WWII-era sketch book by a British submariner

J. Wilde, E.R.A., [printed on front board:] ENGINEERING SKETCH BOOK FOR USE IN DESTROYER DEPOT SHIPS, PARENT SHIPS AND REPAIR SHIP ONLY. Blythe, Northumberland, United Kingdom: early 1944.
Oblong sketch book of pre-printed graph paper, 3-72pp. ½ red cloth over printed boards. Each page bears notes in ink and/or detailed engineering sketches in ink and colored pencil, with sketches on 33 pages. Front cover inscribed “J. Wilde, E.R.A. D/MXS10455. Class B.Y.”, front endpaper bearing a paste-on slip with a “Non-Confidential” certification stamped in blue with the signature of “G.W. Lane COMD. ENGR.” and an oval stamp of the H.M.S. Elfin dated 18 Apr 1944. Pages 1-2 excised (for security reasons?), contents with minor soiling and staining, staining and wear to covers. Accompanied by a 3 ½” x 2 ½” photo, not labeled but presumably of J. Wilde.

An appealing sketch book of highly-accomplished mechanical drawings and notes by a future Royal Navy submariner while training for service during the Second World War.

 The sketch book was compiled in 1944 by one J. Wilde, apparently while training as an Engine Room Artificer (hence the “E.R.A.” following his name) at H.M.S Elfin, the Royal Navy submarine base at Blythe, Northumberland. Given the contents of the book, it appears that he was training to serve on a Royal Navy Triton (“T”) class attack submarine. The class was designed in the mid-1930s, its lead boat, the Triton, was launched in late 1938, and 53 were ultimately built before the outbreak of war. I have been unable to identify Wilde on Fold3.com, but the mariner in the photo accompanying the sketch book wears the insignia of a Petty Officer, First Class.

The sketch book includes page upon page of careful notes on the assembly, function, maintenance and repair of a vast range of shipboard systems, including for example engines; compressors and pumps; air, fuel and water lines; hydroplanes; and torpedo tubes. Nearly half the pages bear detailed sketches illustrating the subject at hand, seemingly drawn with great care and to scale, and meticulously hand-colored.  Some of the highlights include an illustration of an engine (p. 12), a cutaway profile view of what appears to be a “T”-class submarine (p. 22), a closeup of the bow torpedo tubes (the three tubes stacked vertically being characteristic of the “T” class), a cutaway view of a “T”-class sub as seen from the top, and an “H.M.S. Triton Water Cooled Spray Valve”.

I acquired the sketch book in the trade, but it was previously sold as lot 269 in the July 26, 2022 sale at Roger Jones & Co. (Colwyn Bay, UK), where it was lotted with an album of keepsakes, not present here.