A Sultan’s Salvage and Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria and a Sultan’s Salvage It’s hard to imagine a sequence of events that links an Ottoman Sultan, Queen Victoria, the Royal Navy of 1889, an innovative epic of marine salvage and an 1870s warship which served in various capacities until the end of the Second World War. The link is however the [...]

A Sultan’s Salvage and Queen Victoria2023-05-19T18:16:41+00:00

Discipline and heroism in the aftermath of the loss of HMS Alceste

Discipline, heroism and survival: HMS Alceste, 1817 The aftermath of the wreck of the French frigate Medusa in 1816 is widely regarded as one of the most horrible events in maritime history. Abandoned on an overloaded raft by officers and crew, who took to the boats when the vessel grounded off the coast of modern Mauritania, [...]

Discipline and heroism in the aftermath of the loss of HMS Alceste2023-04-17T14:07:16+00:00

Battling the curse of the Riff Pirates 1848-51

Fighting the Riff Pirates 1848-51 The Barbary pirates of North Africa were a scourge to maritime trade for many centuries. It was only in the nineteenth century that major naval and military campaigns – most notably the US Navy’s and Marine Corps’ intervention on “the Shores of Tripoli”, the Anglo-Dutch action against Algiers in [...]

Battling the curse of the Riff Pirates 1848-512023-04-10T09:39:29+00:00

1779 – Frigate Action HMS Quebec vs. Surveillante

HMS Quebec vs. Surveillante – 1779 Perhaps the most ferocious frigate action ever? Single ship actions, usually between frigates, are remembered as some of the most dramatic actions of the Age of Fighting Sail. They captured the imagination of the public in their own time, making heroes of captains like Pellew and Cochrane, who [...]

1779 – Frigate Action HMS Quebec vs. Surveillante2023-04-04T08:46:22+00:00

How do you make a monster gun disappear?

How do you make a monster gun disappear? In the second half of the 19th Century advances in metallurgy allowed an unprecedented increase in the size and weight of artillery pieces for applications in which mobility by land was not a concern. This applied to weapons mounted either in fixed fortifications, or on ships. The [...]

How do you make a monster gun disappear?2023-03-24T12:08:35+00:00

Surviving HMS Namur’s sinking, 1749

A survivor’s account – the loss of HMS Namur, 1749 Two conflicts – the War of Jenkin’s Ear and the War of Austrian Succession – merged into one and lasted from 1739 to 1749. The various international alliances involved were complex, but for Britain the main enemies were to be – as usual! – France and [...]

Surviving HMS Namur’s sinking, 17492023-03-17T21:07:27+00:00

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 2

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 2 (Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it previously) With a major portion of his crew and passengers having reached safety in Cuxhaven – albeit at the cost of a fearful trek across fissured ice – Captain Wallis remained on Neuwerk Island in the Elbe [...]

Agony by ice: HMS Proserpine, 1799 Part 22023-03-03T18:15:01+00:00

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
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