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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


Of all the myths and legends of the sea, mermaids are amongst the most persistent. Almost as soon as humans started to sail in ships around five thousand years ago, they began to be reported. They feature in the maritime cultures of Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. They are generally depicted as having the upper body of an attractive woman, combined with the lower body of a fish. Although they are occasionally reported as benign, in most accounts they use their lovely voices and feminine beauty to lure unsuspecting mariners to a watery doom. One of the first accounts of a recognisable mermaid is the ancient Assyrian goddess Atargatis, who was transformed into a mermaid

Admiral Cornwallis’s retreat

Vice-Admiral Sir William Cornwallis came from a military family. His older brother, Charles, was a British general during the American War of Independence, and is best remembered for surrendering his army at Yorktown to a combined force of French and Rebel troops under the command of George Washington. This calamity in 1781 made Britain’s defeat certain. Perhaps it was the association between his family’s name and military disaster that helped Vice-Admiral Cornwallis 14 years later, when he too found himself heavily outnumbered and staring defeat in the face. The admiral was a highly experienced naval officer. He joined the navy in 1755, and fought throughout both the Seven Years War and the

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