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News > OBs Remembered > RIP - Ltd Cmdr Andrew C F David (Hostel, 35-38)

RIP - Ltd Cmdr Andrew C F David (Hostel, 35-38)

He was a meticulous scholar himself and remarkably generous with his time and hospitality.
29 May 2021
Written by Huw Richards
OBs Remembered
Ltd Cmdr Andrew C F David (Hostel, 35-38)
Ltd Cmdr Andrew C F David (Hostel, 35-38)

Andrew Cattwg Francis David: Hostel, 1935 - 1938

Born 25th November 1924 - Died 29th May 2021

Andrew David was born in Newtown in Wales on 25 November 1924, the second son of Mr and Mrs A. C. R. David, and one of six children. His father was a solicitor. Andrew was educated at Christ College in Brecon and subsequently Ellesmere College in Shropshire. He joined the Royal Navy as a Special Entry Cadet on 1 May 1943 and went to sea as a Midshipman the following year. He served in HMS Suffolk in the East Indies and HMS Berwick in home waters during the war and subsequently was involved in minesweeping operations.

On promotion to Lieutenant in 1947 he joined the Hydrographic Service and was employed in various surveying ships for the next 12 years carrying out surveys in the Persian Gulf, Mediterranean and West Indies. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 1 May 1954. In 1958 he became the First Lieutenant of HMS Vidal, where I first served with him, under Captain E. G. Irving, who subsequently became the Hydrographer of the Navy. In 1959 he was appointed to the Hydrographic Office, and the next year took command of HM Surveying Motor Launch Medusa surveying off the south and west coasts of England and Wales. The following year he re-joined the Hydrographic Office where he was employed in the Sailing Directions Department until his retirement from the Active List of the Royal Navy on his 50th birthday. However he continued in the same post as a Retired Officer until 27 September 1985 and then worked at home as a Reviser of Sailing Directions until his final retirement in 1988.  

The Hydrographic office was situated in Cricklewood, London, until 1968 when it moved to Taunton to co-locate with the chart printing part of the business. It was at this time that Andrew moved to West Monkton in Somerset where he lived until declining health necessitated rather more extensive care than could be provided in his home, and so he moved to a care home in Swansea, near his sister and her family, and it was there that he died on 29 May 2021.    

During his time in the Hydrographic Office he produced a catalogue of all the ‘Logs, Journals and Correspondence’ held in the Office, which include inter alia all the Remark Books kept by the ships of the Royal Navy, which stimulated his interest in the historical aspects of the work of the Hydrographic Department and in particular that of Captain James Cook and his officers. This led to his magnum opus, The Charts and Coastal Views of Captain Cook’s Voyages published by the Hakluyt Society, (which he had joined in 1974) in three massive folio volumes in 1988, 1992 and 1998. In 1995 The Voyage of HMS Herald was published by Melbourne University Press which recounted the voyage of Captain Henry Mangles Denham to Australia and the Pacific between 1852 and 1861. His next major task, in which he led a team of distinguished scholars, was editing The Malaspina Expedition, 1789–1794: The Journal of the Voyage of Alejandro Malaspina which was published by the Hakluyt Society in three volumes in the third series in 2001, 2003 and 2004. It is worth noting that the Malaspina voyage was comparable in scope and achievement with the voyages of Captains Cook and the Compte de la Pérouse, but is largely unknown today since Malaspina, on his return to Spain, became embroiled in a plot to oust Manuel Godoy, the Chief Minister, which failed, and was imprisoned and the accounts of the voyage supressed.

 Andrew’s next and final volume for the Hakluyt Society was William Robert Broughton’s Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific, 1795–1798 also published in the third series, in 2010. 

Andrew produced a list of his other publications. These included over seventy articles and contributions to catalogues and books. He authored twelve entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Some of his most important work, notably The Surveyors of the Bounty (1982), survives only in typescript. Some copies are lodged in the UKHO Archive, the British Library Map Room and other depositories. Other copies are treasured by friends and fellow scholars whom he always helped with great generosity. 

He served for a time as a vice- President and a trustee of the Society for Nautical Research and also as vice- President and council member of the Hakluyt Society. He was the first recipient of The President’s Medal in 2006. 

He was interested in fishing and ornithology. He had family connections with the Falkland Islands, although he never visited the islands. He was very proud of his Welsh heritage although he did not speak the language. He was a meticulous scholar himself and remarkably generous with his time and hospitality. He was always prepared to help other researchers with their queries, frequently putting them up in his own home and then guiding them through the Hydrographic Office archives himself. Although at one time he had hopes of getting married, the young lady in question married someone else before he could propose and they remained good friends. He never married, but always remained in close contact with his immediate family and their respective children.

Thanks to Richard Campbell for this obituary.




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