Author Results for

Book Review – ‘The Seasick Admiral: Nelson and the health of the navy’ by Brian Vale

By Brian Vale

As suggested by the title, this latest book by Kevin Brown, the curator of the Alexander Fleming Museum at St. Mary’s Hospital, describes Nelson’s almost continuous poor health, his numerous wounds including his ophthalmic problems, his death at Trafalgar, his burial and subsequent ‘apotheosis’. The author explains in detail the admiral’s attitude to the health […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review -‘Navigational Enterprises in Europe and its Empires, 1730–1850’ by M. K. Barritt

By M. K. Barritt

The chapters in this important addition to the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series are derived from papers delivered at a sequence of conferences inspired by the Board of Longitude project of the University of Cambridge and the National Maritime Museum. The editors declare an aim of giving depth to the British story by describing […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Ocean is a Wilderness: Atlantic piracy and the limits of state authority, 1688–1856’ by Jason Daniel

By Jason Daniel

In The Ocean is a Wilderness, Guy Chet asks why many historians of Atlantic pirates accept that the rampant piracy following the War of Spanish Succession (1701–14) precipitously declined in the 1720s under assault from the Royal Navy. Chet challenges this traditional interpretation of a world increasingly hostile to seaborne thieves with two essential arguments concerning […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Captain Cook’s Merchant Ships: ‘Freelove’, ‘Three Brothers’, ‘Mary’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Endeavour’, ‘Adventure’, ‘Resolution’ and ‘Discovery’ by Janet MacDonald

By Janet MacDonald

This book tells the story of Captain James Cook’s merchant ships: the four in which he learned his job as a merchant sailor (Freelove, Friendship, Three Brothers, and Mary) and the four which he took to the Pacific on his voyages of discovery (Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure and Discovery). There have been many books about Cook, mainly covering his life […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Trade, Circulation, and Flow in the Indian Ocean World’ by Markus Vink

By Markus Vink

Preceded by an introduction from the editor, and historian of Indian Ocean studies, Michael Pearson, the majority of the eight inter-disciplinary essays in this volume are revised versions of contributions to the conference ‘Dimensions of the Indian World Past’ held in Fremantle, Western Australia, in November 2012. We are promised unity in diversity: though ‘ostensibly […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Logistics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571–1644: Local comparisons and global connections’ by Derek Massarella

By Derek Massarella

This book, a PhD thesis revised for publication, champions the currently fashionable analytical framework of ‘connected histories’. The author analyses ‘the Manila System’, which she describes as ‘characterised by multi-layered connections based on negotiations, a complex market torn between protectionism and free trade, triangular circulations and bi- or multilateral communication involving different parties of the […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Law, Labour, and Empire: Comparative perspectives on Seafarers, c. 1500–1800’ by Janice Gooch

By Janice Gooch

This book is the result of a conference entitled ‘Working lives between the deck and the dock’ which had the primary goal of investigating the legal and economic status of seafarers in the Mediterranean during the ‘long’ seventeenth century (1570–1730). The book covers the same period, but expands the work to look globally. The preface […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘Chokepoints: Movement, mobility, regulation and the Suez and Panama Canals in global history’ by Christoph Laucht

By Christoph Laucht

After their opening in 1869 and 1914 respectively, the Suez and Panama canals have functioned as ‘essential instruments of world unity’, as the French geographer André Siegfried argued in his comparative study of the two inter-oceanic waterways Suez and Panama (1940). For Siegfried, ‘[t]his unity was the magnificent achievement of the nineteenth century’. Following in particular the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Logistics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review- ‘Small Boats and Daring Men: Maritime raiding, irregular warfare, and the early American navy (campaigns and commanders)’ by B. Armstrong

By Michael Hardman

This textbook covers the much neglected area of irregular warfare in the United States Navy from the early colonial times to the end of the age of sail. The author from the outset rejects the encyclopaedic approach or any attempt to completely cover in detail all the developments in this period and instead adopts a […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review- ‘The European Seaborne Empires: From the Thirty Year’s War to the Age of Revolutions’ by G. Pacquett

By Lambert, Andrew

While the title is a deliberate homage to well- known works by Charles Boxer and John Parry on the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish seaborne empires from the late 1960s, Gabriel Pacquette has reworked the concept to address concerns that have emerged over the past 50 years, not least slavery, forced migration, the role of the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review- ‘Een zee van traan: vier eeuwen Nederlandse walvisvaart 1612–1964 by J. R. Bruijn and L. Hacquebord

By Dreijer, Gijs

aap Bruijn and Louwrens Hacquebord, two emeritus professors in history and geography, have co-operated to write this general overview of whaling and the whale trade in the Netherlands between 1612 and 1964. Since most works on the subject have focused on specific periods in history, such a general overview is both necessary and long overdue. […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review -‘Pirates: A new history, from Vikings to Somali raiders’ by P. Lehr

By Powell, Nush

Peter Lehr has put together an unusually inclusive account of pirates past and present, a useful volume that acquaints the reader with the basic elements of piracy across the globe and historical eras, from buccaneers to Barbary to Balangingi. We find time to learn of monks (yes, plural) who became pirates, and of the differences […] Read More

Filed under: Pirates
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘High Seas Buffer: The Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950–1979’ by Bruce A. Elleman

By James Goldrick

This study casts light on a significant and long standing naval commitment by the United States to ensure the survival of Taiwan as a political entity separate from mainland China. The presence and occasional interventions of USN units, as well as the training that they provided to the Nationalist Chinese Navy – and the reassurance […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard | Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘Vickers’ Master Shipbuilder Sir Leonard Redshaw’ by Leslie M. Shaw

By David Andrews

This is a very handsomely produced and comprehensive biography of one of the great and last British shipbuilders, Sir (Len) Leonard Redshaw. A truly outstanding Barrovian, he was devoted to his industry and the Barrow Shipbuilding Works in particular. His life at Barrow encompassed the pre-war build up, the postwar success of Barrow shipbuilding, (where […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review – ‘SS United States’ by Andrew Britton

By Michael Harrison

This slim volume, part of the paperback ‘Classic Liners’ series offered by the History Press, presents a brief illustrated history of the 1952 American passenger liner United States. It begins with the author’s personal story of family connections to British passenger shipping and a childhood spent in Southampton. A perfunctory introduction then sketches the history of […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘The Churchill Scheme: The Royal Navy Special Entry Cadet Scheme, 1913–1955’ by John S. Beattie

By Alston Kennerley

It has long been recognized that entry into the adult world of work demands some form of preparation and introduction relating to the industry or occupation under consideration, and perhaps specific to a projected status. Preparation might range from a tour of premises followed by on-the-job training understudying someone having the right experience, to structured […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Book Review – ‘Joe Rochefort’s War: The odyssey of the codebreaker who outwitted Yamamoto at Midway’ by Elliot Carlson

By Eric Grove

The large number of people who have seen the feature film ‘Battle of Midway’ will no doubt remember the rather eccentric US Naval intelligence chief at Hawaii, Joe Rochefort. Clearly an eccentric, but having the trust of the US naval command, he was able to say where the Japanese attack would fall. This laid the […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887–1918’ by Shawn T. Grimes

By Jerker Widen

The decades preceding the First World War may be considered a golden age of naval strategic thinking. During this time, the American Alfred Thayer Mahan produced his widely acclaimed The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660–1783 (1890), which brought sea power to the centre stage in political circles all around the Western world. In Britain, the […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘A Dog Before A Soldier: Almost-lost episodes in the US Navy’s Civil War’ by Chuck Veit

By Howard Fuller

Although the tales here are old, there are several elements to this curious, enjoyable little work that are actually quite new. For one, it is selfpublished (through lulu.com – a website.) The author is also a Civil War re-enactor—but proudly the founder of the US Naval Landing Party, ‘one of the few living history groups […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘To Auckland by the Ganges: The journal of a sea voyage to New Zealand in 1863’ by Robert M. Grogans

By Steve Mullins

Migration is an epic theme in the history of the British Empire, and has left in its considerable wake an extensive literature exploring the experiences of migrants to the Australasian colonies. The best books, among them Don Charwood’s wide-angled The Long Farewell (1981), Helen Woolcock’s Rights of Passage (1986), Jan Gothard’s Blue China (2001) and Robin Haines’s Life and Death in the […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853–56, 2nd edn’ by Andrew Lambert

By Candan Badem

Professor Lambert’s book on British strategy in the Crimean War, since its first edition in 1990, has been a most welcome contribution to the literature on the subject. While the literature is really huge, the book is very distinct from the rest by its theoretical approach and geographical focus. The new edition comes with a […] Read More

Filed under: Crimean War | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Mit Kurs auf Charleston, S.C.: Kapitän Heinrich Wieting und die deutsche Auswanderung nach South Carolina im 19. Jahrhundert’ by Andrea Mehrländer

By Michael Leek

There is an apparent tendency or trend for some national museums to focus less on their role as centres for the understanding of history, culture and knowledge, but increasingly on catering for generations with limited attention spans. This is often reflected in what is sold through museum shops, with the lowest common denominator prevailing; an […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Black Salt: Seafarers of African descent on British ships’ by Ray Costello

By John McAleer

Black Salt is an ambitious project: its objective is to document the history of seafarers of African descent over several centuries, by examining their work and experience in a range of different maritime contexts. As befits such a sweeping subject, the lives and stories that Ray Costello has used to construct his narrative are drawn […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Lords of the Sea: A history of the Barbary Corsairs’ by Alan G. Jamieson

By H. J. K. Jenkins

Jamieson subtitles his introduction ‘The Barbary Legend’: that term is appropriate. The subject matter involves a period of several centuries and, in terms of narrative, the theme is both colourful and full of adventure. However, the story of the Barbary Corsairs tells of deeper matters: protracted politico-religious struggle on the grand scale, complete with a […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Pirates | Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘British Naval Captains of the Seven Years’ War: The view from the quarterdeck’ by A. B. McLeod

By Richard Harding

For any aspirant officer entering the Royal Navy in the mid-eighteenth century command of his own ship provided a vision of a future wealth, or at the very least the promise of an honourable and secure retirement. The key to this was to achieve post rank – the command of a Sixth Rate 20-gun ship […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review – ‘Swedish Naval Administration 1521–1721: Resource Flows and Organisational Capabilities’ by Jan Glete

By Martin Bellamy

With Jan Glete’s passing, maritime history lost one of its great original thinkers. This is his last book in which he presents the results of a lifetime’s study of the Swedish navy. Readers of his previous books, notably Navies and Nations (1993), Warfare at Sea (2000) and War and the State in Early Modern Europe (2002) will be […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review – ‘Nicolaes Witsen and Shipbuilding in the Dutch Golden Age’ by A. J. Hoving

By Fred Hocker

Among the major works published on shipbuilding before 1800, Nicolaes Witsen’s Aeloude en Hedendaegsche Scheeps-bouw en Bestier (The construction and management of ancient and modern ships) is nearly unique. Unlike more or less all of the others, it does not presume any prior knowledge of shipbuilding or design and so provides a detailed description of the […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Invading America: The English Assault on the New World 1497–1630’ by David Childs

By Peter C. Mancall

Once upon a time, historians who wrote about the arrival of the English in North America depicted a dramatic and positive moment for the Anglophone world. They described hardy souls clambering on to transAtlantic vessels, individuals who struggled against long odds but managed to persevere. Their diligence paid enormous dividends: these folks established colonies that […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘The Channel Islands 1370–1640: Between England and Normandy’ by Tim Thornton

By Wendy R. Childs

As Professor Thornton makes clear in his introduction, this is not a maritime history of the Channel Islands. It is essentially a study of the administrative and religious relationship of the Islands with the Crown of England and of their links with Normandy, which continued into the early modern period. There is only occasional reference […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Inside the Illicit Economy: Reconstructing the smugglers’ trade of sixteenth century Bristol’ by Evan T. Jones

By Claire Jowitt

As a literary critic and cultural historian, rather than an economic historian, and as a reader that likes to be told stories, especially ripping good yarns, I approached reviewing Evan Jones’ detailed account of the ‘business’ of smuggling in sixteenth-century Bristol with some trepidation. Inside the Illicit Economy is not a ‘romantic’ account of smuggling, but […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | English Channel | Early Modern | Irish Sea | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe’ by Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt(eds)

By Eva Johanna Holmberg

It can sometimes be a daunting task to review books written and edited by friends. In the case of the article collection, Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe, published in the Hakluyt Society Extra Series by Ashgate, I feel that I am, however, a suitable personforthis task. It is based on papers presented […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The Maritime Landscape of Roman Britain: Water transport on the coasts and rivers of Britannia’ by James Ellis Jones

By Jorit Wintjes

Water transport was an important part both of Roman army logistics and of the civil economy of Roman Britain. Given that Britain was an island, and one not only with many accessible shore areas, but also with rivers allowing access far inland, this appears to be rather self-evident. Yet even so, water transport has not […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | English Channel | Irish Sea | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘Navigation et géographie dans l’antiquité greco-romaine’ by Jean-Marie Kowalski

By Anthony Jones Papalas

Kowalski begins by discussing how the Greeks imagined the sea. It was the realm of pirates; it separated lovers, and nurtured shady merchants. Plato compared the Greeks to frogs never far from water and lamented the sea’s corrupting influence on Greek civilization. But Kowalski’s main purpose is to analyse the works of the Greek geographers […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘Nautical Chic’ by Melanie Vandenbrouck

By Melanie Vandenbrouck

Nautical Chic charts the sea’s complex relationship with fashion, from the birth of naval uniforms in the eighteenth century to the catwalks of the twenty-first century. In doing so, it debunks some nautical myths while throwing surprising light onto others. Dress arguably contributes to defining one’s identity and place in society, and the book’s chapters are […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Art as a Tool in Support of the Understanding of Coastal Change in Wales’ by Peter Wakelin

By Peter Wakelin

The evidential use of historical images is the subject of this report, written by a geologist and an engineer interested in their applications to assess coastal change prior to scientific coastal monitoring. Formerly a coastal manager on the Isle of Wight, Robin McInnes has been commissioned by the Crown Estate to write a series of […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea
Subjects include: Archaeology | Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘ Cargomobilities: Moving materials in a global age’ by Kimberley Peters

By Kimberley Peters

Cargomobilities sheds light on the ‘forgotten’ spaces of logistics (p. 6), and the vital intersections between people, goods, and transport, in a volatile physical and political world. The book, situated within what is called the ‘new mobilities paradigm’, draws attention to the processes of power enmeshed with logistics flows. Here logistical movement is understood as more […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

Seaforth and Norman Friedman have together once more produced a highly significant contribution to the technical history of twentieth-century naval warfare. This book complements Friedman’s study of surface gunnery with an analysis of anti-aircraft gunnery and its related fire control systems. As usual, the study is a comprehensive account of how technology related to policy […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Navies | Weapons

Book Review – ‘The U.S. Naval Institute on Naval Command’ by Harold N. Boyer

By Harold N. Boyer

The US Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military Commands and Associated Terms defines command as ‘the authority that a commander in the armed forces lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment’. In this anthology of articles on command and leadership, Thomas J. Cutler, Director of Publishing at the US Naval Institute and Fleet Professor […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Mobilities of Ships’ by Steven Gray

By Steven Gray

This new edited collection, published by Routledge, is in fact a revised version of a special issue of Mobilities, an interdisciplinary journal. The journal is described as aiming to explore ‘the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital, and information across the world, as well as more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public and private […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff’ by Fred M. Walker

By Fred M. Walker

In the past 40 years, the business of Harland and Wolff has gone through traumatic times, and sadly, its shipbuilding days now are at an end. This period witnessed great changes in production methods, massive government intervention coupled with revised management structures and systems. Irrespective of the negative outcome, this complex story has to be […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Frank Henry Mason: Marine painter and poster artist’ by Pieter van der Merwe

By Pieter van de Merwe

This small hardback monograph updates and expands a 47-page booklet by the same author, published by Hartlepool Museum in 1996, and accompanying a local exhibitions on Mason who was born at nearby Seaton Carew in 1875 (a date confirmed here, rather than 1876). It is published to coincide with two other retrospectives this year, one […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review – ‘Battle of Dogger Bank: The first Dreadnought engagement, January 1915’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

Dogger Bank was the first engagement between capital ships of the Dreadnought generation. It was fought in the North Sea in January 1915, between Rear-Admiral Hipper’s Erste Auklarungsabteilung and Vice Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet, both the vanguards of their respective battle fleets. The Germans were out to deal with North Sea trawlermen whom they […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Before Jutland: The naval war in northern European waters, August 1914–February 1915’ by Jorit Wintjes

