[MUSCAT & OMAN / PHOTOGRAPHY] Six photographs of Muscat, apparently taken by a British naval officer of HMS Highflyer between 1919-1921

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[N.p.], Muscat, 1919-1921.

Six loose gelatine silver prints, two of which have captions “Muscat, HMS Highflyer, 1919-21” on versos in pencil.

Six early twentieth-century shots of Muscat, taken probably by a British naval officer of HMS Highflyer after she returned to the East Indies Station in 1918, and she was recommissioned in July as the station flagship and served until she was paid off in early 1921.

This small photographic archive focuses on local Arabs living in the region, bazaars, and streets, etc. The photos show respectively an Arab family on the bank of a river, seemingly Wadi Beni Khalid lying between Muscat and Sur; three streets in the region, with local Arabs and westerners; Arab boys and children in a crowded bazaar, with shadow of a mosque, and children sitting on the sand and probably their teacher, holding the books they are reading and working on, during education. The date of the photographs coincides with the oil exploration activities initiated in the region by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in the early 1920s.

HMS Highflyer was the lead ship of the Highflyer-class protected cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the 1890s. She spent her early career as flagship for the East Indies and North America and West Indies Stations. She was reduced to reserve in 1908 before again becoming the flagship in the East Indies in 1911. She returned home two years later and became a training ship. When World War I began in August 1914, she was assigned to the 9th Cruiser Squadron in the Central Atlantic to intercept German commerce raiders and protect Allied shipping.

Days after the war began, she intercepted a Dutch ship carrying German troops and gold. She then sank the German armed merchant cruiser SMS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse off the coast of the Spanish Sahara. Highflyer spent most of the rest of the war on convoy escort duties and was present in Halifax during the Halifax Explosion in late 1917. She became flagship of the East Indies Station after the war. The ship was sold for scrap in 1921.