THE ORIENT LINE'S EXPRESS STEAMER OPHIR (1891-1922), SOMETIME ROYAL YACHT, (1901)
crew member's cap tally, in black silk, with H.M.S. Ophir lettered in gold and divided by crossed coloured Union flags -- 37in. (94cm.) long; together with a tally named for S.S. Soudan, the vessel's name between a blue ensign and the P. & O. House flag -- 43in. (109cm.) long, both apparently unused
It is unclear whether the Ophir tally dates from her short tenure as a royal yacht (in 1901) [see our catalogue 29th October 2014, lot 48, for full details] or from her service as an armed merchant cruiser during the Great War. Either way, it would appear to be a rare survival; Three P. & O. vessels bore the name Soudan, and this tally is most likely off the first of them, completed in 1901 and employed continuously as an Indian troop carrier. Between times she served as a hospital ship during the Great War and was scrapped in 1926.