By Jorit Wintjes

The war at sea in northern waters in the First World War is often associated with the battle of Jutland. This focus on the only large-scale engagement of the dreadnought era often reduces the naval history of the war before that event to being a mere prelude to it. While this concentration on the battle […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘RMS ‘Empress of Ireland’: Pride of the Canadian Pacific’s Atlantic Fleet’ by Michael R. Harrison

By Michael R. Harrison

The transatlantic liner Empress of Ireland is generally remembered for sinking in the early morning of 29 May 1914 after a collision with the Norwegian collier Storstad in the St Lawrence River. In a quarter of an hour, 1,012 passengers and crew died, mere hours after departing Quebec for Liverpool. Derek Grout’s short book, published to coincide with the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Technikgeschichte des industriellen Schiffbaus in Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhunder: Handelsschiffstypen und ihr Entwurf – Yachten und Sportboote’ by Henning Kuhlmann

By Henning Kuhlmann

Finally, in 2014, the time had come: those who had been waiting for the third and final volume of Technikgeschichte des industriellen Schiffbaus in Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert were at long last satisfied. Initially, it had been hoped to have this edition in three volumes completed in time for the centenary of the Schiffsbautechnische Gesellschaft […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Empire, Technology and Seapower: Royal Navy crisis in the age of Palmerston’ by Miles Taylor

By Miles Taylor

This study is in some respects a prequel to the author’s 2007 monograph on ironclad technology and Anglo-American sabre-rattling during the Civil War era. This time the canvas is broader, taking in the Crimean War, the arms race with France and the early stages of the American conflict. As with his earlier work, Fuller successfully […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘War in the Chesapeake: The British campaigns to control the bay, 1813–1814’ by Richard Hall

By Richard Hall

The term ‘forgotten war’ is one normally associated with the Korean Conflict of 1950–3. Yet such a term can also be applied to perhaps one of the most contemporarily traumatic, but now overlooked, wars of the early nineteenth century: the so-called War of 1812. It was once said by Francis Parkman that ‘great events obscure […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Histoire de la Marine du Consulat et de l’Empire (1799–1815)’ by Patrice Decencière

By Patrice Decencière

Much has been written about the Royal Navy of the Napoleonic wars but, surprisingly, few books have been published about its main opponent, the French Republican, then Imperial Navy, and most of these have focused only on the war at sea. Pierre Levêque, author of a masterly social study on naval officers of the French […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Britain Against Napoleon: The organisation of victory, 1793–1815’ by Leighton James

By Leighton James

Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at that climactic battle at Waterloo signified the end of the Anglo-French hostilities which lasted, with two brief pauses, for 22 years. In the aftermath of the battle Waterloo was hailed in Britain as a turning point in history. Victory was used to consolidate a sense of British identity in the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Dutch Warships in the Age of Sail 1600–1714: Design, construction, careers and fates’ by Ron Brand

By Ron Brand

In 1993 Jaap Bruijn, a Dutch professor (now emeritus) of maritime history, wrote The Dutch Navy of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, published by the University of South Carolina Press. Bruijn wrote the book because he strongly felt the need for such a study in the college’s maritime history collection in Leiden, where he taught for […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Pirate Nation: Elizabeth I and her royal sea rovers’ by Kathrin Zickermann

By Kathrin Zickermann

In his book Pirate Nation, David Childs takes a close look at the involvement of Queen Elizabeth, her Privy Council, the High Court of Admiralty and local magistrates in English piratical activities. According to Childs, the English monarch saw acts of state-sponsored piracy – mainly directed against Spain and Portugal – as one of few options […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | English Channel | Pirates
Subjects include: Biography | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘The Rise and Fall of British Shipbuilding’ by Fred. M. Walker

By Fred M Walker

In just over 100,000 words, this volume purports to describe the thousand-year history of shipbuilding on our islands, to ascribe reasons for the climb to international leadership at the beginning of the twentieth century and then explain the near extinction of the industry a mere eighty years later. This is an ambitious objective for any […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

‘Book Review – ‘The Maritime History of Cornwall’ by David Jenkins

By David Jenkins

There are some books which are a delight to hold, and to behold, even before one delves into their pages – and this is one of them. A pleasingly chunky volume, the front of the dust jacket features Joseph Southall’s The Three Masted Schooner, his limpid and evocative 1919 marine landscape of a sailing vessel at […] Read More

Filed under: Location | Atlantic | Tudors | Prehistory | English Civil War | English Channel
Subjects include: Archaeology | Miscellaneous | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘One Firm Anchor: The Church and the merchant seafarer, an introductory history’ by R. W. H. Miller

By Roald Kverndal

This book integrates the fruit of lifelong research into the history of relations between the Christian church and the merchant seafarer. The author, who was earlier affiliated with the Church of England and in the 1960s served in the Missions to Seamen, is now a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He has chosen to […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Type VII: Germany’s Most Successful U-boats’ by Marek Krzystalowicz

By David Bowen

This book tells us the story of the Type VII U-boat and covers its genesis, characteristics, development, construction and some of its operation. The 1930s saw the rebirth of the German submarine service under Dönitz who formulated the tactic of the ‘wolf pack’ – the concerted attack by U-boats upon merchant shipping – in order […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Submarines

Book Review – ‘Oceania Under Steam: Sea transport and the cultures of colonialism c. 1870–1914’ by Frances Steel

By Steven Gray

Frances Steel’s study of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand (USSCo.) at the height of the age of steam is a worthy addition to the ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series. It represents an impressive and pioneering attempt to fill several gaps in our understanding of the British Pacific World between the late nineteenth century and […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Cornish Wrecking 1700–1860: Reality and popular myth’ by Cathryn Pearce

By Philip Payton

In recent years the ranks of maritime historians have been swollen by a new generation of scholars anxious to expand the discipline’s purview by moving beyond traditional areas such as trade, shipbuilding and technical development, to embrace innovative aspects of social, cultural, literary and even legal history. Foremost among these academics is Pearce, whose recent Cornish […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Zeit auf See: Chronometer und ihre Schöpfer, High-Tech aus drei Jahrhunderten’ by Albrecht Sauer (translated by Paul McColgan)

By Frank Scott

This book was published to accompany an exhibition in the excellent Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven, and judging from the contents it is one that I am very sorry to have missed. Undoubtedly its main value lies in its numerous high-quality illustrations, which are fascinating as they cover not merely completed chronometers, but all the parts involved, […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘Dutch Sources on South Asia c. 1660–1825, vol. 4, Mission to Madurai: Dutch embassies to the Nayaka court of Madurai in the seventeenth century’ by Markus Vink

By Anjana Singh

The volume reviewed is part of a series on Dutch sources on South Asia which originally began in 2001 as a bibliography and guide to all Dutchlanguage materials on the subject that are available in the National Archives at The Hague. The series editors and contributors hold the noble aim of making it possible for […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Indian Ocean | Pacific | East India Company
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I’ by C. S. Knighton and David Loades (eds)

By Tim Runyan

This volume continues the rich tradition of the Navy Records Society in making available printed primary source material on significant topics. Editors Knighton and Loades have brought together an exemplary body of material that reveals the inner working of the navies of Edward VI and Mary I. Of particular note is the inclusion in this […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Early Modern
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review – ‘Ships on Maps: Pictures of power in Renaissance Europe’ by Richard W. Unger

By Zsolt G. Török

Before the sixteenth century, images of ships rarely appeared on maps, while the charts and maps from the European Renaissance to the Enlightenment were frequently and prominently decorated by sea vessels. This is a simple statement based on practical experience, which can be agreed by not only map historians but anyone familiar with the cartography […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Shipping, Trade and Crusade in the Medieval Mediterranean: Studies in honour of John Pryor’ by Ruthy Gertwagen and Elizabeth Jeffreys (eds)

By Anthony J. Papalas

This book consists of 20 essays on the medieval Mediterranean, divided into three rubrics – shipping, trade and the crusades. The studies, which are of high scholarly value and for pinpoint specialists, are in honour of the eminent scholar John Pryor. The focus of this review will be on the essays which deal with maritime […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Roles of the Sea in Medieval England’ by Richard Gorski (ed.)

By Maryanne Kowaleski

Most of the eight essays in this volume originated at a 2008 conference in Rye on ‘Medieval Seas.’ Four of the essays are on English naval history, which has also been the theme of three other recently published Boydell volumes. This feature indicates the quickening pace of work in the field. Gorski’s helpful introduction summarizes […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Medieval | North Sea | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Land Based Air Power or Aircraft Carriers?: A case study of the British debate about maritime air power in the 1960s’ by Gjert Lage Dyndal

By David Hobbs

This is the sixth in a series of studies by the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, which draw on the expertise and wider networks of the Defence Studies Department of King’s College, London. The author is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Norwegian Air Force and Dean of Academics at the Royal Norwegian Air […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Golden Dream: A history of the St. Lawrence Seaway’ by Ronald Stagg

By Maurice D. Smith

There are many histories of the St Lawrence River waterways but this is among the best. The author and historian, Ronald Stagg has provided an expansive set of notes for each of the five chapters, an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources including, articles, magazine pieces and annotated online resources. The strength of this […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The US Navy and the War in Europe’ by Robert C. Stern

By John Rodgaard

Robert Stern is a prolific author on various aspects of naval history, with specific emphasis on the war at sea during the Second World War. His latest work, The US Navy and the War in Europe, successfully counters the ‘persistent misconception’ that the US Navy’s greatest contribution to the Second World War was the defeat of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Interwar | North Sea | WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Lifesaving & Coastguard | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘War at Sea: A naval atlas 1939–1945’ by Marcus Faulkner

By Derek Law

This is a profoundly disappointing book. Its arrival had been keenly anticipated as it has been widely advertised and promised a novel and valuable approach to naval warfare through cartography; it promised – and delivers – comprehensiveness; it has already been nominated for a book prize; it promised help in understanding complicated battles and campaigns […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Far Horizons: From Hull to the ends of the world’ by Robb Robinson

By Sarah Palmer

Hull has a long history as one of Britain’s major port cities and as such has not been neglected as a subject for historical study. Joyce Bellamy, Mike Brown, Ralph Davis, Wendy Childs, Gordon Jackson, David J. Starkey and Donald Woodward, as also Robb Robinson himself, are just a few of the specialists who have […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Twentieth Century | Arctic
Subjects include: Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘A Century of Sea Travel: Personal accounts from the steamship era’ by Christopher Deakes and Tom Stanley

By Bruce Peter

The publicity material distributed by steamship lines during the ‘golden age’ of liner travel remains aesthetically highly potent. Typical images of large white passenger ships majestically aloof at anchor in tropical settings, surrounded by palm fronds and fore-grounded by the local vernacular retain a mystique and a romantic allure, while also speaking of privilege and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Militarism in a Global Age: Naval ambitions in Germany and the United States before World War I’ by Dirk Bönker

By Matthew S. Seligmann

Naval histories of the immediate pre-First World War era often focus predominantly on the great Anglo-German naval race, a decade and a half long competition in maritime force accumulation that by virtue of its iconographic status, longevity, bitterness and ultimate culmination in conflict has cast an overwhelming shadow over the period. While there is certainly […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Royal Navy and the German Threat 1901–1914: Admiralty plans to protect British trade in a war against Germany’ by Matthew S. Seligmann

By Oliver Walton

The history of British naval policy at the start of the twentieth century has been keenly contested in recent years; Matthew Seligmann’s contribution to the debate takes its courage from close examination of the archival source on an aspect which has been largely neglected by previous scholarly efforts: the Admiralty’s engagement with the challenge of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1 | English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Belfast Shipbuilders: A Titanic tale’ by Stephen Cameron; ‘Belfast Built Ships’ by John Lynch; ‘The Shipyard Apprentice’ by William Scott

By Martin Bellamy

For many years anyone wanting to study shipbuilding in Belfast had to rely on two, admittedly excellent, books: Hume and Moss’s definitive history of Harland & Wolff, Shipbuilders to the World (1986), and David Hammond’s wonderful evocation of shipyard characters, Steelchest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog (1986). This gave readers both an official top-down company history […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Naval Leadership and Management 1650–1950’ by Helen Doe and Richard Harding (eds)

By C. I. Hamilton

This volume has a double function. First of all it is a Festschrift to the distinguished career as teacher and writer of Michael Duffy, who retired in 2009 (as far, that is, as an historian ever can). But it strives to escape the accusation commonly levelled, often with justice, at such collections, that they are suffused […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Poxed & Scurvied: The story of sickness and health at sea’ by Kevin Brown

By Brian Vale

Kevin Brown’s book is the latest, and most ambitious, example of the growing interest in maritime disease and medicine. Its purpose, as demonstrated in the sub-title – forget the ‘sexed up’ references to pox and scurvy – is to tell ‘the Story of Sickness and Health at Sea.’ Inevitably, the need to cover a period […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Health at Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘The Fighting Temeraire: Legend of Trafalgar’; ‘The Admiral Benbow: The life and times of a naval legend’; ‘The Glorious First of June: Fleet battle in the age of terror’ by Sam Willis

By Robert J. C. Mowat

The ‘Great Age’ of the sailing warship has received such detailed study that is difficult to believe there is more to be said on the subject. Many (possibly most) Mariner’s Mirror readers will emphatically doubt this view, and these books will justify their view. Taken together the Hearts of Oak trilogy aims to examine ‘three of the most […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Miscellaneous | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Captain Cook: Master of the seas’ by Frank McLynn

By John Mack

It may reasonably be thought that J. C. Beaglehole’s publications have long since had the final word on Captain Cook and his pioneering maritime exploits in the second half of the eighteenth century for all that the publishing industry’s appetite for retelling the heroic tales in more popular forms retains its position in a crowded […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Eighteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review – ‘The Statenjacht Utrecht 1746’ by Ab Hoving (ed.) and Cor Emke (plans)

By Fred M. Walker

The Netherlands, it is claimed developed the world’s first co-ordinated transport system in 1632 when construction started on their comprehensive system of canals and inland waterways. Such connections were vital as the country was a republic of constituent states each operating with considerable autonomy but collaborating closely on key matters like foreign policy or finance. […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Voyage to Jamestown: Practical navigation in the age of discovery’ by Robert D. Hicks

By Frank Scott

The central idea for this book is to construct a composite fictional voyage from England to the New World Colony of Jamestown in 1611, and by means of this device to bring together material from the rarely read voyage narratives of that era. This is an undoubtedly interesting concept which involves serious scholarship. At its […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘The 1607 Popham Colony’s Pinnace Virginia: An in-context design of Maine’s first ship’ by John W. Bradford

By Michael Leek

At first glance this book promised much. However, it is a disappointment. The first question, which remains unanswered, is what is meant by ‘in-context design’? The level of technical detail, especially relating to wooden ship construction and lofting tables, etc., suggests the book is not intended for a general readership of maritime history, yet regardless […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Social History of English Seamen 1485–1649’ by Cheryl Fury (ed.)

By Andrew Lambert

This important themed collection of ten chapters marks both the end of a pioneering era of research into the English seaman of Tudor and early Stuart era, and the baseline for the next phase of study. While each chapter has a single author they are not identified on the contents page, revealing something of the […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘Shipping & Economic Growth 1350–1850’ by Richard W. Unger (ed.)

