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

July 6, 2020

In the autumn of 1794, the resurgent French Republic was on the march. The royal family had been executed, various attacks on France had been repulsed, and it was time for the revolution to be exported to her neighbours, by force if necessary. After several years of bi...

June 15, 2020

In the early 1980s a novel by James Clavell called ‘Shogun’ gripped the Western World. The book sold in millions, and awoke considerable interest in the history of feudal Japan. It was soon turned into a very successful TV series starring Richard Chamberlain as a Tudor...

May 25, 2020

In the 16th century the Ottoman Empire was on the march. Having established rule over almost all of North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and modern-day Iraq, they had set their sight on expansion into Europe. Greece, the Balkans and much of Southern Ukraine was conque...

May 4, 2020

Age of sail ships were utterly reliant on the health and strength of their crews. Before the introduction of steam winches in the 19th century, the only source of power available to them were the muscles of the sailors. Some of the forces involved were enormous. Anchor...

April 13, 2020

Robert Louis Stevenson, writer, traveller and creator of some of literature’s most enduring tales, was a crashing disappointment to his family. Producing global bestsellers like Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was all very well,...

March 23, 2020

On a cold, blustery February day in 1756, large crowds gathered on both sides of the River Thames at Woolwich to witness the launch of the Royal Navy’s latest ship. With a displacement of over two thousand tons and carrying a hundred guns on three decks, the Royal Geor...

March 2, 2020

Captain James McNamara was known as one of the Royal Navy’s best fighting captains. Born into a naval family from County Clare on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, he had joined the service as a fourteen-year old during the American War of Independence. Almost immediately...

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...

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