The loss of the liner La Bourgogne, 1898 The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 remains locked in the public imagination as the supreme tragedy of North Atlantic passenger travel, all the more so since elementary safety precautions could have saved many more lives, even if they could not save the ship. What is however quite horrifying is [...]
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So far Antoine Vanner has created 274 blog entries.
HMS Guardian 1789 – an epic battle for survival Some while ago I discovered the wonderful 1895 publication “Story of the Sea”, edited by “Q” (Sir Arthur Quiller Couch 1863-1944), with contributions from several luminaries of the era and splendid illustrations. It dates from the period in which the British general public’s fascination with [...]
Hell at Sea: Merchant Service in the mid-19th Century It is impossible to see images of the great clippers and other large vessels under sail in the mid to late 19th Century, a time when hull design and the technologies and disciplines of managing sail reached their apogee, without being fired with admiration. The [...]
Guest Blog by Bob Cordery: Making the best of what you have: Germany’s Kriegsmarine and some of the warships it captured Introduction by Antoine Vanner: A few weeks ago, I posted a blog article about the varied career of the late 19th-Century Dutch protected cruiser Gelderland. (Click here to read it if you missed [...]
Capturing a Slaver—1845 Classic Pantaloon In an earlier blog (Click here to read it if you missed it previously) I outlined the duties – and the attendant hazards – of the Royal Navy’s Anti-Slavery Squadron off the West African coast in the era 1815 [...]
1916 Illustrated – a German Perspective 1916 was to be a momentous year in WW1, notable for the battles of Verdun, the Somme and Jutland, of the siege of Kut, of the Brusilov Offensive and of the smashing of Rumania, I found it interesting to see how it was viewed from a German perspective. [...]
THE EPIC OF THE SCHOONER BETSEY, 1805 I recently came across a book – undated, but clearly late 19th Century – entitled “Thrilling Narratives of Mutiny, Murder and Piracy”. It was published in New York, though the author is not named. It is however a treasure house of accounts of obscure maritime events. One [...]
The Royal Navy’s Pre-Dreadnoughts' Sacrifice HMS Dreadnought - the Game Changer. Ten 12-inch guns and turbine driven The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1905 made all other battleships afloat into “Pre-Dreadnoughts” overnight, incapable of fighting in the battle line with the new “all big-gun” battleship and her successors. In the Royal Navy, pre-dreadnought designs [...]
The Royal Navy's Capture of Curaçao 1807 Lying some 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast, the Caribbean island of Curaçao is today a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was first colonised by the Dutch in the mid-17th Century and was to have major strategic importance thereafter since it contains [...]
The varied career of the Dutch Protected Cruiser Gelderland My wife’s grandmother, a splendid lady who died at almost 100 in the 1980s, gave me a very graphic eye-witness account of actually seeing the ex-president of the Transvaal, Paul Kruger. He was then being applauded by a crowd while taking a carriage ride in Amsterdam [...]