By Cátia Antunes

Shipping and Economic Growth is the latest edited book by Richard W. Unger, well-known scholar of Maritime Economic History. Unger surprises the reader with a collection of fifteen essays divided into two different categories. The first one concerning productivity trends within different shipping traditions and the second one about sources of shipping productivity and growth. […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The Complements of Four Dutch Ships Taken at the Texel in 1799

By Nicholas Blake

In 1799 an Anglo-Russian expedition under the overall command of Admiral Duncan sailed for Holland to land on the Helder and take possession of the fleet of the Batavian Republic in the Texel in the name of the Prince of Orange, and to provoke or encourage an uprising against the French occupiers. The land part […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Baltic | French Revolution
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Admiral Byng: Justice thwarted

By Peter Cowell

Admiral John Byng wrote on 25 May 1756 (five days after the inconclusive engagement or defeat on 20 May 1756) a despatch on the ship Ramillies, off Minorca, and sent it to ‘the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty’ in London. On 26 June 1756 ministers omitted crucial parts of it when the London Gazette printed what appeared to […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

Document: The Autobiography of W. G. Hammock (1825–1912), Marine Engineer

By Brendan O’Farrell

William George Hammock (1825–1912) wrote a memoir in 1905 he described as ‘a few rather random and out of the way jottings by an octogenarian engineer’. He worked first at the engineering works of Blyth’s of Limehouse before joining the Thames marine engineers J. & W. Dudgeon at the Sun Iron Works, Millwall in 1859 […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Forgotten Memoirs: The Second World War as remembered by the Aircrew of RAF Coastal Command

By Hugh Pattenden

This article considers the published writings of aircrew from RAF Coastal Command who served during the Second World War. While there has been extensive discussion about how the war was presented by flyers from other RAF commands, the accounts of the men who fought the maritime air war have received scant attention. This article shows […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Harbours & Dockyards | Naval Aviation | Strategy & Diplomacy

A One-way Street? Admiral James Somerville and Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1942

By Corbin Williamson

Admiral Sir James Somerville’s command of the Eastern Fleet in 1942 caused serious tensions in Anglo-American naval relations despite the admiral’s personal efforts to cultivate closer ties with the US Navy. Specifically, US Navy admirals such as Ernest King felt that while the US Navy had helped the Royal Navy in its hour of need, […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Neutral Waters? British Diplomacy of Force in the Canary Islands at the Start of the First World War

By Javier Ponce

At the beginning of the First World War, Britain had to confront a phenomenal challenge. Faced with the indisputable British naval hegemony, Germany launched the cruiser warfare, using armed merchant ships as auxiliary cruisers, as its first offensive weapon in the economic war, attacking trade from the South Atlantic, through which much of the British […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | WW1 | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

The Final Weeks of Service and Wreck of PS Comet, 1820

By Tony Dalton

PS Comet, Europe’s first commercial steamship, launched in 1812, was rebuilt to new dimensions in 1819 with improved machinery, and wrecked in 1820. These facts are known, but not very much accurate detail exists about its wrecking. Many books and articles on the Comet repeat the same basic information, in some cases with minor variations and ambiguities which […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Figureheads and Symbolism Between the Medieval and the Modern: The ship Griffin or Gribshunden, one of the last Sea Serpents?

By Niklas Eriksson

The Griffin or, as it was sometimes called, Gribshunden (griffin hound) was a ship that belonged to the Danish–Norwegian King Hans. The ship sank in 1495 and was one of the largest and most modern warships of its day. In 2015 a peculiar figurehead carving was raised from the wreck. It is shaped like a beast swallowing a man […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | High Middle Ages | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Peter N. Davies (1927–2020)

By Hugh Murphy

Professor Peter Neville Davies, who died peacefully at home on 19 March after a prolonged hospitalization, had a seminal influence in the development of maritime economic history. He spent his entire academic career at the University of Liverpool where he studied under, and later worked with, Professor Francis Hyde, Chaddock Professor of Economic History… Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

Notes: Corrigenda

By Pieter van der Merwe

I have to correct, with apology, three accidental slips in the notes on T. D. Ledward’s Bounty letters that appeared in the November 2018 issue1. The first (n22) is that Albemarle Bertie’s final rank was full admiral and baronet, not knighted vice-admiral. The second (n54) is that neither Bligh’s bible nor prayerbook are in the National Maritime […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Notes: Captain Bligh’s Glasses

By Pieter van der Merwe

In 1939, on the death of Lieutenant Commander George Frederick Glennie, the National Maritime Museum (NMM) received from his widow a fine, oval, silver-mounted Georgian reading glass, which folds into protective tortoiseshell covers (REL0026, figure 1). It measures 76 x 52 x 20 millimetres and the lens hinges out sideways from one of the mounts on […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

The Evolution of Sail Training from the Nineteenth Century to the 1980s

By Frank Scott

This article considers sail training over a period of some 150 years, starting with its early nineteenth-century origins. It takes the first Tall Ships’ Race in 1956 as a key point, using the races as barometer thereafter for progress up to the 1980s, by which time the upward trend towards becoming global was well established. […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Dummett Freighter: A nineteenth-century log sailing canoe from northeastern Florida

By Thomas Briggs

This article provides a comparative physical and cultural study of a cypress log sailing canoe and the plantation culture of nineteenth-century north-eastern Florida that created it. The author makes the argument that this and other vessels of similar construction represent a typology of log boat construction that was limited to Florida’s north-east during the mid- […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812 | American Civil War | Nineteenth Century | Caribbean
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

‘It was not his first Intention to swell the Work with so many Notes’: Annotation in William Falconer’s The Shipwreck and the birth of the Universal Dictionary of the Marine

By William Jones

William Falconer is well known for his influential Universal Dictionary of the Marine. Less well known is that the Dictionary owed its origins to Falconer’s other claim to fame as a poet. The Shipwreck (1762) is a narrative of his personal experience of a voyage, notable for its density of nautical terminology, and extensive annotation, explaining the seafaring terminology […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Eighteenth Century | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Influence of the Theories of John Clerk of Eldin on British Fleet Tactics, 1782–1805

By Jim Tildesley

This article is a fundamental re-examination of the published work of John Clerk of Eldin and the influence it had on fleet commanders of the Royal Navy from 1782. While previous assessments have alluded to the potential for some influence, the general conclusion has been that any influence was limited; although some have dismissed it […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Seven Years’ War | American Revolution | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Dutch Naval Decline and British Sea-power Identity in the Eighteenth Century

By Gijs Rommelse

During the eighteenth century, various British authors analysed the decline of Dutch naval power. Anticipating the politico-cultural frame of reference of the British political nation, they invoked the memory of the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch wars to dramatize the failure of Dutch sea power. They disagreed about the causes of this development, but seemed unanimous in their […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | North Sea
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Early Sixteenth-century Shipbuilding in Mexico: Dimensions and tonnages of the vessels designed for Pacific Ocean navigation

By Jose L. Casabán & Roberto Junco

Shortly after the conquest of Mexico, Cortes ordered the construction of a shipyard in Tehuantepec (Oaxaca), on the Pacific coast, known as El Carbón. This article examines a document dated to 1535 which provides the principal dimensions, tonnages, and construction characteristics of three navíos (ships) designed and built in this shipyard for Pacific Ocean navigation. The ships’ […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Pacific
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Dorothea Duff: Female seafaring pioneer or serial fantasist?

By Frank Scott

This short note explores the life and alleged sea faring adventures of Dorothea Duff in the early 20th century.  The author suggests that contrary to Duff’s claims of having served before the mast on two square riggers sailing from Australia to the UK, the evidence suggests she actually travelled as a passenger. The author also […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

David Elder: The father of marine engineering

By John R. Hume

Robert Napier is often regarded as a great engineer and the ‘father of Clyde shipbuilding’. However, most commentators do not fairly represent the contribution of his chief engineer David Elder to the establishment of the reputation and success of Clyde shipbuilding and marine engineering in the mid-nineteenth century. Elder served as Napier’s works manager for […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

The Archaeology of Second World War U-boat Losses in the English Channel and its Impact on the Historical Record

By Innes McCartney

This article examines how the archaeological record of 33 U-boats sunk in the English Channel during the Inshore Campaign, June 1944 to May 1945, compares with the assessment of U-boat destructions made by the Admiralty’s Anti U-boat Division (AUBD) in 1946. Comparison of the two shows an accuracy rate of 57 per cent across the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | WW2
Subjects include: Archaeology | Navies | Submarines

William Schaw Lindsay and the Oceangoing Auxiliary Steamer

By William Stewart Lindsay

The adoption of steam engines for oceangoing vessels in the mid nineteenth century revolutionized shipping. On the face of it shipbuilders were presented with two choices. They could either strive to improve the sailing ship, or they could design a vessel that employed steam as the primary source of power. In fact, the choice was […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Pitch, Paint, Varnish and the Changing Colour Schemes of Royal Navy Warships, 1775–1815: A summary of existing knowledge

By Brian Vale

It is a long-standing assumption that the colour scheme of British warships between 1775 and 1815 changed from yellow hulls, through the yellow and black Nelson chequer to the ubiquitous black and white; while the interiors and bulwarks were first painted red, then yellow ochre, then a range of light colours including green. In the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies

Sustaining British Naval Power Through New England Masts During the Seven Years War

By Yuichi Hiono

This study focuses on the Royal Navy’s use of American naval stores, especially New England masts, during the Seven Years War. It highlights the significance of the eastward naval logistics of American naval stores across the Atlantic, based on records revealing the navy’s constant effort to sustain these logistics in the British Atlantic world. Drawing […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Seven Years’ War
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies

A Re-appraisal of the King’s Ships in the Reigns of Richard I and John, 1189–1216

By Susan Rose

Claims have been made for the establishment of an English royal navy in the twelfth century. This article offers a reappraisal of the documentary evidence to assess whether Richard the Lionheart or his younger brother John can be credited with creating this instrument of royal power. Their use of ships in warfare and the possession […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies

Delayed Adjustment: Economic crisis, political change and state intervention in the Spanish shipbuilding industry, about 1975–1990

By Jesus M. Valdaliso

This article seeks to explain the impact of the international shipping crisis of the 1970s on the Spanish shipbuilding industry (then the third biggest in Europe after Sweden and Germany) and the responses to the crisis given by the state and by shipyards. It contributes to the literature on the decline of merchant shipbuilding in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

An Ethnography of Shetland’s Oldest Boat, the Sixareen Mary LK 981

By arc Chivers, Michael J. Stratigos & Ian Tait

The Mary LK 981 is the oldest surviving Shetland-built boat. Detailed recording of surviving examples of Shetland’s boats has been rare, and where undertaken, has focused on analysing overall boat form rather than their biographies. However, previous work has been critiqued as too narrowly focused on hull form and the direct connection between Shetland’s small boats and […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

The Battle of Jutland, Through a Looking-glass

By Derek Nudd

The German High Seas Fleet’s sorties in strength after the battle of Jutland were few and inconclusive, but as a ‘fleet in being’ it remained a powerful threat. Britain’s Admiralty, alive to the tactical issues thrown up by Jutland’s titanic clash, was anxious to learn what had gone wrong. Luckily for the British, German veterans […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea | Jutland
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

The Royal Marines Capture, Fortification and Defence of Anholt Island 1807–1812

By Martin L. Robson

During the British gunboat war against Denmark–Norway in the period 1808–13, the Danish island of Anholt posed a navigational hazard to Baltic convoys carrying strategic materials and manufactured goods through the Baltic. It also offered a secure supply of freshwater and an alternative anchorage to Wingo Sound. When the lighthouse marking the island and its […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Baltic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

The Afterlife of the Ostend Company, 1727–1745

By Gijs Dreijer

The Generale Keijzerlijcke Indische Compagnie, known as the Ostend Company or GIC, was a short-lived but very successful chartered company based in the Southern Netherlands between 1722 and 1727. Despite the high profits from the Chinese tea trade, the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI was forced to retract its charter in 1727 under Dutch and English […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Some Adventures of a Seafaring Accountant: William Crickmay and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, 1853–1858

By Ernest W. Toy

William Crickmay was the purser of five Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ships from 1854 to 1858. These ships provided mail services from Southampton to St Thomas and Rio de Janeiro, and thence to local ports of call. His third ship, the Orinoco, chartered for war service, voyaged to and from Portsmouth to the Crimean war […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Crimean War | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The Etymology of List, ‘Inclination of a Ship’

By William Sayers

This note explores the etymology of the word list, meaning the inclination of a ship, including a discussion of Norse, Old English and French terminology. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Notes: ‘Noble-minded friends and comrades’: Statistical and personal network analysis of Royal Navy officers between 1840 and 1889

By Jorit Wintjes and Isabell Bachmann

The decades between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Naval Defence Act of 1889  were a significant period of transformation in British in naval history.  Did officers recruited during this period form networks of ‘progressive’ adopters of technology who were at odds with ‘reactionary’ keepers of tradition, and did the ready, or reluctant, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Note: A Statistical Analysis of Scottish-built Ships 1850–2009

By Ian Buxton

A statistical analysis of trends in Scottish ship production from 1850 – 2009 based on data extracted from the British Shipbuilding Database.  The data discriminates between merchant ships and warships, construction material, tonnage and propulsion, and is split into Scotland’s three principal shipbuilding regions: Upper Clyde: Rutherglen–Bowling, Lower Clyde: Dumbarton westward and SW and NW […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Selsey Fishing Fleet

By Peter Thomson

A short history of the West Sussex town of Selsey, its fishing industry and fleet from the sixteenth century to the present day. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: ‘The Battle of the Atlantic’: A legend deconstructed

By Eric Grove

The ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ is a powerful legend. Throughout the war, it is said, a ‘battle’ raged as the Germans mounted a near decisive attack on the shipping that lay at the heart of the Allied war effort. The U-boat was the chief instrument. Convoys were consistently attacked with heavy losses inflicted by U-boat […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines

Note: Echoes of a Distant War

By Colin Jones

An exploration of the naval history of Sydney and New South Wales during the Napoleonic Wars from 1797 to 1814, touching on proposed conscription of convicts to fight in South American possessions, Matthew Flinders’ meeting with Nicolas Baudin, shipbuilding and traffic through Sydney Naval Yard, the operation of press gangs,  privateering and whaling. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Indian Ocean | Pacific | Press Gangs
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Science & Exploration | Whaling & Fishing

Danish Modernist Architecture and Furniture Design in Passenger Ship Interiors 1935–1965

By Bruce Peter

Since the 1960s Denmark has become internationally renowned for its architecture and design output. The work of Danish modernist architects and designers working on terra firma is very well known, but very little has been written about their influence on the design of merchant ships. This article examines the manifestation of Danish architectural modernism in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

The Convoy System in the Mid-Atlantic, 1917–1918

By Augusto Salgado

When in February 1917 Germany started the unrestricted submarine campaign, the number of merchant ships sunken by U-boats increased, reaching its peak in April that year. From that time the number of vessels sunk started to decrease. However, a more detailed study of the number of ships sunk while navigating the area between the north […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Submarines

How Large Was Mars? An investigation of the dimensions of a legendary Swedish warship, 1563–1564

By Niklas Eriksson

The Swedish warship Mars was considered to have been one of the largest ships in the world when it exploded and sank in 1564. The problem is that no written accounts clearly reveal its dimensions. This article reviews how different researchers have discussed the size of Mars in the past. It also aims to shed new light on this […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

‘We Almost Gave Ourselves Up for Lost That Night’: Alfred Costello’s account of the shipwreck of the Elizabeth, 1852

By Alison Henry and Richard Henry

The merchant mariner Alfred Costello recorded an account of the shipwreck of the barque Elizabeth on the Andaman Islands in 1852. His account provides an insight into the challenges faced by the crew culminating in a 300-mile journey from the Andaman Islands to Burma (Myanmar). Only Costello and the ship’s captain survived to return to England. Costello’s […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Mermaids Ashore: The Norwegian Mermaid Association, 1964–1989

By Stig Tenold and Bård Gram Økland

This article analyses a sometimes forgotten dimension of maritime history: the lives and challenges of those remaining at home. Based on archival data and interviews, we discuss the establishment, growth, decline and dissolution of the Norwegian Mermaid Association (Norges Havfrueforbund), an organization of seamen’s wives. We place the history of the association in a broader […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Articles The Archaeology of First World War U-boat Losses in the English Channel and its Impact on the Historical Record

By Innes McCartney

This article examines how the archaeological record of 35 known U-boats sunk in the English Channel in the First World War compares with the assessment of U-boat destructions made by the Admiralty’s Antisubmarine Division (ASD) in 1919. Comparison of the two shows that only 48 per cent of the 37 assessments were correct. This divergence […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2
Subjects include: Archaeology | Navies | Submarines

The Egyptian Navy of Muhammad Ali Pasha

By John Houghton

Muhammad Ali (Mehmed Ali in Turkish) ruled Egypt as Ottoman governor from 1805 to 1848. Defeating all internal opposition, he initiated a series of changes to Egyptian society and the economy that vastly increased his revenue and thereby enabled him to create an army of 140,000 men and a navy which matched that of the […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Post Office, The Admiralty and Letters to Sailors in the Napoleonic Wars

By Brian Vale

By 1790 the Post Office ran a service using mail coaches and sailing packets that was fast, safe and reliable. High postal rates, however, restricted its use to merchants and the more affluent, and there were no special arrangements for the armed services. In 1795 this changed. Recognizing the benefits to morale, the authorities introduced […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

‘Breaching Neutrality’: English prize-taking and Swedish neutrality in the First Anglo-Dutch War, 1651–1654

By Steve Murdoch

This article considers the impact of English seizure of neutral Swedish vessels during the First Anglo-Dutch War, 1651–4. These actions were undertaken at a time when no bilateral diplomatic treaty existed between the two nations and thus the legal basis for such prize-taking was hotly disputed on both sides. Through an examination of extant sources […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Was Arthur Ransome’s John Walker a Competent Seaman?

