Donated Sextant for sale in aid GBOBA Bursary Fund

Historic Sextant

A very valuable piece of memorabilia was donated to the Lawhill Brunch Auction by Bill Scott but withdrawn as it was felt it needed to be advertised to a wider audience.

This is a classical sextant manufactured by Heath & Co. Ltd., Crayford, London, in very good condition, with all accessories, in its original wooden storage box with original brass fittings. The cartouche on the lid is beautifully inscribed “W.Scott”, the name of Bill Scott, the sextant’s last owner and donor.
The Certificate of Examination from the National Physical Laboratory, Kew Observatory, Richmond, Surrey, issued in 1906, is attached within the box lid. It describes the sextant as Class A, no. 7181, of 7 inches radius, with a silver Vernier showing 10 inches, and requiring zero corrections. It has a very interesting history as described by Bill below.


Ownership provenance:
Bill Scott states his knowledge of the ownership of the sextant as follows:
The first owner of this sextant was Lieut. R.H.Fitzherbert-Brockholes, R.N. Here is his death notice and brief history, from “The Tablet”, page 20, 12th July, 1919:

“We deeply regret to report the death of Lieut. R.H.Fitzherbert-Brockholes,R.N., on July 2, during minesweeping operations on the River Dwina, the second surviving son of W.Fitzherbert-Brockholes,C.B.E., of Claughton Hall, Garstang, Lancashire. He was born in 1891, passed through Osborne and Dartmouth, and entered the Navy in 1908. When war broke out he was on his way home from the China Station to specialise in torpedo work. But on arrival in England he was appointed to HMS Benbow, one of the latest battleships. After serving with the Grand Fleet for over a year, he was sent to Portsmouth for a qualifying course as a torpedo lieutenant, in which capacity he served for a time. He was later selected to specialise in mining and was appointed mining officer to the 20th Flotilla, which was specially mentioned for its successful work during the last few months of the war. In March last he was sent to Archangel for special duty as a mining expert.”

The next known owner was Peter Fisher who was second officer in a Clan Line ship which was sunk by a U-boat in the Mediterranean during World War 2. He told me that the sextant was the only item that he managed to take into the lifeboat when the ship was abandoned. Peter died in Scotland in January 2014. He gave Bill the sextant when he was a junior officer in Safmarine in 1949, and it was used by me through the rest of Bill’s seafaring career which ended in 1956.