The Imperial German Navy vs. Haiti, 1897 and 1902 The Imperial German Navy that went to war in 1914 was essentially a creation of previous four decades. One tends to think of it in terms of its squadrons of superbly engineered battleships and battle-cruisers, designed primarily for the anticipated show-down with the Royal Navy in [...]
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Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 2 (Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it previously) With a major portion of his crew and passengers having reached safety in Cuxhaven – albeit at the cost of a fearful trek across fissured ice – Captain Wallis remained on Neuwerk Island in the Elbe [...]
Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 1 HMS Proserpine was a 28-gun Enterprise-class frigate that entered Royal Navy service in 1777. Her career up to 1799 was worthy but unspectacular. In January 1799 when commanded by Captain James Wallis, she was tasked with carrying the diplomat Thomas Grenville (1755 –1846) on the first leg [...]
The Salvage of HMS Royal George, 1782 - 1844 HMS Royal George in her glory The loss, while at anchor at Spithead, off Portsmouth, of the ship-of-the- line HMS Royal George on August 29th 1782 was a disaster that had an impact on British society comparable to the loss of RMS Titanic [...]
Penang's links with the German Navy in two world wars Fort Cornwallis today In a recent blog article, inspired by a visit to Malaysia some while back, I described Fort Cornwallis, at Georgetown, the main city on the island of Penang off [...]
The Wit and Wisdom of Admiral “Jacky” Fisher Fisher in 1902 - cartoon by "Spy" Few men can have had a greater influence on naval warfare than John Fisher (1841 – 1920), later Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher. This formidable figure, a human whirlwind, was responsible for building HMS Dreadnought, thereby “making every [...]
The French Navy in Korea in 1866 The fourth of the Dawlish Chronicles novels, Britannia’s Spartan, is set in Korea in 1882 when internal pressures and great-power interventions plunged the country into riot and chaos. A malign role is played by the “Daewongun”, the father of the weak King Gojong. Initially regent for his son, this callous [...]
Diplomacy at Sea: USS Miantonomoh 1866 - 67 Two recent blogs described the loss of low-freeboard monitors in the open sea, the Dutch Adder in 1882 (Click here to read) and the Russian Rusalka in 1893 (Click here to read). In both cases the inadvisability of taking vessels designed for protected coastal waters into open-sea conditions was a major [...]
The US Navy's Sumatran Expeditions of 1832 & 1838 The US Navy’s role in the suppression of Barbary piracy in the Mediterranean is deservedly well known but few today are aware that in the 1830s two American expeditions were launched against pirates in what is now Indonesia. The scene was to be the then semi-independent [...]
Lonely Lives and Deaths French Prisoners of War in Britain 1793 - 1815 Part 2 The most notable reminder of the Napoleonic-era French prisoners in modern Alresford is to be found in the graveyard of the ancient church of St. John the Baptist (Click here to read Part 1 for context, should you have missed [...]