By Mike Bender

This note explores the competence of Arthur Ransome’s blundering boy sailor John Walker, in We Didn’t Mean To Go Sea, one of the books of the Swallows and Amazon‘s series, and draws parallels with the authors own life.  In We Didn’t Mean To Go Sea, John Walker negotiates a difficult passage from Harwich to Flushing, thereby entering the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Leisure & Small Craft | Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Operational Impact of the Loss of HMS Paragon in the Straits of Dover, 17 March 1917

By Eamonn Welch

In early 1917, the torpedo boat destroyer HMS Paragon was part of the Dover Patrol, then subject to repeated raids by German destroyers. Its history is normally consigned to a few, often inaccurate, short sentences, in which it is implied that it had an almost supine role in the action in which it was lost. This article […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

How to Defend the Turkish Straits Against the Russians: A century-long ‘Eastern Question’ in British defence planning, 1815–1914

By Gültekin Yıldız

The integrity of the Ottoman Empire was a fundamental concern in nineteenth-century European politics, often referred to as ‘the Eastern Question’. The main military aspect of this question was how Istanbul and the Turkish Straits, namely the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, could be defended against a probable Russian attack by land, sea or both. The […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Goldsmiths and Grocers: Further examination of investors in the privateering voyage of Woodes Rogers, 1708–1711

By Ian Abbey

Recent histories have focused on the investors who outfited and funded the cruising voyage of Woodes Rogers to the Pacific from 1708 to 1711. However, relatively little has been published on the roles these investors played within Bristol society outside of the major contributors. This article identifies the social and business activities of all of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Viking Ships with Angular Stems: Did the Old Norse term beit refer to early sailing ships?

By Eldar Heide, Terje Planke

This article discusses a certain type of ship known from Scandinavian Viking Age and Merovingian Period iconography. This type of ship has a vertical stem and stern that meet the keel at right angles, sometimes with an extension filling the space under a sloping forefoot and a similar extension at the rear end of the […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Race to the Chesapeake between Destouches and Arbuthnot, March 1781

By Larrie D. Ferreiro

A systematic examination of the reasons why the British fleet won the race against the French to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in advance of the battle of Cape Henry on 16 March 1781. Read More

Filed under: American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

‘Your Dutiful Nephew’: Thomas Denman Ledward (1766–1789/90), acting surgeon of the Bounty

By Pieter van der Merwe

The surviving family letters of, and relating to, Thomas Denman Ledward, acting surgeon in HM armed vessel Bounty, have never been fully researched before. They are used here as the basis for constructing his brief biography. It provides a case study of the chances that could launch an eighteenth-century naval medical career (and tragically terminate it), […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Eighteenth Century | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Politics of Liverpool’s Northern Whaling Trade, 1750–1823

By Simon Hill

Whaling is a largely under-researched aspect of Georgian Liverpool’s maritime heritage. Nevertheless, some broad features of this trade are known. Indeed, Liverpool began sending whaling vessels to the Arctic in 1750, but by 1823 this trade had effectively collapsed at the port. However, there is one area in particular that has been especially overlooked by […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Arctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The Destruction of the Danish Frigate Najaden at the Battle of Lyngør, 1812

By Martin L. Robson

The British gunboat war against Denmark in the period 1808 to 1813 was conducted against vital Baltic convoys carrying strategic materials and manufactured goods travelling through hostile or, at best, neutral waters. Following the loss of her battle fleets, Danish Norwegian attacking forces consisted of highly manoeuvrable oared vessels carrying few guns and lighter brigs […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

A Ship ‘For Which Great Neptune Raves’: The Sovereign of the Seas, la Couronne and seventeenth-century international competition over warship design

By Benjamin W. D. Redding

Charles I’s great warship the Sovereign of the Seas is famed for its design, decoration and importance as a tool that heightened the image of English naval supremacy. By exploring its career, size, name and decoration, this article highlights the Sovereign of the Seas’ significance as a national symbol of political and cultural power. It argues that Charles’s […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

The Battle of Marathon and the Persian Navy

By Anthony J. Papalas

In the summer of 490 bc the Athenians secured their freedom and that of the European Greeks by defeating a Persian army in the battle of Marathon. Herodotus gives a sketchy description of the battle without any material information on the size of the respective armies but states that the Persians arrived at Marathon with […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Logistics | Navies

Note: The Promotion of David Beatty to Rear-Admiral

By Henrikki Tikkanen

An interpretive reading by a management and organizational history scholar of what kind of forces were at play behind the exceptional promotion of David Beatty to rear-admiral on 1 January 1910.  This note aims to provide more nuanced considerations both of the question of why Beatty was promoted and to a lesser extent of who were the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Note: Maupassant’s Afloat: Why did this classic account of yacht cruising sink without trace?

By Mike Bender

A critical analysis of Guy de Maupassant’s yachting memoir Afloat discussing why it failed to appeal to contemporary critics and readers. Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

The Reduction of the French Mediterranean Fleet 1702–1719

By Rif Winfield

After the losses sustained at Cherbourg and La Hogue following the battle of Barfleur in 1692, Louis XIV remained keen to continue building up his navy to a size equal to or exceeding in strength the combined English and Dutch fleets. Within a few days he authorized six replacement First Rank ships (three-deckers) and five […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies

German Supply Ships and Blockade Runners in the Canary Islands in the Second World War

By Juan-José Díaz-Benítez

At the start of the Second World War a number of German merchant ships took refuge in the Canary Islands. The German authorities took control of them and some were used as blockade runners and others as supply ships for the German navy. The preparation and departure of these ships was performed with the consent […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

HM Steam Yacht Venetia: A luxury yacht in Royal Navy service, 1914–1919

By Ian Beckwith

This article tells the story of the steam yacht Venetia as seen through the experiences of its fireman, Edward Beckwith. Originally a luxury yacht, Venetia was handed over to the Admiralty in 1914 and took part in the Northern Patrol based in Kirkwall before transferring to Falmouth to take on patrol duties in the Western Approaches to the English […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

The Ottoman Naval Academy and the Development of Naval Training in the Reign of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861–1876)

By Dilara Dal

During the period after the battle of Navarino in 1827, steam warships were widely adopted by the major navies, and the rise of ironclads in the late 1850s marked the turning point both in warship construction and naval strategy as the dominant element of battle at sea. These rapid developments observed in European naval warfare […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

‘Avarice and Rapacity’ and ‘Treasonable Correspondence’ in ‘an Emporium for All the World’: The British capture of St Eustatius, 1781

By Randolph Cock

In the Revolutionary War the American rebels relied on supplies of munitions, especially gunpowder, from Europe. To circumvent the embargo and avoid seizure by the British, many of those supplies were routed through the neutral Dutch West Indian island of St Eustatius. To cut off supplies to the Americans, the British invaded and occupied that […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: A Good Man in Every Sense of the Word: The reputation of Admiral Robert Man

By Barry Jolly

A revision of the reputation of Admiral Robert Man, who obeyed orders and was rewarded for having done so. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Biography

The Making of Mr George Thomas RN, Admiralty Surveyor for Home Waters from 1810

By David Walker & Adrian Webb

George Thomas, the first naval hydrographic surveyor continuously employed in the nineteenth century, was highly regarded by the three Admiralty hydrographers under whom he served until 1846. An earlier account of his humble origins and youthful adventures, based on the recollections of his clerk, is supported only in part by contemporary records. This recent investigation […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

The Colour Schemes of British Warship Figureheads 1727–1900

By David Pulvertaft

Between the mid-eighteenth century and 1900 almost all the figureheads on British warships were carved in the likeness of an individual man, woman, beast or bird, each of which was intended to represented the name of the ship. Of those that have survived, the vast majority are painted in full colour, suggesting that this was […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

A Model of the Royal Yacht Henrietta about 1679: Description and identification

By Effie Moneypenny & Simon Stephens

This paper presents a model of a royal yacht in the Portland Collection whose existence has, despite having been included in a published nineteenth-century catalogue, remained unrecognized for over 300 years. It is the first Navy Board style yacht model to come into the public domain for nearly a century. It is the first yacht […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

State Formation and the Private Economy: Dutch prisoners of war in England, 1652–1674

By Gijs Rommelse & Roger Downing

The sea battles of the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the mid-seventeenth century generated large numbers of prisoners of war. Their incarceration and subsequent repatriation were the responsibility of a succession of appointed bodies, under Cromwell and subsequently under Charles II. Captives were incarcerated in prisons throughout southern England. Once these were full it became necessary to […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Seadogs and their Parrots: The reality of ‘Pretty Polly’

By Megan C. Hagseth

The relationship between sailors and tropical birds is often ignored because of its association with swashbuckling pirates and their winged sidekicks. Links to pirates in popular culture such as Treasure Island’s Long John Silver and Captain Flint have led to many misconceptions about the social functions of avian pets in the seafaring community. The transportation […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration

Obituary: Ray Ernest Sutcliffe (1940-2018)

By Hugh Murphy

The wide and varied interests of a pioneer of the filming of maritime archaeology. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Lewis Ross Fischer (1946-2018)

By Hugh Murphy

The  considerable contribution to maritime history. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The Early life of Thomas Luny, Marine Artist

By Tacy Rickard

While speculation must surround the early life of Thomas Luny, he appears to have had maritime connections through his father, a merchant ship’s captain who traded with Jamaica. His connections with Shadwell and other maritime districts of London are also clear. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Notes from a Published Treatise in an Ordinary Eighteenth centuryShipwright’s Journal

By Phillip Reid

An interesting copy of a treatise on the proportions used in ship building, the result of years of experience. The sources of the information are explored. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Documents. Two sets of fighting instructions, 1914

By Stephen McLaughlin

The two sets of tactical instructions relate to the defeat at the Battle of Coronel of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

An Anatomy of Speculative Failure: Wm Doxford & Sons Ltd, Sunderland, and the Northumberland Shipbuilding Company of Howdon on Tyne, 1919–1945

By Hugh Murphy

This article investigates the impact and consequences of speculative capital-gaining ownership of several UK shipbuilding firms after 1918, with emphasis on the Sperling Combine’s Northumberland Shipbuilding Company of Howdon on Tyne and its acquisition in 1919 of the Wear shipbuilders and marine engine builders, Wm Doxford and Sons Ltd. The Sperling Combine’s modus operandi was […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Paying the Prize for the German Submarine War: U-boats destroyed and the Admiralty Prize Fund, 1919–1932

By Innes McCartney

This paper examines how the Admiralty paid prize money to the Royal Navy for the destruction of U-boats in the First World War. The research shows that the method by which it did so was distinct from the standard prize process, primarily because of secrecy surrounding the anti-U-boat effort. Prize payments were only made by […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Submarines

A Model of HMS Vindictive as Fitted for the Zeebrugge Raid, 1918

By Alistair Roach

HMS Vindictive’s role in the Zeebrugge raid on St George’s day 1918 is well known to First World War naval historians but details of her conversion for the event are difficult to ascertain. The work carried out at Chatham dockyard prior to the raid was shrouded in secrecy with very few details being recorded at […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies | Ship Models & Figureheads

A New Battle Fleet: The evolution of the Ottoman sailing navy, 1650–1718, revealed through Venetian sources

By Guido Candiani

Between 1650 and 1718 the Ottoman navy developed a new fleet of sailing warships in response to similar developments in the Venetian navy. The Venetian government was kept informed of Ottoman naval developments through ambassadors’ reports from Constantinople and accounts from admirals during wartime. The files in the Archivio di Stato di Venezia therefore preserve […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Vegetius and Taccola: Was medieval writing on war at sea of any practical use?

By Susan Rose

For much of the medieval period little time was devoted to the discussion of how war should be waged at sea. Discussion on war was often based on the writings of Flavius Vegetius Renatus, from the late fourth or early fifth century. His short treatise De re militari is based on the works of earlier […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

The Stump-Topgallant or Jubilee Rig: Realities and misconceptions

By Frank Scott

An account of the different ways in which the masters of sailing ships attempted to make them more economical by dispensing with lofty sail plans. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: War Course Attendance at Greenwich from 1900 to 1904

By Simon Harley

A ‘war course’ was taught to naval officers at Greenwich from 1900 to 1914, and this note lists the officers who attended between 1900 and 1904. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Note: An Offshore Hydrographic Survey by the Royal Navy in 1798

By M. K. Barritt

In 1798 St Vincent ordered an urgent examination of an alternative anchorage for the Mediterranean fleet south of Cape Spartel.  This account describes the methods used to carry out the survey and its shortfalls. Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

‘Suitable to the Meanest Capacity’: Mathematics, navigation and self-education in the early modern British Atlantic

By Mordechai Levy-Eichel

How was elementary mathematical learning initially acquired in early modern England and the wider Atlantic world? What kind of mathematics was being emphasized? What kind of materials and methods were employed? What were the motivations of those learning the subject? This article argues that a large part of early modern mathematics was self-taught, began informally, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Mariners Ashore in the Eighteenth Century: The role of boarding-house keepers and victuallers

By Derek Morris and Ken Cozens

Seamen from Royal Navy ships were boarded in the 1740s with Betty Wright, a lodging-house keeper of Gosport, Hampshire. Her surviving account books together with the wills of hundreds of mariners open up a new light on the life onshore for these men, in a previously unrecorded manner, and enable lodging houses, victuallers and the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

‘& thus ended the buisinisse’: A buggery trial on the East India Company ship Mary in 1636

By Derek Massarella

Not much archival information survives about buggery trials at sea in the seventeenth century. A trial aboard the East India Company’s ship, the Mary, at Surat in 1636 is an exception and is well documented. This article provides a detailed account of the trial, placing it within the broader contexts of naval discipline, the judicial […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

The Wreck of the Dutch East India Company Ship Haarlem in Table Bay, 1647, and the Establishment of the ‘Tavern of the Seas’

By Bruno EJS Werz

On Sunday 25 March 1647, shortly after five o’clock in the afternoon, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship Nieuw Haarlem or Haarlem was wrecked in Table Bay, off the coast of South Africa. The events that followed had far-reaching consequences for the history of South Africa. Fifty-eight of the crew were repatriated by accompanying […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Case of the Roman Transom Bow

By Vittorio Bovolin

The discovery of a Roman boat with a transom end during the construction of a Metro line in Naples has reopened the discussion about whether this end is the bow or the stern of the boat. This issue was debated through the twentieth century and still continues today. Discussion so far has mainly been focused […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: American Whalers in Britain

By Kenneth Cousins and Derek B. Morris

A new understanding of the social and economic groups involved in the Pacific whaling industry has been developed, and this article brings to the attention of interested researchers the wide range of  websites now available. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Engineer Captain Nikolai Saczkowski and the Yenisei

By George Bailey OBE

This description of the careers of Engineer Captain Saczkowski and the Yenisei illuminate the period at the start of the first World War when British submarines assisted the Russian Baltic fleet. Read More

Filed under: Baltic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

Note: New Light on the Battle Off the Virginia Capes: Graves vs Hood

By Michael J. Crawford

A new version of the narrative describing the battle off the Virginia Capes, in which the logs of Hood’s ships are investigated to find the truth. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

S. O. Makarov’s Diary from His Visit to Russian America in 1864

By Andrei V. Grinëv & Richard L. Bland

A translation of documents by S.O. Makarov deals with Makarov’s visit to Russian America in 1864 has not previously been available to specialists on Russian America. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Linguistic Facts as a Reflection of Changes in Seafaring: Is a ship still a ‘she’?

