The loss by fire of the SS City of Montreal 1887 The history of maritime passenger-transportation in the mid-nineteenth century is, in great part, a depressing catalogue of disasters. Many involved large loss of life and, if not wholly preventable, could have involved far lower death-tolls had elementary precautions been observed. It’s therefore [...]
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So far Antoine Vanner has created 44 blog entries.
HMS Fowey, 1710 – Officers were not always Gentlemen! I’ve mentioned before in my blogs some of the unusual stories I’ve found in an 1889 book by W.Clark Russell entitled “Betwixt the Forelands” – an informal history if the narrowest section of the English Channel. Part of the book focusses on smuggling in the 18th [...]
The painful transition from Sail to Steam Admiral John Moresby I’m fascinated by the way that navies – and most especially the Royal Navy – adapted organisationally and professionally to the advent of steam power from the 1840s onwards. Many officers who had served in the Napoleonic Wars - including [...]
The Crimean War’s North Pacific Theatre: Petropavlovsk, August 1854 The most common image of the Crimean War (1854 – 56) is of Britain’s Light Brigade charging to death and glory against Russian guns at Balaclava. Almost equally well known are the epics of the ”Thin Red Line” and of the Storming of the Redan, both [...]
Hospital Ships in U-Boat Sights 1917-18 There can be few more dreadful predicaments in warfare at sea than to be a patient in a hospital ship attacked by the enemy. The vulnerability of such ships was recognised in The Hague Convention of 1907 which specified that they should be immune to attack but clearly [...]
The loss of HMS Amphion, 1796 The horror of explosion on a wooden ship As depicted by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900) Sir Edward Pellew, later Lord Exmouth, was one of the most charismatic commanders of the Royal Navy in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the inspiration of many [...]
1667 and all that: Guest Blog by J.D. Davies Dutch attack on the Medway, June 1667 by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest Antoine Vanner: I have been impressed since first discovering the non-fiction and fiction of the distinguished naval historian J.D.Davies, about whom a short biographical note is provided at the end [...]
July 1917: A month of carnage at sea U-boat warfare, as idealised by German artist Willy Stöwer (1864-1931) A hundred years ago, in July 1917, Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare campaign was entering its sixth month. U-boat attacks on Allied naval and civilian shipping, with the occasional, often accidental, sinking of neutral vessels, had been [...]
Britain and France confront Argentina Battle of Obligado, 1845 British ships (right) and French ships (left) move up the Parana river towards Argentinian defences, November 20th 1845 Today, when one thinks of naval combat between British and Argentinian forces the Falklands War of 1982 is the case most likely to come to mind. [...]
HMS Recruit: A Marooning Scandal in the Royal Navy One tends to think of “marooning” – abandoning a seaman alone on an uninhabited island – as being a punishment associated with buccaneers and pirates in the late 17thand early 18th Centuries. It is therefore somewhat of a shock that what was probably the last instance [...]