The sinking of the slave ship Phoenix, 1762 The horror of the Atlantic slave trade is well exemplified by the loss of the slave ship Phoenix in 1762 and the appalling sufferings endured by its human cargo before she finally disappeared. One well-known image above all symbolises the evil of the trade. Some two and [...]
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So far Antoine Vanner has created 178 blog entries.
“Bring me out the enemy’s ship if you can…” HMS Southampton off Toulon, 1796 Close blockade of the coasts of French-occupied countries in the Napoleonic era was the most important weapon in Britain’s armoury. It may indeed also have been the single most important factor in securing Napoleon’s ultimate defeat. He all but acknowledged this by [...]
The Survival of the SS Chimborazo, 1880 The second half of the nineteenth century saw steam power at sea come to maturity and, in combination with the linking of continents by submarine telegraph cables, underlie creation of a trading system of unprecedented global reach. Steam power allowed not only fast and cheap transportation of people [...]
The Wooden Derelict – a Menace of the Age of Sail When thinking oneself back into the Age of Mercantile Sail – which lasted up to WW2 – it is hard to imagine just what a menace was represented by a derelict – ships abandoned by their crews but still afloat. The most serious class [...]
The Human Price: Mrs. Phelan on HMS Swallow, 1812 The inshore-operations of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars were characterised by aggressive daring and were critical in hampering – and often paralysing – the coastal traffic of every maritime nation controlled or occupied by the French. As such they are the inspiration of so much [...]
The Loss of Hospital Ship HMHS Anglia, November 1915 It was very noticeable in 2014/15 that though commemoration of the First World War opened with a fanfare – and in Britain at least focussed on the Western Front almost to the exclusion of all else – its profile in the media dwindled steadily thereafter. Throughout those months [...]
Nelson and Hardy – forging a partnership We have encountered HMS Blanche before, in her furious duel in January 1795, in the middle years of the Revolutionary War between Britain and France. In the process she captured the French frigate Pique, off Guadeloupe (Click here to read this earlier blog). Blanche, a 32-gun frigate, had still four years of life [...]
The Original Nelson’s Column Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square has been a landmark in London since it was completed in 1843. It is just under 170 feet tall (including the statue of Nelson himself at the top) and the four sides of the pedestal carry relief panels that commemorate Nelson’s four great fleet actions – [...]
The ramming of HMS Vanguard, 1875 Vanguard is a name that has been used by no less than eleven ships of the Royal Navy. The first entered service in 1586 and the most recent, still serving, is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that gives her name to a class of four. The name is also associated with [...]
The Loss of the East Indiaman Kent, 1825, and its immortalisation in verse Ship losses at sea, though still at an unacceptably high level today, were even more frequent in the days before radio, radar, echo-sounders and others aids to navigation. Loss of life in such incidents was very high, since before the advent of air [...]