By Milena Dževerdanović-Pejović

Linguistic facts reflect a lot about the world. There is an inherent linguistic and pragmatic belief that ships are feminine. The fact that the third-person pronoun ‘she’ is used when reference is made to a ship has become an unquestionable language fact in seafaring. Yet changes in the modern world and shipping, which has been […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Royal Navy’s Principal Warfare Officer Course, 1972–2015

By Andrew Livsey

The Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) course, which trains officers to direct warships on operations, has for the last 40 years been a key determinant in how the Royal Navy has fought. Four of the last six First Sea Lords, the professional heads of the Royal Navy, have been PWOs. This article explains why the course […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics

The French Pacific Division and the Chincha Islands War (1864–7)

By Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix

The Chincha Islands War, fought between Spain and its former colonies of Peru and Chile from 1864 to 1866, took place while France was trying to impose an Austrian emperor on Mexico with the growing concern that the United States might intervene in both conflicts. Threatening French investments and interests in the two Latin American […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

‘So Complete Was Our Victory! So Complete Their Ruin!’: An analysis of the battle of Çeşme, 1770

By Philip MacDougall

This article presents an analysis of why a technically advanced Ottoman fleet of overwhelming numerical superiority operating in its home waters should have been decisively defeated by a Russian fleet operating in totally unfamiliar waters and hampered by a divided command structure, with no truly safe harbour to fall back on and with ships manned […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Obituary: Countess Mountbatten of Burma CD, DL (1924-2017)

By Hugh Murphy

The contribution of the Countess Mountbatten of Burma and her family to the Society. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: John Pennington Bethell (1925-2017)

By John M. Bingeman

The contribution of John Bethell to research through a long and varied career. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Richard Hill (1929-2017)

By Frank Scott

The contribution of Richard Hill to the navy and naval affairs. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Battle of Jutland’s Heritage Under Threat: Commercial salvage on the shipwrecks as observed 2000 to 2016

By Innes McCartney

This paper presents the most recent ndings up to August 2016 of the extent to which the shipwrecks from the battle of Jutland have been exposed to salvage for metals. Commercial salvage of the wrecks is not new and archival research has traced salvage activity as far back as 1960. However over the last 15 […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Thomas Cavendish’s Visit to Puná Island in 1587

By Susan Maxwell

In 1587 Thomas Cavendish reached Puná Island, Ecuador, where he planned to overhaul his fleet and replenish his supplies. This article describes the visit to the island, the surprise attack by Spanish soldiers and the eventual departure towards Mexico. Most discussions rely only on two English primary sources for Cavendish’s circumnavigation: N. H.’s account in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Writing the Battle: Jutland in Sir Julian Corbett’s Naval Operations

By Andrew Lambert

This article examines the origins, development and purpose of Sir Julian Corbett’s account of the controversial battle of Jutland. Naval Operations is seen as an extended analysis of how British strategy was intended to work and why it had failed on this occasion. The argument was carefully constructed to explain the failure without challenging the […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies

The Jutland Paradox: A keynote address

By Eric Grove

The battle of Jutland was a paradox, a massive naval engagement with little result. Thousands of men were lost in an indecisive clash that settled nothing. This account sets out its author’s interpretation of the battle. Key reasons for the battle being indecisive were the contrasting characters of the British Grand Fleet’s commanders. Admiral Jellicoe, […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Books for Training Officers in the Eighteenth- century Spanish Navy

By Manuel-Reyes García Hurtado

The creation of academies for midshipmen brought about technological, scientific and educational developments in the eighteenth-century Spanish navy. In these academies midshipmen received the most advanced theoretical and practical training of the time. The Spanish monarchy made all the necessary resources available for the acquisition of books printed abroad for military libraries. This explains the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Thomas Cavendish’s Visit to Puná Island in 1587

By Susan Maxwell

In 1587 Thomas Cavendish reached Puná Island, Ecuador, where he planned to overhaul his fleet and replenish his supplies. This article describes the visit to the island, the surprise attack by Spanish soldiers and the eventual departure towards Mexico. Most discussions rely only on two English primary sources for Cavendish’s circumnavigation: N. H.’s account in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Obituary: Richard Oliver Goss (1929-2017)

By Hugh Murphy

The contribution to maritime economics  and the Nautical Institute, of the editor of Maritime Policy and Management. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: John Reynolds

By John Bingeman

The contribution to historic buildings by an ex-mariner turned architect. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: John Armstrong (1944–2017)

By Hugh Murphy

The contribution to  maritime history by the author and lecturer. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The “Henri Grace A Dieu”

By R C Anderson

Anderson compares three images of the above ship and wonders whether they are the same vessel. One engraving is dated 1523 which means it is much earlier than previously believed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Richard Mount, London Shipowner

By Mark Howard

There were complications for the owner of shares, like Mount who owned shares in a series of large  commercial sailing vessels. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Document: The Wartime Diaries of Convoy Signalman George Robins

By Nick Robins

A personal record of life as a convoy signaller  in merchant convoys during the second World War. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

‘We Are a Modern Navy’: Abolishing the Royal Navy’s rum ration

By Richard Moore

The Royal Navy’s daily ration of free rum to sailors was abolished in 1970. Abolition was never justi ed on cost grounds, unlike so many other British defence decisions. Rather, rum was no longer in keeping with a navy of guided missiles and sensitive electronics. The decision was nevertheless many years in the making. The […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Singing for the Nation: Balladry, naval recruitment and the language of patriotism in eighteenth-century Britain

By James Davey

During the eighteenth century the ballad was one of the most important vehicles of mass communication. The Royal Navy was a consistent and popular subject for ballads and hundreds of songs were published with a distinct naval theme. This article analyses the nature of naval ballads, and investigates their potential political, social and cultural roles. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

‘Zeal Intelligence and Intrepidity’: Naval irregular warfare and the War of 1812 on the Lakes

By Benjamin Armstrong

The history of the War of 1812 has been dominated by scrutiny of the duelling frigates, squadron actions, and the British blockade of American ports. Yet, during the con ict from 1812 to 1815, sailors and marines were just as likely to be involved in maritime raiding operations and other irregular missions as they were […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812 | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies

Did Vessels Beach in the Ancient Mediterranean? An assessment of the textual and visual evidence

By Gregory F. Votruba

The practice of beaching seafaring ships in the ancient Mediterranean is a widely accepted phenomenon. This paper examines the evidence for beaching and outlines the various methods, tools and technology employed. While habitual beaching for seafaring vessels is testi ed for the Geometric Period Aegean, for later periods the evidence is primarily negative. With the […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Obituary: Martyn Heighton (1947-2016)

By Matthew Tanner

A tribute to a friend and colleague Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: “English Iliads”

By C Cunninghame Graham

The author quotes a different version of the Iliad, recorded in MM Volume 1, Issue 12, but can offer no explanation of the variation. Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Marstal Maritime Museum

By Annemette Aracama

The Maritime Museum at Marstal displays the ancient and unchanged connection between this island and its environment. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines

At War with the Navy

By Colin Jones

The small ships taken up by the Australian navy were of small account to the navy but of far more importance to their owners.  These case studies reveal the local implications of such dealings. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

The Tip of the Spear: Captain Henry Hotham and the blockade of Brest and L’Orient

By Martin Robson

The diaries of Captain the Honourable Henry Hotham from 1810 and 1811 reveal the conditions at sea during the blockade he kept of Brest and L’Orient, which required exceptional fortitude and seamanship. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Sweet Fanny Adams Revisited

By Tony (A.L.) Rice

The background to the often retold story of the death of Fanny Adams and the myth that her remains were found in a tin of meat, correcting the previous notes in The Mariner’s Mirror over many years. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Etymology of Squiligee and Squeegee

By William Sayers

An attempt to define the origin of words both connected to the removal of excess water. It is one of the vagaries of language that sailors should have become seascullions, labouring to remove excess water after swabbing the great bowl of the ship, like the land-bound cooks’ boys washing dishes and scrubbing pots in medieval […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Marstal Maritime Museum

By Annemette Aracama

The opening of a new museum at Marstal is welcomed.  The archive of models, ship portraits, marine and navigation gear will now be housed in more spacious surroundings, allowing the centuries of marine activity here to be properly documented. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: A Close Examination of an Ancient Naval Artefact

By Aldo Antonicelli

An identification of an ancient bronze artefact as a secondary ram. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

Document: Vice-Admiral Bethell’s Third Fleet Battle Orders, about 1914

By Simon Harley

There is a frightful dearth of battle orders for this period. Those orders that are known to exist relate to the principal British fleet, which was the Home Fleet from 1909 to 1912 then First Fleet of the Home Fleets (1912–1914). Bethell’s orders, never before published, are an important addition to our knowledge of tactical […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: At War with the Navy

By Colin Jones

Small civilian craft were taken up by the Australian navy during the Second World War, and this account details the experiences of some of them. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Pacific
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

Low Labour Intensity and Overmanning in the Royal Dockyards, 1815–1914

By James Haas

Low labour productivity and overmanning were a very old and intractable problem in the royal dockyards, but only acquired political prominence in the later nineteenth century. This article examines the working practices of the dockyards and the political ramifications of the poor working practices. In time of war large numbers of men are required to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Steamships of the Russian-American Company, 1839–1867

By Andrei V. Grinëv

This article analyses the development of steamship construction and the operation of steamships in the former Russian colonies in Alaska in 1838–67. This aspect of the economy of Russian America proceeded with the active co-operation of representatives of the United States and their technical support. The first steamship Nikolai I was completed in 1839 at Novo-Arkhangel’sk. The […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

The Royal Yacht Isabella of 1683: Identification and principal dimensions

By Kelvin Moneypenny & Dorin Paul Bucur

The Isabella of 1683 was the last yacht built for Charles II. Although in the past her name has been associated with several images, this yacht has never been fully identified. The process of identification will add detail to a suite of drawings made around 1696 by the seventeenth-century Venetian etcher Vincenzo Coronelli and to a painting […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Connecting Past and Present: Maritime museums and historical mission

By Lincoln Paine

This article explores different approaches that maritime museums might consider to enlarge their audience and enhance their mission. In particular, it focuses on how we can incorporate the innovative research into ancient and contemporary structures of maritime trading networks by historians, archaeologists and others to broaden our geographic and thematic focus, and take on a […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

N ote: The Tip of the Spear: Captain Henry Hotham and the blockade of Brest and L’Orient

By Martin Robson

Commissioned in 1810 to command HMS Northumberland in the Channel Fleet and to blockade the French coast, the honourable Henry Hotham’s diaries, logs and letters have been used to give the reader details of the dangers, difficulties and successes of this vital element of the Napoleonic war at sea. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Sweet Fanny Adams Revisited

By Tony Rice

The gruesome murder of Fanny Adams, widely reported in 1867, coincided with the issue of tinned beef to the Royal Navy from the naval suppliers at Deptford.   Typical naval black humour caused the contents of the tins to be referred to as ‘Fanny Adams’.  This has led to a century of questions and answers […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Etymology of Swiligee and Squeegee

By William Sayers

Various derivations of these words are examined, from medieval French and terms of the sea.  Sayer’s conclusion is that the sailor removing excess water from his vessel is using the same tool as a kitchen boy in a medieval household. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The Digitisation of the Board of Longitude Archives

By Alexi Baker

The digitisation of this important archive has made possible research into new and valuable areas of study. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Student Strikebreakers: The 1934 West Coast waterfront strikes and the SS Mariposa

By Douglas Sprague

The West Coast strike by longshoremen which affected all shipping was broken by students from college or university. This is a personal account of the cruise of SS Mariposa, crewed by student strikebreakers. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: A British Account of the Action off Cape Sarych, 1914

By Toby Ewin

By chance a Royal Navy officer was an eyewitness to the engagement between the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the German ships operating with the Ottoman fleet. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: The Wreck of the ‘Apostle’ San Bartolomé (1597)

By José Luis Casaban

The location of this Spanish wreck dating from 1597 has been disputed, but documentary evidence reconstructs the events which led to its loss. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Note: On the First Use of the Term ‘Chronometer’

By Wolfgang Koberer

This brief note records the first usages of the term ‘chronometer’, dating from 1713 in William Derham’s Physico-theology, and Matthias Wasmuth’s Arcanum Navarchicon of 1684. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

From galleys to square riggers: The modernization of the navy of the Kingdom of Sardinia

By Aldo Antonicello

By the middle of the eighteenth century most navies operating in the Mediterranean had replaced their galley fleets with sailing navies. The Kingdom of Sardinia was one of the last to make the transition, acquiring its first square rigged ships in 1763. The galleys were decommissioned and a completely new naval administration was created. The […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Caesar’s crossing of the Adriatic Countered by a Winter Blockade During the Roman Civil War

By Ian Longhurst

During the Roman Civil War that broke out in 49 bc between Julius Caesar and Pompey naval operations played a critical role. In order to confront Pompey’s army quickly in the Balkans, a major amphibious crossing of the Adriatic was undertaken by Caesar’s army. The text of Caesar’s Civil War and other sources, including Lucan’s […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: A British Account of the Action off Cape Sarych, 1914

By Toby Ewin

An account using hitherto unpublished documents, examines the first engagement between the Russian Black Sea fleet and the modern German ships ‘sold’ to the Ottoman empire in 1914. Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: The Wreck of the ‘Apostle’ San Bartolomé (1597)

By José Luis Casabán

An examination of the possible sites of the wreck of the post-Armada San Bartolomé and its eventual location at Mundaka Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Note: On the First Use of the Term “Chronometer’

By Wofgang Koberer

A discussion of the earliest use of the term ‘chronometer’ as an instrument for keeping time. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: The Use of Chronometers to Determine Longitude on East India Company Voyages

By Simon C. Davidson

Evidence that a chronometer was used on early commercial voyages to determine longitude. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note:The Galician Lugsail: An old form of fore-and-aft sail

By Jesús Blanco-García

An explanation of the characteristics of the lugsail still used in Galicia Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Ballast Logs

By Frank Scott

A discussion of the use of ‘ballast logs’ to stabilise commercial sailing ships as they unloaded their cargo Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: The Figurehead/Badge of the Mary Rose 1510–45

By David Pulvertaft

The history of the Mary Rose and its figurehead, with detailed explanations of its design and purpose. Read More

Filed under: Tudors | English Channel | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Document: ‘A Distinct Point in Modern Naval Tactics’

By Simon Harley

These are claimed to be the first written orders for a squadron going into battle, taking every eventuality into account. Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

‘An Awkward Engine’: Captain Philip Broke’s troublesome relationship with the carronade

By Martin Bibbings

From its first introduction in the late 1770s during the American Revolutionary War the carronade was enthusiastically embraced by the Admiralty for use in its warships, dramatically increasing the firepower and effectiveness of even the smallest vessels. Diminutive in size and weight compared to conventional long guns it was capable of firing heavy-calibre shot, and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Weapons

Diseases Spread by Sea: Health Services and the Ports of the Canary Islands in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

By Juan Manuel Santana-Pérez

In the Canary Islands the sea was as a defence against disease. There was a constant fear of epidemics arriving by sea, not only because of the potentially high death toll, but because it could have a seriously detrimental effect on trade. As well as the local impact of disease, health control was important because […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Popular Topics | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Paddle Wheels for Sailing Men-of-War

By Joseph Eliav

In 1720 Monsieur du Quest, a French engineer, presented to the Royal Society a paper titled ‘A Method for Rowing Men of War in a Calm’ in which he proposed to install man-operated paddle wheels on British sailing ships. The paper documented sea trials he had performed in 1693 with his invention installed on a […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Some English Sailing Terms with Norse Antecedents: Weather side, luff, tack, beat to windward

By William Sayers

Key terms in the English vocabulary of sailing to windward appear anomalous in dictionaries organized by mainstream English headwords. The Old Norse language, with Anglo-Norse and Anglo-Norman French as linguistic intermediaries, along with early medieval Scandinavian sailing technology are proposed as the source for this important word cluster. The tacking terms of ‘weather’, ‘beat’, ‘tack’ […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Obituary Alan McGowan 1928-2016

By Jonathan Coad

An appreciation of the life and work of Alan McGowan Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The Portrait of the Alexandra of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

By A.B. McLeod and A.M.G. McLeod

This description of the ship portrait examines the period and location of the portrait, as well as the ship’s cargo and crew. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Merchant Marines

Fact and fiction: What happened at Pabellon de Pica and Huanillos on 9 May 1877?

By Frank Scott

A careful unpicking of the fact and fiction behind the ‘eyewitness’ account of the tsunami. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

The portrait of the Alexandra of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

By A.B. McLeod and A.M.G. McLeod

A close study of this ship portrait reveals a great deal about the period in which she operated and the owner/manager responsible for her. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Tyrrhenian Naval Iconography During the First Ice Age: the origin of Etruscan ships

By Francesco Tiboni

Starting from a critical analysis of some of the most important evidence concerning Etruscan maritime activities, the evolutionary line linking the ninth-century BC Villanovan clay models to the sixth-century BC figures of Etruscan ships is re-evaluated. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Art & Music | Ship Models & Figureheads

Gas Lion: The first Clyde-built gas carrier and a micocosm of Norwegian shipping

By Stig Tenold

This article, based on primary sources in Norway and Scotland, tells the history of Gas Lion, the first gas tanker built on the Clyde. The ship was delivered in 1968 from Scotts’ of Greenock to Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi (KGJS), a newly established shipping company from Bergen, Norway. In addition to the history of the ship […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Upper Clyde Shipbuilders 1971-2 and Edward Heath’s U-turn: how a united workforce defeated a divided government.

