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I publish them regularly on topics based around my enduring love for all matters maritime. I keep them short and light, so they should be no longer to read than the time it takes to drink a coffee. If you want to receive them, please subscribe below


The most important port on France’s Biscay coast for centuries was La Rochelle. Heavily fortified, with a deep-water port, it had all the attributes of an excellent naval base. Unfortunately, it was also the centre of Protestant resistance to Paris, and in 1627 was surrounded by government forces. After a long and murderous siege, it surrendered the following year. Most of the population had perished, and of those that survived many quickly left. The victors demolished the remaining fortifications, and the port lost its trading privileges. All of which left France with a problem. Where could the navy find a base on that coast to exploit the excellent oak forests and maritime know-how of the

The Man who saved the Victory

Nelson will always be associated with HMS Victory. She was his flagship for his final battle at Trafalgar, and it was on her orlop deck that he breathed his last, just as the battle was won. This association with Britain’s great naval hero would go on to help save the Victory from the breakers yard when, in the early part of the 20th century, the government decided that they had no further use for her. Fortunately, a noisy campaign, organised by the Society for Nautical Research, succeeded in raising the funds to preserve her for the nation. The ship now rests in a drydock in Portsmouth and is open to the public. But this campaign was not the first time that the warship had to be saved from

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