HMS Proserpine’s agony by ice, 1799

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 of his journey [...]

HMS Proserpine’s agony by ice, 17992023-02-02T18:21:08+00:00

HMS Phaeton and Beaufort’s ruse, 1795

HMS Phaeton’s ruse to escape annihilation: 1795                    Cornwallis The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars saw very large numbers of battles at sea between small numbers of ships, but few in which entire squadrons engaged and yet fewer fleet actions on the scale of the [...]

HMS Phaeton and Beaufort’s ruse, 17952023-01-04T21:19:10+00:00

Imperial Chinese Navy’s doomed “Rendel Cruisers”

A Flawed Concept – The Imperial Chinese Navy's doomed "Rendel Cruisers" In my novel Britannia’s Spartan (click for details), set in 1882, an important role is played by a cruiser of the Imperial Chinese Navy, the Fu Ching. She is the fictional sister of two warships the Yang Wei and the Chao Yung, that [...]

Imperial Chinese Navy’s doomed “Rendel Cruisers”2022-12-16T17:25:41+00:00

Ordeal by Fire – RMS Amazon, 1852

The Loss by Fire of the RMS Amazon, 1852 Ships are still lost at sea in our own time, frequently as a result of regulations and standards being ignored rather than standards being established in the first place to ensure safe operation. When reading of seafaring in the 19th Century, and the vast numbers of maritime [...]

Ordeal by Fire – RMS Amazon, 18522022-10-14T14:56:57+00:00

The wrecking of HMS Sceptre, 1799

The Loss of HMS Sceptre, 1799 When thinking about war at sea in the Age of Fighting Sail one’s attention is immediately drawn to the ferocity of battle when ships engaged at close quarters. In actuality however combat was relatively rare but wreckage in stormy weather remained a constant – and exhausting – hazard at all [...]

The wrecking of HMS Sceptre, 17992022-10-07T18:43:23+00:00

British Spying in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras

Guest Blog: British Spying in the Napoleonic Era Introduction by Antoine Vanner: One of the pleasures for me when I joined the historical novelist community a decade ago, was meeting writers who specialise in periods other than the Late Victorian Era in which my own work is set. One of these is Tom Williams. [...]

British Spying in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras2022-09-30T15:01:08+00:00

Hell and High Water – HMS Nautilus, Part 2

Hell and High Water: HMS Nautilus, 1807 Part 2 At the end of Part 1 of this article (Click here to read it if you missed it) we left Captain Palmer and the remaining survivors of the brig-of-war HMS Nautilus, starving and exposed on a low and storm-lashed rocky islet close to the Greek island of Antikythera. Meanwhile, [...]

Hell and High Water – HMS Nautilus, Part 22022-09-23T19:07:54+00:00

The Battle of Heligoland 1864

War in the North Sea, 1864 – The Battle of Heligoland            Tegetthoff In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries the “K.u.K” – “Imperial and Royal” – Navy was probably the most efficient and well-equipped part of the Austro-Hungarian armed services. Operating out of bases on the Adriatic coast [...]

The Battle of Heligoland 18642022-08-27T06:25:51+00:00

The Chesapeake – HMS Leopard Incident, 1807

The Chesapeake – HMS Leopard Incident, 1807 The three-year “War of 1812“between Britain and the United States, brought no great benefit to either nation. Though the issues involved were complex, one in particular, the British claim of the right to search neutral vessels for deserters from the Royal Navy, had the power to trigger American outrage [...]

The Chesapeake – HMS Leopard Incident, 18072022-08-19T19:07:44+00:00
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