The Capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, 1704 I wrote this article when in southern Spain, between Malaga and Marbella. The Mediterranean is narrow at that point and the mountains of the Moroccan shore are visible on a clear day. The sea funnels westwards towards the Straits of Gibraltar, which vary from 10 to [...]
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So far Antoine Vanner has created 92 blog entries.
James Brooke: The First of the White Rajahs of Sarawak There is only one example in recent centuries of a private Englishman setting himself up as the ruler of an independent nation and establishing a dynasty that would rule it for a century. This was however the remarkable achievement of James Brooke (1803-1868), the first [...]
Shore leave from HMS Trafalgar, 1890s "The Handy Man" of the 1890s My research into the Royal Navy of the later nineteenth century, which I undertake for the Dawlish Chronicles novels, usually turns up information on the more dramatic aspects of service – colonial campaigns, crises, disasters, exploration etc. What is harder to [...]
The loss of HMS Queen Charlotte, 1800 During the twentieth century, damage-control was to become a naval discipline in itself, and was to result in many epics of courage. In earlier centuries such response was on a much more ad-hoc basis but the bravery and self-reliance of the crews involved were no less than those [...]
Fighting the Riff Pirates 1848-51 The Barbary pirates of North Africa were a scourge to maritime trade for many centuries. It was only in the nineteenth century that major naval and military campaigns – most notably the US Navy’s and Marine Corps’ intervention on “the Shores of Tripoli”, the Anglo-Dutch action against Algiers in 1816 and [...]
The Royal Navy Exhibition of 1891 The Royal Navy was to attain enormous popularity in Britain in the 19th Century, especially in its last decades. It was seen to be at the cutting edge of the technology of the time and to be the guarantor of imperial greatness against the machinations of the French, Russians [...]
How to serve one of Nelson's 32-pounder ship smashers The fact that often strikes one regarding even the largest ships of “The Age of Fighting Sail” is the sheer number of men – and of guns – that they carried. As an example, Nelson’s HMS Victory, which is still extant at Portsmouth in all her glory, [...]
Touching Jack Aubrey’s reality: Carronades at Britain's Fort Nelson Museum “… Captain Aubrey stood by the starboard thirty-two-pounder carronade contemplating the Emperor of Morocco's purple galley as it lay off Jumper's Bastion with the vast grey and tawny Rock of Gibraltar soaring behind it, while Mr Blake, once a puny member of his midshipman's berth [...]
Cutting out the Dutch brig Atalante in 1804 Britain’s participation in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1793-1815) was continuous except for two short breaks that lasted a few months only. During two decades of warfare the Royal Navy fought six major fleet actions, and several much smaller ones, and it is these encounters, typified by [...]
Nelson at the Nile, 1798: the Rewards of Victory Bonaparte's fury at the defeat! Nelson’s stunning victory at Aboukir, off the Nile Delta, in August 1798 was to raise his reputation to a European level. In this battle Nelson brought his force of fifteen ships, of which thirteen were ships-of-the line, close inshore to [...]