Last Fireship Attack? HMS Dart & Désirée 1800

The Last Fireship Attack? HMS Dart & Désirée, 1800 For many centuries fireships were to be some of the most dramatic and devastating of all naval weapons, albeit that they were difficult to deploy and dangerous to their crews. The most effective and history-changing use ever of such ships was when they were used to attack the Spanish Armada [...]

Last Fireship Attack? HMS Dart & Désirée 18002019-04-19T19:39:11+00:00

The Two Tragedies of the SS Orteric

The Two Tragedies of the SS Orteric The 9th of December 2015 was  the 100th anniversary of the torpedoing in the Eastern Mediterranean  of the SS Orteric. This 6,535-ton, 460-feet cargo and passenger liner was a relatively new ship, built in Scotland and entering service in 1911.  At the time of her loss to a [...]

The Two Tragedies of the SS Orteric2019-04-09T20:23:42+00:00

HMS Southampton off Toulon 1796

“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 [...]

HMS Southampton off Toulon 17962019-04-02T18:45:48+00:00

SS Chimborazo, 1880

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 [...]

SS Chimborazo, 18802019-03-29T22:31:36+00:00

The Wooden Derelict – a Menace of the Age of Sail

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 Wooden Derelict – a Menace of the Age of Sail2019-03-26T20:11:43+00:00

HMS Swallow and Mrs. Phelan, 1812

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 [...]

HMS Swallow and Mrs. Phelan, 18122019-03-22T20:56:39+00:00

HMHS Anglia loss, November 1915

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 [...]

HMHS Anglia loss, November 19152019-03-19T20:38:31+00:00

Nelson and Hardy – the forging of a partnership

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 [...]

Nelson and Hardy – the forging of a partnership2019-03-15T21:01:46+00:00