HMS Flamborough and HMS Bideford, outgunned but defiant, 1760 The term “post ship” was applied in the Royal Navy to Sixth-Rate vessels, and referred to the fact that they were the smallest ships that could be commanded by a post-captain. They were in effect miniature frigates, ship-rigged, some hundred feet long and around 500 tons [...]
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Penang– Britain's Early Foothold in South-East Asia Some three years ago I was visiting Malaysia, arriving via Penang, the island off Peninsular Malaysia’s west coast that’s now home to a city of 1.5 million and is linked to the mainland by two bridges, one of them 15 miles (24 Kms) long. Penang owed its development [...]
In the Dawn of Naval Aviation – HMS Ark Royal and HMS Argus I am lucky to live near Britain’s Fleet Arm Museum at Yeovilton, Somerset, a splendid collection not only of naval aircraft but of models of aircraft carriers from their earliest days. A visit (a modestly-priced ticket gives unlimited access for a year) is [...]
“I’d prefer to be blown up!” - van Speijk at Antwerp, 1831 The revolt that led to the creation of modern Belgium as an independent state was the background to an act of insane heroism by a young Dutch naval officer, Jan van Speijk, whose (alleged) last words were to become an expression still in [...]
The Dawlish Chronicles Blog, 2018 Fourteen Personal Favourites The Dawlish Chronicles blog appeared through the year 2018, two articles most weeks, a total of some ninety which together represent as much as an average book. This was run in parallel with the writing of the Dawlish Chronicles novels – the latest of which, Britannia’s Mission, was published [...]
Rescue against all odds: Pellew and the Dutton 1796 Edward Pellew We’ve met Edward Pellew (1757 – 1833) on this blog before (Click here to read) and it’s probable that we’ll meet him again as he ranks just below Nelson, and certainly with Cochrane, as one of the Royal [...]
The First Battle between Steamships: Vladimir vs. Pervaz-i-Bahri, 1853 The end of the Age of Fighting Sail was a process that straggled through the 1820s and 30s and 40s as steam power became increasingly reliable. The last full fleet action with sailing vessels was the Battle of Navarino in 1827, when combined British, French and Russian squadrons [...]
Naval Artists of the 18th Century – Part 5, Nicholas Pocock Nicholas Pocock In earlier articles in this occasional series of blogs (click here for bloglist) we have met artists – such as Thomas Luny and Richard Paton – who had experience of life at sea before (or sometimes during) their careers [...]
The Crimean War’s White Sea Theatre, 1854 This article tells about British naval operations in the White Sea in 1854. The Crimean War (1854 – 56) is most remembered for images of the charge of Britain’s Light Brigade at Balaclava, the privations suffered by the ill-equipped besiegers of Sevastopol through a deadly winter and the [...]
HMS Redwing – odds of one to seven, 1808 Sir Thomas Ussher Sir Thomas Ussher (1779–1848) was one of the younger generation of Royal Navy officers who served in the Napoleonic wars and who, though they advanced in many cases to coveted Post-Captain rank were denied the opportunity of greater commands and responsibilities [...]