving a lot of friends & I quite like the Sanuki Maru We passed a British 1st class cruiser today & we saw the Orlando & Plyiades in Colombo harbour.

Page 109 Tuesday April 18th 1899 Lat 5.41. N. Long 95.35 E Cse Var. Dist. 266 miles Bar 29.99 Ther 87. Sea 86 The swell has gone down & the day is very fine. At 10.00 A.M. we passed through the Bengal Passage between the islands of Pulo Brass and Pulo.Weh. off ?Acheen Head. We are now in the Straits of Malacca. Tonight the 1st class are inviting the 2nd to a concert & ?service in their saloon. It is in return for the one the 2nd gave. It is going to be a fine set out the stewards are preparing now.

Page 6

of misfortune. He is a very nice man and very good to Bob and Don. The 2nd Mr Von Winkler is an Englishman though his name is German, he is a great reader & lends the passengers books. He is a very nice man & was captain of the Lady Weld a straits boat for some time. The 3rd.


Here his observations of the crew stop.


Further evidence of his activities for the rest of 1899 can be gathered from his notes on events, letters sent and financial accounts. These were kept in separate parts of the diary but have been extracted here to produce a roughly chronological order.

There is a summary of events for 1899 on pages: 124-125 showing that they arrived on April 20th at Singapore and by 23rd in Selangor. 13 days later on May 6th he began work for the Straits Trading Company. ( See below)



Mr Chalk, later identified as A. K. Chalk, appears to be a significant figure in Archie's life. Archie is writing to him once a month, thanking him for a book, review and articles. It was presumed he might be an ex teacher but a search of the UK census of 1881 and 1901 reveal an Arthur Keeling Chalk born in Camberwell who by 1901 is a Civil Servant aged 28 working in the 2nd class return letter office for the GPO, and living at 12, Mundania Road, Camberwell.

It could be possible that Archie aged 16 had already started working before he left the UK? Phil is apprenticed aged 14, and George at 15. Mr. Chalk could have been a work colleague or a neighbour , although Mundania Road is some distance from Chadwick Road.

Archie also writes to his friends Maurice Auger and Bert Richardson. His brothers George and Phil, his cousin Katie Oxer and his Uncle and Aunt possibly George and Nel Oxer with whom he has spent the last 6 years.

The detailed accounts in his diary begin in August, perhaps he has been taught book keeping during his 3 months probation. His salary appears to be exactly what his board costs per month, but he is also receiving $4 a month pocket money. He is lending money to his younger brothers, and apart from this, his only outgoings are stamps, 10 cents spent on rickshaws, fruit and a book on Malay. His accounts reveal that by the end of August he has increased his capital from $4.30c to $6. 87 cents. This sum is carefully transferred to the start of the page of September accounts.





This is the last chronological entry about the voyage. Four early pages of the diary from 3 to 6 give more general descriptions of the boat and its crew, it is possible that entries began on page one but that these pages have been lost.

Page 3 cabins you have to pass through the saloon. These are 2 cabins facing each other

Plan of main deck under promenarde deck 1. Phil, Bob; & Don’s cabin (the largest) 2. Father and my cabin 3. Pantry 4. Ladies bathroom 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, 13, officer's

Page 4 quarters A & B, C & D alley ways E staircase leading up to promenarde deck Our cabins are the coolest in the ship & possess an advantage over the other cabins which are on the promenarde deck as they are close together The Crew is composed of 110 Japanese, sailors, firemen, stewards, cooks etc & a Japanese ?turner, doctor & freigte clerk. It is officered by an English captain

Page 5 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th officer & a chief, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th engineer. The Captain Mr Townsend is a little short tubby man with a twinkle in his eye. He is very good natured but we don’t see much of him as he is devoted to the Sales. The chief officer Mr Fraser is a Rosshire man, he is good looking but has grey hair though not very old. He has passed through a good deal

Archie continued to make notes in this diary for the years 1900 and 1901.
On 1 September, he hired Mohamed Arisad “as a ?gurw ? Guru” for $5 a month. A note in the diary says “father of S.T.C. peon”. Is this “peon” as in messenger? His father Jack is paying for this. In this month’s accounts he has started receiving an additional $7 a month labelled as Trusts. He notes he has an actual income of $2.1c., he has capital of $10 .85c but notes that $5 of that are on Trust and not to be counted. He has bought himself some grass slippers for 20 cents.
He continues to pay Mohamed Arisad and also to pay $1 to Lam an STC messenger “as a gratuity”? (Peon.), which he notes has made the month's expenditure a heavy one. There is also money to Church but whether this is a church or a person called Church is not clear. He has spent 50c. on sewing a sarong.
Mr Nutt goes as agent to Kajang leaving Cooke, Jack and myself (Mr. W. F. Nutt was to become chairman of the S.T.C. during WW1.) November’s expenditure includes an expensive Christmas present to send to his aunt of 8 yards of satin, which costs $5. He and Phil are given cushion Brookes bicycles by Mr. Sanderson, who has been staying with them. Mohamed has left, so on 1 October he engages Suleiman bin Haji, Usman a 2nd. Compositor in his father’s Government printing Office as his new guru. On the 12th he reaches his 17th birthday. On 23rd his father Jack interviews Mr. W.W. Cooke at the S.T.C. about his son's salary. Mr. Cooke suggests a rising rate from Jan 1st 1900 of $50 for Year one, $75 for year 2 and $100 for year 3. His father objects to this. Mr. Cooke says that these were the conditions on which he joined his first firm at age 17. His father replies that Archie has worked for 8 months now on $30 although he was promised it would only be for three months. Mr. Cooke says it's not his decision but up to Singapore, but he will advise them to start on $75. Jack then writes to Mr. Alexander proposing $75 in year one, $100 in Year 2 and $125 in year three, and sends the letters to Mr. Cooke to read and forward to Mr. Alexander in Singapore.
In December Archie notes that E. Smith who had attacked him has left the S.T.C. Mr. Cooke receives the reply from Singapore saying Archie can start on $60 for one year from the start of December and then reconsider the agreement. This is accepted. He continues to pay Suleiman and is still using rickshaws despite having his new bicycle. Over Christmas Mr. Paxon stays with them and gives each of the brothers some money including $10 to Archie. Mr. Paxon also takes some photographs of the family. Throughout this time Archie has written to Mr. Chalk who has sent him books, and reviews.

Notable Events 1899

March 17 Frid. Went on board SS Sanuki Maru 18 Sat Sailed Left at 4.0PM 30 Thur Reached Port Said April 13 Reached Colombo 20 Reached Singapore 22 Sat. Left Singapore 28 Frid. Went to Dr. Traver's house May 6 Went to Bluff Rd house. 8 I entered S.T.C. as probationer for 3 months on maintenance of $30 per mensum May 9 Bob and Don started at Victoria Institution 10 Heard George had started on 2nd as Fourth engineer SS Clitus . Sal £8 per mensum June 1 Received first salary Phil started as prentice for a civil engineer to S.G.R. for 3 years No salary 1st year $15 2nd $30 July 4 Tues. 3rd.Phil went into Hospital with Typhoid fever. 31 mon. My probation ended Aug 19 sat Phil returned from hospital cured 24 Thur Phil went to Mr Meikles at Kwala Selangor by the 9.50 train to recover his health. Sept 18 Mon Phil returned from K Selangor in morning. I Frid ( error should have been placed before) I ?leave in Mohamed Arisad as a guru at $5 per mensum. father of S.T.C peon. Oct 5 Thur. Mr. Sanderson arrived from ?Jugra 8 Sun Mr. Sanderson returned to Singapore. 9 Mon. I am attacked by E. Smith.