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Spar Torpedoes – weapons for heroes and madmen

Spar Torpedoes – weapons for heroes and madmen The Spar Torpedo – which plays a vital role in my novel Britannia’s Wolf, the account of Nicholas Dawlish’s service in the Ottoman Navy 1877-78 – was a crude weapon, born of necessity and desperation in the American Civil War. Its use demanded a near-kamikaze commitment from [...]

Spar Torpedoes – weapons for heroes and madmen 2018-06-22T20:57:03+00:00

The Shortest War in History: Zanzibar 1896

The Shortest War in History: Zanzibar 1896 The island of Zanzibar, off the coast of modern Tanzania, was to be the scene in 1896 of what has been described as “The Shortest War in History”. It lasted a mere 38 minutes but in this short period it proved to be very bloody indeed. African slaves [...]

The Shortest War in History: Zanzibar 1896 2018-06-15T22:20:13+00:00

The Destruction of HMS Resistance, 1798

The Destruction of HMS Resistance, 1798 When thinking of the two decades of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the hazards that come to mind that faced naval crews are primarily of action with the enemy. Many crews however never experienced combat but the normal hazards of the sea such as storms, grounding, founderings and shipwrecks [...]

The Destruction of HMS Resistance, 1798 2018-06-13T09:57:58+00:00

The Anglo-German Blockade of Venezuela 1902-03

The Anglo-German Blockade of Venezuela 1902-03 I lived for several years in Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second city, which today was a population of 1.3 million. It lies at the western side of the short waterway that leads from Lake Maracaibo – the largest lake in South America – to the Caribbean Sea. It was founded, quite [...]

The Anglo-German Blockade of Venezuela 1902-03 2018-06-13T09:59:48+00:00

Captain Richard Bowen – Part 2 of 3

Captain Richard Bowen, Beau Ideal of a Naval Officer Part 2 of 3 This article continues the story of the splendid Captain Ricard Bowen (1761-1797) which was begun in my blog of 11.05.17 (Click here to read if you missed it then).  He was the epitome of the dashing frigate captain and his exploits as [...]

Captain Richard Bowen – Part 2 of 3 2018-06-13T09:55:09+00:00

The Gold Hunter Mutiny, 1828

Mutiny on the High Seas – the Gold Hunter, 1828 I recently encountered a remarkable account of a mutiny on a commercial vessel in 1828. It appeared in a book published in New York sometime in the late 19th century and magnificently titled “Thrilling Narratives of Mutiny, Murder and Piracy – A Weird Series of [...]

The Gold Hunter Mutiny, 1828 2018-06-12T12:14:15+00:00

Built to be unlucky? The French battleship Suffren

Built to be unlucky? The French battleship Suffren The splendidly-expressive Yiddish word “schlemiel” describes a person who is invariably unlucky and  whose endeavours are doomed to failure – “so inept even inanimate objects pick on them”. One does come across such unfortunate individuals – who are usually likeable – but in reading naval history one [...]

Built to be unlucky? The French battleship Suffren 2018-06-13T10:06:13+00:00

“Snakes and Ladders” – Guest Blog by J.G. Harlond

"Snakes and Ladders" - Guest Blog by J.G. Harlond                                  J.G. Harlond One of the great rewards for me of entering the writing community - an informal entity, rendered global by social media - is coming in contact [...]

“Snakes and Ladders” – Guest Blog by J.G. Harlond 2018-05-22T19:10:17+00:00