By Roy Foster

This article examines the political crisis resulting from the denial of government financial support for Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in June 1971 and the subsequent reversal of policy. It uses government departmental and Cabinet Office papers to argue that the key turning point came in September 1971 when Lord Rothschild’s Central Policy Review Staff produced its […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Refining the Steam Coaster: Scotland’s contribution

By Roy Fenton

This article explores the origins and development of a small but significant type of merchant ship, the bulk-carrying steam coaster. They were built in considerable numbers, made an important contribution to industrialization, and their design is largely perpetuated in modern motor coasters, but they have not been well served by shipping historians. An analysis is […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

The Bentinck Boom: its history and probable misattribution

By Frank Scott

The Bentinck boom was a common labour-saving feature in Greenland whalers and British coastal craft in the nineteenth century, notably the collier brigs. Its design, advantages and limitations are all discussed, as is its interesting etymology, and the probability that its invention has been incorrectly attributed to Captain John Bentinck RN as a result of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Fact and Fiction: What happened at Pabellón de Pica and Huanillos on 9 May 1877?

By Frank Scott

The striking eyewitness accounts of shipwreck are examined and the truth separated from the very good story. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: ‘To Sett Downe All the Villainie’: accounts of the sodomy trial on the fourth East India Company Voyage (1609)

By Cheryl Fury

A reconciliation of the accounts of this most unusual trial for sodomy on board a merchant ship, which reveals a great deal about shipboard life in the early seventeenth century. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: Matthew Flinders in HMS Providence, 1791-93

By Madge Darby

This brief note corrects the statement that Matthew Flinders was demoted to able seaman by Captain Cook during his expedition of 1793. Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: ‘Her Majesty’s Bad Bargain’: Richard Johns and his naval pension

By Jeremy Rowett Johns

This note records the career of Richard Johns who drew a naval pension for 60 years following the engagement between HMS Reindeer  and USS Wasp in 1814. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Document: Captain Beaufort on the Sensation felt by Drowning Man

By courtesy of Maldwin Drummond

This document records the experience of Francis Beaufort when he nearly drowned as a midshipman in the frigate Aquilon. Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Old Methods Versus New: a Comparison of Very Large Crude Carrier Construction at Scott Lithgow and Hyundai Heavy Industries, 1970-1977

By J. Y. Kang, Song Kim, Hugh Murphy & Stig Tenold

This article compares and contrasts Very Large Crude Carrier shipbuilding at Scott Lithgow’s Glen shipyard, Port Glasgow, Scotland and Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard, Ulsan, South Korea, initially to the same design, and VLCC shipbuilding in the United Kingdom, 1970–77 in general, at the two other United Kingdom shipyards capable of constructing VLCCs, Swan Hunter on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Reconstructing the Design of the American Civil War Semi-submersible CSS David

By John D. Littlefield

The American Civil War saw the need for many quickly conceived experimental projects in naval warfare. CSS David, a semi-submersible torpedo boat, proved to be an important innovation as it spurred development of both the modern torpedo and submarine. Historians superficially mention ‘Little David’ when discussing the historic attack of the Union blockader New Ironsides on 5 October […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Submarines

The ‘Navalisation’ of Ireland: the Royal Navy and Irish Insurrection in the 1840s

By Jerome Devitt

This article examines the role played by the Royal Navy in the deterrence and suppression of Irish nationalist movements in the early Victorian period, particularly Daniel O’Connell’s 1843 ‘Repeal Association’ and the 1848 Young Ireland Rising. The navy was seen as ‘encouraging the loyal and overawing the disaffected’ both in how it acted, and in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Document: ‘I was at the helm when Preussen ran aground’

By courtesy of Rolf C.F. Warming

This newly translated memoir is a detailed first-hand account of the demise of the Preussen beneath the chalk cliffs of Dover. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Measuring Britain’s Merchant Shipbuilding Output in the Twentieth Century

By Ian Buxton, Roy Fenton & Hugh Murphy

This article reports on work done to arrive at a reliable estimate of British shipbuilding output in the twentieth century. Three datasets are considered: the annual figures of the Shipbuilding Conference, those of Lloyd’s Register and those of the British Shipbuilding Database (BSD). Differences between the figures are explored and reconciliation attempted by examining the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

On a New Bearing: the Reorganized Royal Australian Navy at War in Vietnam

By Steven Paget

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) made a modest but important commitment of a single destroyer to the Vietnam War on a rotational basis between March 1967 and September 1971. The contrast between the deployments of the American-designed and built Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyers and the British-designed Daring class destroyer, HMAS Vendetta, represented the […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Political Discussions Onboard HMS Crocodile: David Samwell, James King, and the Historical Implications for Captain Cook’s Third Voyage

By Lance Bertelsen

James King and David Samwell wrote two of the most important journals of Captain James Cook’s third voyage and later produced the most important eighteenth-century publications describing the controversial circumstances of Cook’s death. This article presents previously unpublished excerpts from Samwell’s letters describing political discussions between the two onboard HMS Crocodile in 1781, a period during which […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

The Ships from Herodium

By Yaacov Kahanov, Deborah Cvikel, Silvia Rozenberg, Yakov Kalman, Rachel Chachy & Roi Porat

Ships are depicted in two nautical scenes in the unique wall paintings discovered in the Royal Room next to the private small theatre of Herod the Great at Herodium near Jerusalem. The walls of the Royal Room were finely adorned with wall paintings and stucco decorations, dated to about 20–15 BC. The first scene, on […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Medieval Ship Graffiti in English Churches: Interpretation and function

By Matthew Champion

The freshly conducted survey of ship graffiti has discovered shared characteristics, meaning and functions. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Graffiti of British Ships at La Algeria Castle

By Alejandro Martín López

An examination of the graffiti found in the castle used to house prisoners during the eighteenth century. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Popular Topics | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Merchant Navy: A myth reviewed

By Pieter van der Merwe

This examines the use of the term ‘Merchant Navy’ and the determination of King George to grant the formal title. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Note: ‘You are a Very Naughty Admiral Indeed’

By Lorna M. Campbell and Heather Noel-Smith

An account of a letter written  by Lady Caroline Warren to Sir Edward Pellew   Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Benjamin T. Hill’s HMS Victory Collection

By Rodney Hilton Brown

An account of the Nelson and HMS Victory memorabilia collected by Benjamin Hill Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Staghorn

By John H. Harland

The use of the term ‘stag horn’ to describe a mooring bollard Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Russian Ship Names: Ships on the Shores of Russian America

By Andrei V. Grinev translated by Richard L. Bland

For this article the names of all Russian ships that travelled to the shores of Alaska during the Russian–American period are collated. These include small vessels of merchant companies that helped the Russians colonize the multitude of islands in the Aleutian chain and South Alaska, warships of the Russian navy, and the sailing ships and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Navies

Agincourt Sound Revisited

By Michael Barritt

At the resumption of hostilities in 1803 after the Peace of Amiens, Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, now commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, renewed his interest in Sardinia as a logistical base for the blockade of Toulon. The story of the selection of an anchorage, known in the British fleet as Agincourt Sound, situated in the Maddalena Islands […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration

Coaling Warships with Naval Labour, 1870-1914: ‘I wish I could get hold of that man who first found coal.’

By Steven Gray

The expansion of a steam-powered Royal Navy in the period 1870−1914 made vessels utterly dependent on coal. Getting this coal aboard warships was dirty, exhausting, and dangerous work. Even in 1914, it was still largely done by hand and, increasingly, it was the job of the ships’ crews to perform this task. Thus coaling was […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Angry Voices on the River Bank: a Reinterpretation of Two Aquatic Classics

By Michael Bender

At least some of the meaning of the maritime for the English has come to them through its portrayal in the various media, such as paintings, poetry and literature. This relationship appears to have been particularly relevant during the late Victorian and Edwardian era, when the need of the population to understand the sea and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music

Lord Nelson and Earl St Vincent: Prize Fighters

By Grahame Aldous QC

The lengthy prize litigation over the proceeds of Spanish treasure conducted between 1801 and 1803 involving Lord Nelson and Earl St Vincent is often referred to, but little understood. Using contemporaneous records, correspondence and law reports, this article considers the original prize captures that gave rise to the dispute, the tactics adopted by the litigating […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Note: The Port of Glasgow

By Martin Bellamy

A number of photographs showing the river and port of Glasgow have been discovered in the Museum. Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

The Evolution of the Windlass in the Nineteenth Century

By John H. Harland

The handling of anchor cable on merchant ships was the subject of much innovation in the early nineteenth century. In warships anchor cable was handled by capstans operated by large crews. On merchant ships, with restricted space and manpower, a windlass was preferred. This article examines the development of the hand-powered windlass from the traditional […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

US Slave Trading on the Rio Pongo: Evidence from the Capture and Trial of the Spitfire of New Orleans, 1845

By Bruce Mouser

In March 1845 vessels of the British and American surveillance squadrons cooperated in the capture of the schooner Spitfire of New Orleans which was collecting a slave cargo at the Rio Pongo on Africa’s western coast. This article considers the context of that collaboration, the trial of the Spitfire‘s captain in Boston, and the complex methods that slavers […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Spanish Naval Strategy and the United States, 1763–1819

By Ivan Valdez-Bubnov

This article examines the naval strategies conceived by the Spanish government to deal with Anglo-American expansion in North America. The political, social and diplomatic aspects of this process have been thoroughly approached by historiography. However, its impact on Spanish naval policy has received little attention. After the Louisiana purchase, the Spanish navy made a plan […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Commerce Warfare in the Atlantic, 1917: SMS Moewe

By Robin McNish

An account of the sinking of the SS Otaki by the German SMS Moewe in 1917, written by the son of the chief officer at the time. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | WW1 | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Navies

Note: Commerce Warfare in the Atlantic, 1917: SMS Moewe

By Robin McNish

This corrects a statement in MM 2014/3 p335 that SMS Moewe was withdrawn from Atlantic waters in 1916. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Document: The Trial of the Isabella of Dundee, 1846

By courtesy of Innes A. Duffus

An example of one of the records from the guildry court books of Dundee, dated 1809 to 1894, is presented here. It is an unusually detailed case against a skipper and his alleged lack of seamanship, business acumen and sobriety, who did not come back with nearly enough guano in 1846. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

A Statement of Hopes? The Effectiveness of US and British Naval War Plans Against Japan, 1920–1941

By Douglas Ford

This article reconsiders the traditional claim that the setbacks which the US and British naval forces faced during the opening stages of the war against Japan in 1941–2 were the result of poor strategic planning. It illustrates how, during the decades leading up to the outbreak of the Pacific War, naval staffs drew up a […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: The Åland Maritime Museum

By Hanna Hagmark-Cooper

The Director of the Aland Maritime Museum describes its exhibitions and its artefacts. Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: John Cleveley the Elder’s ‘The Floating Out of the Cambridge’: Problems and patrons

By A.B. McLeod and A.M.G. McLeod

The Floating Out of the Cambridge 1755 is a pre-eminent example of the artist John Cleveley’s style. Th authors have examined this work in detail and have investigated the identity of the patron who commissioned the work. Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Class Warfare and the Selborne Scheme: the Royal Navy’s Battle over Technology and Social Hierarchy

By Oliver Johnson

In 1902 Second Naval Lord Jackie Fisher and the Earl of Selborne, the First Lord of the Admiralty, announced a scheme which would fundamentally change the way cadets for the engineering, executive and Royal Marine branches were entered and trained. Known as the Selborne Scheme this was designed to give equal status to executive and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

Foreign Ships in the Fleet of the Russian–American Company (1799–1867)

By Andrei V. Grinëv

The Russian–American Company fleet (1799–1871) provided communication between the Asian and Baltic ports of Russia and the distant Russian colonies in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. At the beginning of its existence its fleet consisted exclusively of Russian-built ships, but gradually came to be made up of ships built in England, the United States, Germany […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Voyage of Leucippe and Clitophon: a New Interpretation

By Deborah Cvikel, Yaacov Kahanov, Baruch Rosen, Hadas Saaroni & Ehud Galili

As told in a novel of the second century ad, the couple Leucippe and Clitophon boarded a ship sailing from Beirut to Alexandria. The ship, apparently a 20-metre-long coaster, set out on a SW course, driven by an easterly wind. On the third day the wind shifted abruptly to the south-west, and the sea rose. […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Science & Exploration

A Reappraisal of the Life and Work of Basil Lubbock

By Michael Leek

Basil Lubbock was a pioneering author and maritime historian who laid the foundations for the study of merchant sailing ships. His knowledge was based on practical experience as a seafarer under sail, extensive archival research and discussions with seamen and sailing ship managers. This article reassesses his life as an adventurer, seaman, soldier, yachtsman and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Commerce Warfare in the East Central Atlantic during the First World War: German Submarines Around the Canary Islands, 1916–1918

By Javier Ponce

This article examines German U-boat operations in and near the neutral territorial waters of the Canary Islands as well as British and Spanish responses to these operations. The strategic importance of the area around the Canaries, where trade routes from South America to Europe converged with those from West Africa and the Cape, would determine […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

An Assessment of Voyage Memoirs of the Erikson Era

By Frank Scott

The many Erikson voyage memoirs are assessed as a group to establish their value to the historian, and their limits. The cultural differences between the Anglophone ‘adventurer’ trainees, and the Ålander/Finnish professional trainees and crew are illuminated, along with working conditions, training, and the experiences of the few women. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

The Richard Affair: Rising Tensions Between the United States and the United Kingdom, 1806

By Leo Hershkowitz

In 1806 an American merchant seaman was killed by a shot from the British warship HMS Leander which was trying to enforce its right to stop and search for contraband goods. This relatively minor incident is little remembered in history but at the time attracted the attention of King George III, his ministers, President Thomas Jefferson, other […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Strategy & Diplomacy

Duelling in the Royal Navy

By Mark Barton

Articles on duelling tend to concentrate on specific duels or are systematic studies focusing on wider society. This article aims to bring together the challenges and duels identified from primary sources such as naval officers’ memoirs, lists and journals and identify what this says about the behaviour of the service from the mid-eighteenth century to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Weapons

Observational Methods and Procedures for the Mariner’s Astrolabe

By Nicolàs de Hilster

The practical assessment of the accuracy of the mariner’s astrolabe has been the subject of discussion in The Mariner’s Mirror. This article gives further insight on this topic, based on period knowledge and statistical analysis of period and modern data. In addition, reference to more modern studies on this topic is given in an attempt to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Richard Liley: Master Mariner and Trinity House Pilot

By Andrew Muirhead

A small tattered notebook reveals all that Richard Liley left behind after a career at sea and as a Trinity House Pilot. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines

The Italian Naval War in the Mid-Atlantic: Blockade Runners and Submarines in the Canary Islands (1940–1943)

By Juan José Díaz Benítez

This article studies the real value of the Canary Islands for the Italian navy not only as an area of submarine operations but also as refuge for the Italian merchant fleet. To verify this hypothesis unpublished Italian, German and Spanish primary sources have been consulted. From information gathered from these sources, it can be seen […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

Conrad, the Yarn and the Location of the Marlow Stories

By Michael Bender

Maritime history is centrally concerned with man’s changing relationship with the sea. One important way of understanding this relationship is by examining contemporary writings concerning the sea and sailing on it. A particular rich area of such writings is fictional accounts; and the greatest exponent of British maritime fiction is Joseph Conrad (1857–1924). This paper […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Between Shoal and Wall: the Naval Bombardment of Akko, 1840

By Yaacov Kahanov, Eliezer Stern, Deborah Cvikel & Yoav Me-Bar

HMS Pique bombarded Akko during the attack by a British–Austrian–Ottoman fleet on the Egyptian-held town on 3 November 1840. Three of her cannonballs were discovered during renovation of the El-Shazliya Mosque in Old Akko, embedded in an inner eastern wall facing the sea. Reduced scale experiments simulating the firing of cannonballs at this wall were conducted by […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Weapons

The Royal Yacht Henrietta of 1679: Identification and Principal Dimensions

By Kelvin Moneypenny & Dorin Paul Bucur

In 2012 the attention of the authors was drawn to a pen-and-ink drawing in the style of the Van de Veldes. This paper sets out to identify the subject of this drawing as the Henrietta yacht of 1679. It then proceeds to define the main dimensions of Henrietta and in particular that she was built with a more upright […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | East India Company | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: On the Attempt to Assess the Accuracy of the Astrolabe

