He wears a watch coat to protect himself from the cold on the small ship’s open bridge. In front of him is the ship’s telegraph, a device used for passing orders from the skipper on the bridge to the crew in the engine room. It is fitted with a pointer that moves around a dial annotated with the ship’s speeds – from full ahead to full astern. By moving the handle the skipper on the bridge can almost instantaneously relay instructions regarding the desired speed to the engine room.
Torpedo boat destroyers were a tiny but deadly addition to the world’s navies around the time of the outbreak of the Great War. The skippers of these vessels held the rank of commander and were expected to demonstrate qualities of daring and initiative.