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SS Royal Edward and UB-14, 1915

Massacre at Sea: the Royal Edward and  UB-14, 1915 In both World Wars the greatest danger many troops faced, especially if they were in support or non-frontline roles, may well have been that of sinking of their transports. It is a tribute to the efficacy of convoy and escort provisions that in practice only few of the millions of [...]

SS Royal Edward and UB-14, 19152019-05-28T19:55:36+00:00

HMS Implacable at war with Russia – 1808 & 1809

HMS Implacable at war with Russia – 1808 & 1809  Two events dominate the general impression of Russia’s role in the Napoleonic Wars. The first is the crushing defeat of Russian and Austrian forces at Austerlitz in 1805 – arguably Napoleon’s most impressive battle. The second was the French retreat from Moscow in late 1812, [...]

HMS Implacable at war with Russia – 1808 & 18092019-05-24T20:12:09+00:00

HMS Hector 1782

HMS Hector 1782 – an epic of leadership and survival Inman in later years In a recent blog we met Captain Henry Inman (1762 –1809), a noted frigate commander who was in overall command of operations off Dunkirk in 1800 in which the French frigate Désirée was captured in dramatic circumstances. (Click here [...]

HMS Hector 17822019-05-17T20:25:22+00:00

Passing by on the other side at sea? 1876

Passing by on the other side at sea? 1876 The Good Samaritan has had a deservedly good image over the last two millennia. An equally well-deserved degree of obloquy has been heaped on two others who had previously seen the unfortunate traveller who had fallen among thieves but who “passed by on the other side” without helping. [...]

Passing by on the other side at sea? 18762019-05-14T20:03:59+00:00

HMS Natal and the SS Persia – December 1915

The HMS Natal and SS Persia tragedies Christmas to New Year at Sea - 1915 It was remarkable how little attention has been paid in the media, in popular memory or in large-scale centenary-commemorations to the events of World War 1 at sea, other than the Battle of Jutland.  And yet, throughout the war, a [...]

HMS Natal and the SS Persia – December 19152019-05-10T20:56:23+00:00

HMS Thunderer 1879 – the end of 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 [...]

HMS Thunderer 1879 – the end of muzzle-loaders2019-05-07T19:53:10+00:00

SS Great Britain – first ocean liner

Visiting the restored SS Great Britain, the first ocean liner I recently visited the restored SS Great Britain, laid down in 1839 and launched in 1843, the brainchild of the great British engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. She is today located in Bristol, England, and is a splendid memorial to a heroic era in engineering and [...]

SS Great Britain – first ocean liner2019-07-15T13:50:39+00:00

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 18002019-04-22T11:12:59+00:00