By Wolfgang Köberer

A study of the accuracy of an astrolabe, taking into account previous studies, concluding that the instrument and the observer were more likely to be accurate than the maps he might be using. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Some Aspects of the Life and Career of William Sutherland

By Cris Mallagh

This paper offers some new insights into aspects of the life and work of the shipwright William Sutherland (1668–1740). He went to sea in 1679 and advanced to master carpenter by 1692. Afterwards he served three years as quarterman at Portsmouth under his uncle William Bagwell. At Deptford in 1715 he became embroiled in controversies […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

From Lateen to Square Rig: the Evolution of the Greek-owned Merchant Fleet and its Ships in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

By Apostolos Delis

Between the middle of the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries shipping became a major economic activity for many Ionian and Aegean communities. The growth of the merchant marine of the Ionians and Aegean Greeks under both Venetian and Ottoman sovereignty, and that of the kingdom of Greece after 1830, are examined in relation to shipping […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Naval Resources and the British Defeat at Yorktown, 1781

By Richard Middleton

Although most of the blame for the disaster at Yorktown fell on the generals, the role of the navy was equally crucial. Had the fleet converged on Chesapeake Bay in sufficient numbers, the army of Lord Cornwallis would have been rescued and the war perhaps ended differently. Responsibility for this failure has never been adequately […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

Some Aspects of the Life and Career of William Sutherland

By Cris Mallagh

This paper offers some new insights into aspects of the life and work of the shipwright William Sutherland (1668–1740). He went to sea in 1679 and advanced to master carpenter by 1692. Afterwards he served three years as quarterman at Portsmouth under his uncle William Bagwell. At Deptford in 1715 he became embroiled in controversies […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Other (Early Modern) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

The Law and Language of Private Naval Warfare

By N. A. M. Rodger

Piracy and privateering figure very extensively in history, and in current affairs, but much of the discussion is undermined by the common failure to define the terms and understand the legal distinctions between them. Moreover it is essential to consider with care the translation of languages and legal systems. The paper attempts to clarify the […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (Early Modern) | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Lay of Rope

By John Harland

An explanation of the reasons behind the terms ‘right-hand lay’ and ‘left-hand lay’.  The fact that ‘clockwise’, ‘with the sun’ and ‘right-handed’ mean the same thing in the maritime world,  whereas twine direction in nature is almost all right-handed.  The Note moves from hemp to wire rope and the uses to which it will be […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Use of Benchmarks in the Popular Reporting of Commercial Shipping: Is the Titanic an appropriate measure to convey the size of a modern ship?

By Paul Stott

A discussion of the use of often meaningless benchmarks by which to measure size and weight, and a suggestion as to which would be meaningful comparators. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Parbuckling

By William Sayers

The origins of the word ‘parbuckle’ are examined together with its variants Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: An Influential Membership: the Society for Nautical Research 1911-1913

By Hugh Murphy and Derek J. Oddy

This description of the early membership of the Society notes the proportions of naval members as opposed to those of the legal and academic professions, with shipowners and shipbuilders also important. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Document: The Wardroom Mess Accounts for HMS Leyden, 1809

By courtesy of Nicholas Blake

In 1809 HMS Leyden was fitting in Sheerness for the Walcheren expedition. On 29 March, Captain John Spearing RM joined her, and became the mess caterer. Captain Spearing was not an accomplished accountant; he was extravagant and failed to take or keep receipts, and in August the mess accused him of embezzling part of the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies

Note: The Royal Dockyard Schools and their Education System

By Frank E. King

The education of shipyard apprentices evolved in response to the need of the yards for skilled workmen in different categories.  This Note outlines the careers of the apprentices who did best in the examinations, and who therefore progressed to the next level of employment.  What was taught is outlined as well as how it was […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards

Note: Henry Bell’s Comet: The account book for 1820

By Peter McOwat

This account of the first steam ship, which operated on the route to Fort William  from September 1819, is derived from an account book of the vessel’s operation in 1820. The income and expenditure is recorded, as well as names and wages of crew. The passengers are also listed, giving a social commentary on the […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Tactics of Sixteenth Century Galley Artillery

By Joseph Eliav

The use of artillery in Mediterranean galley warfare was often perceived as being restricted to the firing of single salvos at very short range before ramming and boarding the enemy ship enabled the main fight in close combat. The article contests the reasons contemporary literature gives for this tactic and argues that it was both […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Weapons

Maritime Logistics and Edward I’s Military Campaigns: what can be Learnt from the Surviving Documentation?

By Susan Rose

This article examines the use made of shipping to support Edward I’s military campaigns. It concentrates particularly on the period 1299-1301 looking in detail at fleets assembled on the west coast in 1299-1300 and the east coast in 1300-1 to provide logistical support to English armies fighting in Scotland. The evidence relating to these fleets […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Competition in the Merchant Steamship Market, 1889-1914

By David Humphreys

The merchant steamship market in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was dominated by the UK shipbuilding industry but past studies have portrayed a market characterized by the strong relationships between UK shipbuilders and shipowners where competition between firms was the exception rather than the rule. The objective of this article is to shed […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Shipworm, Hogbacks and Duck’s Arses: the Influence of William May on Sir Robert Seppings

By Alan Lemmers

The improvements in shipbuilding by Sir Robert Seppings in the early nineteenth century represent one of the last major revolutions in the age of the wooden sailing warship. However, little is known about Seppings’s sources of inspiration, a blank that this article attempts to fill in to some extent. Recent historical finds confirm that Seppings […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

Notes made by Thomas Harriot (1560-1622) on Ships and Shipbuilding

By Jacqueline Steal

Notes made by Thomas Herriot in about 1608 on the vocabulary and technicalities of ships and shipbuilding offer an insight into the practical world.  He wrote about the ideal height of a mast, on fashion pieces, ropes and other topics. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

The Application and Scheme of Paintworks in British Men-of-War in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

By Peter G. Goodwin

The question of the authenticity of the colour scheme for the preserved HMS Victory has been the subject of some debate. This article uses historical evidence and technical analysis of paint samples to draw conclusions about the external and internal appearance of HMS Victory and other ships of this time in both the British and […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Capstans Handling Chain: Gordon and Barbotin

By John Harland

This note pursues that previously published in MM (99:1) dealing with the transition from hemp to chain. The invention of a chain messenger to be captured by a capstan was claimed by Messrs Gordon and Co in London and by Capitaine Benoit Barbotin in France. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Fid and Marlinspike Etymologies

By William Sayers

The earliest use of the word ‘fid’ is explored, with Thomas Harriot’s use of the word at the beginning of the seventeenth century noted. The connection between fids and marlinspikes  is explained. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Problems in Correctly Identifying a Shipwreck

By Martin and Sheilah Openshaw

The difficulties of identifying wrecks are outlined, with particular reference to the wreck which has been called the Hartburn or the Start.  The other possible candidates are examined, and the collision between HMS Surprise and Netley Abbey is recounted in detail. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Compression Carriage or Hardy Carriage

By Aldo Antonicelli

This Note corrects an assertion made by John Harland in MM (99:1) that Admiral Hardy was the inventor of  the ‘compression carriage’ used for carronades between 1830 and 1850. The carriage was designed by General William Millar, but was abandoned ‘on account of its weight, complication, liability to become deranged or be rendered useless ..’ Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

HIJMS Wakamiya and the Early Development of Japanese Naval Air Power

By Jonathan Parkinson

The British merchant steamship Lethington was captured by the Japanese in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War, converted into a seaplane tender in 1914 and then transformed into the aircraft carrier Wakamiya in 1920. At Tsingtao in September 1914 she became the first vessel in history to handle naval aircraft in action. This paper examines the early moves by the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

Bridport Harbour: The Rise and Decline of a Coastal Port

By P. A. B. Thomson

Bridport is an interesting case study of a port created in an unlikely place to meet local industrial demand. A protected harbour only from the 1740s, it was successful enough to be consolidated and expanded in the 1820s. It enjoyed a 30-year heyday before railway competition started to bite into its trade. Traditional exports of […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

The Application and Scheme of Paintworks in British Men-of-War in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

By Peter G. Goodwin

The question of the authenticity of the colour scheme for the preserved HMS Victory has been the subject of some debate. This article uses historical evidence and technical analysis of paint samples to draw conclusions about the external and internal appearance of HMS Victory and other ships of this time in both the British and French navies. An investigation […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

The Growth of Plymouth Naval Base and European Tensions, 1717–32

By Christopher Ware

Between 1715 and 1727 Britain sent nine substantial squadrons to the Baltic to safeguard its interests. However, as the situation in the north of Europe began to settle, distrust began to increase again between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar and trade in the West Indies. Fighting at Gibraltar in 1727 led to an extended period […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Austrian Succession | English Channel
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Gun and Corsia of Early Modern Mediterranean Galleys: Design Issues and Rationales

By Joseph Eliav

An early modern Mediterranean galley carried its main piece of artillery on a wheelless mount inside the raised centreline gangway (the corsia). The gun mount stood on two well-lubricated rails that sloped downwards from fore to aft. In its firing position, the gun was in the bows and when fired recoil propelled it all the way […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Note: ‘Born under an unlucky planet’: The voyages and travels of Owen Roberts, mariner, 1739–1831

By Anthony Tibbles

An account of an eighteenth century sailor, in some detail, in his own words.  Owen Roberts experienced 50 years at sea, some in the slave trade, and this is a remarkable insight into an ordinary life at sea. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: Baron de Bode and His Capstan

By John Harland

The capstan patented in 1836 was designed to be used with a chain messenger by which the               passage of cable was not interrupted.  The Note also contains details of the de Bode family and their historic claim to restitution under the Treaty of Paris for the value of […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship

A Crisis that Never Came: the Decline of the Antarctic Whaling Industry in the 1950s and 1960s

By Bjørn L. Basberg

The twentieth-century Antarctic whaling industry had from the beginning been led by Norwegian companies and companies from a few other nations with strong Norwegian ties, especially Britain. This article analyses the decline and final closure of this part of the industry in the 1950s and 1960s. The nations that had dominated the industry were then […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Antarctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Managing a Global Enterprise in the Eighteenth Century: Anthony Calvert of The Crescent, London, 1777–1808

By Gary Sturgess and Ken Cozens

Camden, Calvert & King, a major London shipping firm of the late eighteenth century, was one of the first medium-sized enterprises in Britain to operate on a global scale. They are well known to historians of the African slave trade and Australian convict transportation, but they also sent vessels to the Continent and the Americas, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Vessels and Networks: Shipowning in North-West England’s Coasting Trade in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

By Peter Skidmore

The article examines vessel ownership in the coasting trade of north-west England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Earlier work undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s identified differences in ownership patterns that were thought to have some social and economic significance. This work seeks to provide explanations for the differences by examining ownership […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

‘A Practical Skill that was Without Equal’: Carsten Niebuhr and the Navigational Astronomy of the Arabian Journey, 1761–7

By Lawrence Baack

Carsten Niebuhr was the astronomer/cartographer for the Danish expedition to Arabia in 1761–7. He established the practicality of Tobias Mayer’s lunar distance method for determining longitude, which became the predominant basis for the determination of longitude in the last decades of the eighteenth century. Niebuhr was also a pioneer in the application of astronomy to […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Obituary: Michael K. Stammers AMA FSA

By Campbell McMurray

Mike Stammers, who died in January 2013, will be best known as the first Keeper of Maritime History at Merseyside County Museums and from 1986 Keeper of Merseyside Maritime Museum. Mike also served on the Board of Trustees of NMM Cornwall, was a member of the original National Historic Ships Committee, and served on the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Paucity of Shipwrights in Royal Naval Dockyards during the Second World War

By Frank E. King

This account details an attempt to improve the quality and number of shipwright apprenticeships during the second world war.  It details the numbers involved, the examination results obtained  by the candidates and reasons for the candidates choosing other trades.  It was written as the result of personal experience. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Note: Death of a Seaman: The murder trial of two master mariners

By iain Rodger

This account of the trial for murder of two master mariners who were involved in the drowning of a drunken cook is seen in the light of verdicts in other cases of insubordination in the merchant service. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: Some Clarifications But Yet More Questions Regarding the Early Days of the New Zealand Frozen-meat Trade

By Hugh Murphy and Derek J. Oddy

The authors revisit the work they did earlier on the business interests of Sir James Caird, and explore the published accounts of Turnbull, Martin & Co at the end of the nineteenth century.   Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

The Transition from Hemp to Chain Cable: Innovations and Innovators

By John Harland

The advent of chain cable in 1812 resulted in changes in the way ground tackle was handled by the Royal Navy. Ships had to be capable of handling both hemp and chain cable, and the capstan was fitted with sprockets to maintain grip on chains.  Devices to arrest the cable as it ran out were […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

‘A Place for Managing Government Chronometers’: Early Chronometer Service at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

By Yuto Ishibashi

This article analyses the early nineteenth-century formation of an institutional framework for the distribution of chronometers in the Royal Navy with particular emphasis on the role played by the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. In the early 1820s the observatory was transformed into a storehouse for the majority of government-owned timepieces. This article focuses on the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Preservation by Shipwreck: the Memory of William Mackay

By Michael Titlestad

In 1795 an English East India Company country ship, the Juno, was wrecked in the Bay of Bengal. The buoyancy of her teak cargo arrested her sinking, and her 72 crew and passengers sought refuge in the rigging that protruded above the waves. Three years later her second mate, William Mackay, published his Narrative of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Turbulent Waters: Sea Raiding in Early Modern South East Asia

By Robert J. Anthony

Between 1500 and 1860 piracy in South East Asia was a multinational enterprise, involving European, American, Chinese, Japanese, and indigenous sea raiders. Although Western pirates occasionally made their way into South East Asian waters, they never posed as much of a threat to the prosperity and stability of the area as the buccaneers had done […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pirates | Pacific | Other (location)
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Note: Ships in Bottles and Their Origins in the Late Nineteenth Century

By Michael Stammers

The advent of machine-made bottles towards the end of the nineteenth century provided a stimulus for sailors, lighthouse keepers snd their ilk to show their dexterity. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Note: The Shadwell Waterfront in the Eighteenth Century

By Derek Morris and Kenneth Cozens

London’s tax registers for the pre-1800 period are now available on line, and this note uses a case study of the Shadwell waterfront to reveal the information contained within them. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Note: Practical Assessment of the Accuracy of the Astrolabe

By Robin Knox-Johnston

Having been developed by the Arabs as a means of finding direction, the astrolabe and the attendant tables needed by the navigator were refined over the centuries until replaced by the backstaff Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

The Third Alan Villiers Memorial Lecture 2013: The Naval War of 1812 in International Perspective

By John Hattendorf

The lecture provided an overview of scholarship as it stood as bicentenary celebrations were just beginning in 2012. At that point there remained a notable difference between American, British and Canadian historical interpretations about why this war was fought, what the effects were of military and naval operations, and to what extent such operations affected […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

From Cannon to Steam Propulsion: the Origins of Clyde Marine Engineering

By Michael Moss

This article revisits the origins of the Clyde’s marine engineering works’ contribution to steam propulsion, much of which has previously relied upon hagiographical accounts from contemporaries such as Robert and David Napier. It highlights the role of the Board of Ordnance during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in expanding its private sector suppliers of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Science & Exploration | Weapons

Othello, ‘Turn[ing] Turks’ and Cornelis de Bruyn’s Copperplate of the Ottoman Port of Famagusta in the Seventeenth Century

By Michael J.K. Walsh

Cornelis de Bruyn’s copperplate engraving of Famagusta, Cyprus, reproduced in Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn door de vermaardste Deelen van Klein Asia (Delft, 1698) may at first sight seem unremarkable. Upon closer inspection, however, it offers some valuable insights into, and raises some important questions about, the Ottoman port of Famagusta and its relationship with the ‘West’. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Harbours & Dockyards

Sea Travel at the End of the Middle Ages Based on the Account of the Embassy to Spain and Portugal given by Roger Machado (1489)

By Michel Bochaca

This article assesses the journal of Roger Machado, Richmond Herald to King Henry VII, who journeyed on a diplomatic mission by sea from Southampton via Plymouth and Falmouth to Spain and Portugal to meet the Catholic Monarchs, and returned six months later landing in Padstow, Cornwall. Machado’s journal is one of the few late fifteenth-century […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | English Channel
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Depiction of Indo-Arabic Ships on an Eighteenth-century Sea Chart

