Welcome to my blog

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

February 17, 2020

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 Eas...

February 3, 2020

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...

January 20, 2020

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 sur...

January 6, 2020

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 ...

December 16, 2019

The tide, as Geoffrey Chaucer observed, waits for no man. Even out at sea, when all seems calm on the surface, the tide is there, constantly changing, flooding in and then ebbing away. Remorseless and powerful, its effect is most dramatic close to the shore. For sailor...

November 25, 2019

The Guillaume Tell (80) was one of the magnificent ships built in Toulon by Jacques-Noel Sané during the 1790s. She fought at Nelson’s victory at the battle of the Nile in 1798, but had the good fortune to be stationed towards the end of the French line, and was able t...

November 11, 2019

George Anson is best known for leading a squadron of Royal Navy ships into the largely unexplored Pacific Ocean in 1740, but his achievements were so much more. He was a talented fleet commander and a brilliant First Lord of the Admiralty during the Seven Years War. Hi...

October 28, 2019

When mutiny on a ship is mentioned, there is only one that comes to the public’s mind. Helped by countless books, TV documentaries and films, the popular view of naval mutiny is synonymous with the events that overtook the Bounty in the lonely South Pacific. Naval hist...

October 14, 2019

HMS Bellerophon was affectionately known by the sailors who served on her as the “Billy Ruffian.” She was a 74-gun ship of the line launched in 1786, one of a class of forty third-rates built in the 1770s and 80s to modernise the Royal Navy. These ships would go on to...

September 30, 2019

Mounted on my wall at home is a sextant. It is not an especially old or valuable one. Made from brass and steel, it was manufactured by Heath and Co of London in the 1950s, and still works well. The advent of modern marine navigation aids have made it largely redundant...

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