Ramming of HMS Prince George 1903

The Ramming of HMS Prince George by HMS Hannibal, 1903 For some five decades from 1866, when the naval battle of Lissa, when victory was secured by the Austro-Hungarian fleet over its Italian enemy by means of ramming, naval architects were to be fixated on designing ram bows into warships of all sizes. They ignored the fact that [...]

Ramming of HMS Prince George 19032024-07-05T17:26:38+00:00

Life at sea in the Royal Navy, 1860s

Life at sea in the Royal Navy, late 1860s               Scott, 1903 I’ve recently been dipping again into the memoirs of Admiral Sir Percy Scott (1853 -1924), one of the key figures in the modernisation of the Royal Navy in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Scott transformed the [...]

Life at sea in the Royal Navy, 1860s2024-06-14T14:14:11+00:00

London’s Princess Alice Disaster of 1878

The Princess Alice Disaster, 1878 Though it is now largely forgotten, one of  Britain’s worst maritime catastrophes occurred  on the River Thames in 1878 , just downriver from London when the excursion steamer Princess Alice was sunk in a collision. It is strange that some disasters, such as the loss of the Titanic in 1912, live on in the popular memory [...]

London’s Princess Alice Disaster of 18782024-06-06T19:46:10+00:00

Pellew and the Dutton – rescue despite the odds

Pellew and the Dutton - rescue despite the odds            Edward Pellew We’ve met Edward Pellew (1757 – 1833) on this blog before  (Click here to read) and it’s probable that we’ll meet him again as he ranks just  below Nelson, and certainly with Cochrane, as one of the Royal [...]

Pellew and the Dutton – rescue despite the odds2024-05-30T18:54:12+00:00

Merchant Service Hell in the mid-19th Century

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 [...]

Merchant Service Hell in the mid-19th Century2024-05-30T18:25:06+00:00

HMS Thunderer 1879: death knell muzzle-loaders

HMS Thunderer 1879: the end of muzzle-loaders in the Royal Navy Three ships of the Royal Navy in the 1870s, HMS Devastation, her close sister HMS Thunderer and her slightly larger sister HMS Dreadnought, can be fairly regarded as the models for subsequent mainstream battleship layout and development. HMS Devastation, HMS Thunderer’s close sister, firing a salute These ships were the first mastless battleships, armed with [...]

HMS Thunderer 1879: death knell muzzle-loaders2024-05-02T16:56:38+00:00

Fireship attack: HMS Dart & Désirée, 1800

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 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 at anchor off Gravelines [...]

Fireship attack: HMS Dart & Désirée, 18002024-04-04T15:31:56+00:00

HMS Flora 1780: the Carronade arrives

HMS Flora 1780: the Carronade’s arrival In sea battles from the 1780s to the end of the Napoleonic Wars a decisive factor was often the use of the carronade. Few of these guns were carried on any one ship, and they were not counted in a ship’s rated number of guns so that, in practice, the [...]

HMS Flora 1780: the Carronade arrives2024-03-20T15:58:28+00:00

Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 1811

Three Sisters Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 1811  Throughout the Age of Fighting Sail merchant shipping – from small coastal craft to large vessels engaged in interoceanic trade – were at the mercy of privateers. These were privately owned vessels issued with “letters of marque” that authorised them to attack and capture enemy shipping. If captured they [...]

Merchantman vs. a French Privateer, 18112024-03-14T17:19:24+00:00
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