By Norbert Weismann

A sea chart of the Red Sea, which was probably drawn up around the early to mid- eighteenth century in India and given to the Royal Geographical Society in 1835 by Burnes, shows 25 depictions of ships. The age of the sea chart was determined in different ways. These depictions of ships were examined for […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Working a Bristol Channel Trading Ketch around 1950

By Peter Thomson

These are the recollections of a mariner who worked in a trading ketch until it was impossible to get either crew or cargo. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: ‘A Difficult Peson to tackle’: Admiral of the Fleet Sir Gerard Noel

By Richard Hill

The discovery of additional papers belonging to Sir Gerard Noel has brought to light some details which he might have wished to suppress at the height of the controversy at the end of his serving career.  Ranging from the period during which he was a junior sea lord to the China station, and then to […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Weapons

Obituary: John Munday MA FSA

By Pieter van der Merwe

John Munday, who died in April 2012, was Honorary Secretary of the Society from 1979 to 1984 and subsequently became one of its Hon. Vice-Presidents. His whole career was spent at the National Maritime Museum, starting in 1951 and retiring in 1984. Commencing as Assistant Keeper and Librarian he rose through the ranks and ended […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Austin Farrar Memorial Article 2012: Technology and the Four-masted Commercial Sailing Ship 1875-1950

By Frank Scott

Four-masted barques were the workhorses of the last days of commercial sail. This article considers how different they were from their predecessors, and how their development included a final boom in square rig shipbuilding. It also discusses the degree to which they benefited, or not, from technical developments in the maritime world. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Unravelling the Mystery of the Comet Engine

By Martin Bellamy

The Comet was the first commercial steamship in Europe, and this gives the evidence for the engine used. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: in Search of a Ship? Identifying the vessel in Harriet Martineau’s A Month at Sea

By Charles Dawson

The transatlantic voyage in a sailing packet described by Martineau in her autobiography took place in  a ship with a fictitious name, the identity of which is established through clues in the text. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Note: The Hong Kong Maritime Museum: New premises for its seventh anniversary

By Stephen Davies

The new permanent location of this Museum is in the centre of Hong Kong’s historic Victoria Harbour. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Brixham Trawlers

By Peter Thomson

The conversion of the Brixham Trawler fleet from cutter to ketch rig, and their ultimate sale to Scandinavia. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Far from the Water’s Edge: Hayes Boatyard, an inland boatyard in England

By Alison Leighton

The Hayes Boatyard was developed as a result of a powerful father-and-son partnership in the very heart of England. From making agricultural machinery, the innovative engineers diversified into steam powered ship building. They took advantage of a small canal, leading to the Grand Junction Canal, which gave access to the sea. They built vessels destined […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Unravelling the Mystery of the Comet Engine

By Martin Bellamy

The succession of engines fitted to the first commercial steamship in Europe. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Eyewitness Images of Buccaneers and their Vessels

By Benerson Little

This article describes and discusses several eyewitness illustrations of buccaneers (flibustiers) created by cartographers who made maps and charts of French Caribbean ports during the 1680s. The illustrations are highly detailed and provide new information regarding the appearance and arms of these famous sea rovers, as well as of at least one of their vessels. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Fate of Louise: a Maine-built ‘down-easter’ at Grytviken Harbor, South Georgia Island

By Charles Lagerbom

Located in a tiny harbour of Cumberland Bay, South Georgia Island is one of the last remaining examples of a Maine-built ‘down-easter’. The barque, burnt to the waterline with one of her steel masts lying haphazardly across her remains, is what is left of the Louise. While not much remains now, Louise was one of the first vessels involved […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines | Whaling & Fishing

The Oar System of the Venetian Quinquereme

By Joseph Eliav

Hardly a book or article on early-modern naval matters fails to address the Venetian quinquereme built by Vettore Fausto in 1526–9. Yet the design of that ship and particularly the design of her unique five-man oar system have remained an enigma, which this article aspires to resolve. After showing that a five-man system based on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Michael P. J. Garvey FCA

By Hugh Murphy

Peter Garvey, who died in March 2012, was the long-serving Company and Membership Secretary of the Society for Nautical Research. His role was both time-consuming and hugely important. He gained enormous pleasure from the interaction with the members and Officers of the Society and as the first contact for members and prospective members he ably […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Brian H. Patterson

By Hugh Murphy

Brian Patterson, who died in 2012, was Curator and Keeper of Historic Boats at the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust. He was largely responsible for their restoration and for building up the collection of Royal Naval service craft. Besides being a long standing member of the Society, Brian was an active member of the Small […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

A Winter in Yalong Bay

By Stephen Davies

In December 1784 the two ships of the last voyage of the Swedish East India Company’s Third Charter wintered in Yalong Bay on the south coast of Hainan Island, China. This was an unusual event and someone in one of the ships involved, the Gustaf Adolph, chose to commemorate the experience with a variety of China […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific | East India Company
Subjects include: Art & Music | Merchant Marines

Note: Sir James Caird’s Bust: a tale of three heads

By Pieter van der Merwe

The story behind the marble and stone busts of Sir James Caird. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: The Effect of Catharpings on Shroud Tension and Mast Displacement

By Bob Cann

A discussion, with illustrations Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Speculating Gig Boats, ‘Shilling Sickers’ and Riggers: a Social History of Mersey Watermen

By Michael Stammers

Watermen in small boats performed a range of functions in ports and anchorages both large and small around the British Isles. They acted as tenders, berthed and moved ships, carried crews, passengers and luggage and helped in salvage work. There has been a great deal of research on port labour but this has concentrated on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

A Ludicrous Travesty? James R. Napier and the Lancefield

By Martin Bellamy

When James R. Napier’s shipyard failed in 1861 he was left with the small steamer Lancefield, which he had built to a novel design on his own account. After failing to find a buyer he established a marginally profitable service from Ardrossan to Belfast, but came up against the might of the Glasgow & South Western […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Nostalgia and Imagination in Nineteenth-century Sea Shanties

By Kelby Rose

Shanties were an everyday feature in the lives of nineteenth-century merchant sailors. In their primary function, shanties were used to co-ordinate the heavy physical labour of a group of seamen required to handle a sailing ship effectively. The lyrics of shanties, however, reveal a secondary use of the songs—collective nostalgic expression. Through a thematic analysis, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Repair Records of the Eighteenth-century Navy: the Missing Data

By Barrington Rosier

The Admiralty Progress Books provide the historian with a near continuous record of the building, repair and maintenance of Royal Navy ships over a period of more than two centuries, from around 1700 to 1912. This article analyses information on repairs from the Progress Books that cover the eighteenth century, including discussion of the data […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Navies

Note: The Sale Steamboat Company Ltd, Sale, Victoria 1890-1928

By Colin Jones

This examines the economics of operating a steamboat company to an inland town on the Australian coast. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Beer Luggers

By Peter Thomson

This brief note continues the explanation begun in MM May 1999 of the luggers operating out of Beer. They used power for trawling and so used larger boats. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: Davy Jones’s Locker by W. L. Wyllie, RA: a new addition to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, supported by the Macpherson Collection Endowment Fund of the SNR

By Roger Quarm

This examines the picture, bought for the NMM by the Society, and the wide ranging interests of the artist. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Note: The Effect of Cartharpings on Shroud Tension and Mast Displacement

By Bob Cann

This note develops the description of catharpings given in MM August 2009 by John Harland, examining the effects on models of the tension and mast displacement. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Marine Engine Output of Fenton, Murray & Co, Leeds, 1795-1844

By Paul Murray Thompson

The history of the marine engine component of this textile production firm reveals that for a time they were serious contenders in rivalry with Boulton & Watt steam engines.  Having provided engines for marine use from 1813, these were used in the Mediterranean until 1842. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Ole Crumlin-Pedersen

By Hugh Murphy

Ole Crumlin-Pederson, who died in October 2011, was the founder of the Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, and director of its Centre for Maritime Archaeology. He made a huge contribution to Danish and wider maritime archaeology and his impressive research achievements in this field were widely recognized. In Roskilde, in addition to recovering five eleventh-century Viking […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Importing Nautical Knowledge: Nineteenth-century Specialized Journalism in Spain

By Itsaso Ibáñez, Luis-María Fernández-Martínez & Esperanza Díaz

In Spain, the advancement of science in the nineteenth century was hindered by political instability within the country. Very little domestic scientific production took place, and even less was done to keep abreast of the advances taking place abroad. In scientific and technical disciplines, knowledge transfer occurs primarily through specialized journals, whose readers may effectively […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Miniature Ships in Designed Landscapes

By Alistair Roach

Miniature sailing ships were seen on lakes in a number of English parks and gardens during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were often used for mock naval battles (naumachia), but were also sailed purely for pleasure, or perhaps to provide a focal point within the estate. Between 1689 and 1815 Britain was involved in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Social Politics and the Midshipmen’s Mutiny, Portsmouth 1791

By S. A. Cavell

In 1791 Thomas Leonard, a midshipman assigned to duty aboard HMS Saturn, refused to subject himself to the masthead punishment ordered by his First Lieutenant and triggered a series of events that came to be known as the Midshipmen’s Mutiny. The incident involved the young gentlemen of the Channel Fleet and made visible a break […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

The Jade Dragon Wreck: Sabah, East Malaysia

By Michael Flecker

A shipwreck was recently discovered by fishermen divers just off the northernmost tip of Borneo. While it was heavily looted in the space of a couple of months, an official excavation has resulted in some important discoveries. The ship, dated to about 1300 AD, was of the South East Asian lashed-lug tradition and the ceramics […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Society Annual Lecture 2011 HMS Trincomalee (1817): a Frigate spanning three centuries, also known as TS Foudroyant from 1902 to 1989

By David Smith OBE FNI RN

The lecture covers the complex history of the 38-gun Fifth Rate frigate Trincomalee over nearly 200 years in which her varied career and service to the nation, whether in naval or civilian use, has been brought into focus. Those who wish to read her full story and access technical details and references will find them […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: A Teenage Mariner’s War: 1940–45

By Archie Munro

This account of the convoys to Malta was told to the author by Arthur Young who was at the time a teenaged indentured apprentice in the Clan Line.  He experienced the bombing raids which accompanied ten passages to and from Malta.  Young went on to experience the war at sea in different oceans. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines

Note: Cooking aboard Merchant Ships in the Classical World

By Derek Irwin

This detailed account of cooking facilities used aboard merchant ships in the classical world  uses archeological as well as literary evidence to support the argument that food was both carried and prepared on board during overnight passages in the Mediterranean. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Austin Farrar Memorial Article 2011: Documentation of Working Sailing Craft in the British Isles in the 1930s

By P.A.B. Thomson

This lecture documented the disappearance of working sailing vessels from the 1920s onwards. Acknowledgement of this prompted Frank Carr to publish the survey Vanishing Craft, and to involve the SNR in undertaking detailed documentation of the disappearing world. The quick response by the Society and a research fund brought 160 plans, but once the fund […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Parliamentary Politics and the Singapore Base: a Surplus of Opinions and Few Answers, 1918–29

By Raymond W. Westphal Jr

At the close of the First World War, the British government continued to examine how to defend an empire that spanned the globe. This challenge was compounded by a number of debt-conscious members of the House of Commons and post-war governments who were eager to reduce defence spending. Thus the challenge for the Royal Navy […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Note: The Explosion of the Fort Stikine, Bombay, 14 April 1944

By Derek Ings

An eyewitness account of the explosion which took place while the highly explosive cargo was being unloaded from Fort Stikine in Bombay. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Weapons

William Campbell and the Harrington: Privateering in Chilean Waters in 1804

By Michael Ellery & Philip Gidley King

An account of the seizure of the San Francisco de Paula and Extremeña from Chilean ports by the armed merchant snow Harrington, Captain William Campbell, in 1804. Britain and Spain were not then at war and on the arrival of all three vessels off the Australian coast in March 1805 they were detained by Governor Philip Gidley King pending instructions […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

British Seapower and the Mysore Wars of the Eighteenth Century

By Philip Macdougall

The naval aspirations of Hyder Ali (1760–82) and Tipu Sultan (1782–99), rulers of the southern Indian state of Mysore, is a much neglected subject. In creating a naval force, that clearly emulated those of the European nations, it was seen as a means of first neutralizing the power of the British before being ultimately used […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Anchor-painter, Bow-painter: Etymology

By William Sayers

This discusses the origin of the word ‘painter’ as opposed to shrouds or other ropes. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Some Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century French Trials of Square-rigged Warships Tacking

By Patrice Decencière

There are but a few insights of how sailing ships really behaved when tacked, though many factors might affect the time to complete the manoeuvre. This article is concerned with French tacking trials of square-rigged warships in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and introduces data on comparative performance. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Documentation of Working Sailing Craft in the British Isles in the 1930s

By P.A.B. Thomson

This lecture describes the role of the Society in the project to document working smiling craft on the British Isles during the early decades of the twentieth century. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

Obituary: Lt Cdr Thomas F. (Tom) Peppitt RD RNR

By John Bingeman and Keith Chittenden

Tom Peppitt, who died in 2011, was an active member of the Small Craft Committee (SCC), later the Heritage Craft Committee (HCC). Shortly after joining the SCC he became its Secretary and in 2008 edited the Heritage Craft Committee Newsletter. Much of his career was spent at sea and having spent two years in the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Basis for South Korea’s Ascent in the Shipbuilding Industry, 1970–1990

By Lars Bruno & Stig Tenold

The last 50 years have seen a dramatic shift in the hegemony of the shipbuilding industry. Today more than 90 per cent of the world’s newbuilding orders have been placed at yards in South Korea, China and Japan. South Korea emerged as a major shipbuilding nation in the period from 1970 to the late 1980s, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

‘Hit Hard, Move Fast and Sustain Action’: the Replacement of the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Warfare Squadron and the Rationale for HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid

By Ian Speller

This article examines the circumstances in which the old ships and craft of the post-1945 Royal Navy’s Amphibious Warfare Squadron were replaced by the new assault ships HMS Fearless and Intrepid. It analyses the impact on the requirement for amphibious forces of the change in emphasis in the late 1950s from major war contingencies to a new focus on […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Entirely the Most Absurd and False Narrative that was ever Deliver’d to the Publick’: an Inquiry into what Really Happened on George Shelvocke’s Privateering Voyage

By Tim Beattie

It has been generally agreed that the two contemporary published accounts of the privateering expedition undertaken in 1719 by John Clipperton and George Shelvocke are thoroughly unreliable and the writers, in the words of O. K. Spate, ‘hard liars both’. Recent studies, by Glyndwr Williams (1997), Philip Edwards (1994) and Jonathan Lamb (2001 and 2004) […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Rio Pongo Crisis of 1820 and the Search for a Strategy for the Anti-Slavery Squadron off West Africa

By Bruce L. Mouser

This article focuses upon the conundrums faced in 1820 by an officer of the Anti-Slavery Squadron and by a slave trader resident upon the African coast, neither of whom was certain of the rules of engagement or what might be expected from the other. In this case, forces allied with the slave trader fired upon […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Pechili Trader: a Hull Lines Plan

By Michael Trimming

This article is concerned with the submittal of an original hull lines plan, extracted from reliable contemporary evidence, and primarily based on an outstanding scale model of an authentic traditional Northern China sea-going sailing trading junk: the Pechili (Kiangsu) Trader. It addresses specific challenges to the naval architect from established scholars of Chinese junks. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Quay Voices in Glasgow Museums: An oral history of Glasgow dock workers

By David Walker

An insight into the lives of those who worked in  Glasgow docks, from their own accounts. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Note: The Loss of the MV Dara 8 April 1961

By Robin Knox-Johnston

An account of the loss by fire after an explosion of the MV Dara. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: Patent Topgallant and Topmast Fids

By John Harland

A re-visitation of the subject first authoritatively described 30 years ago, in the light of newly available contemporary texts. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Le Corsaire idéal: the Life of Dublin Mariner Patrick Dowlin, c. 1756–96

By Seán T. Rickard

This article assesses the little-known or documented history of Irish bucker,2 American privateer and French naval officer Patrick Dowlin, encompassing the period of the American War of Independence. It also provides information regarding Dowlin’s closest compatriots and describes several ruses used by smugglers, privateers and their armateurs at sea or ashore in achieving their goals. […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Irish Sea | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

‘This Great Complex Concern’: Victualling the Royal Navy on the East Indies Station, 1780–1815

By Martin Wilcox

The East Indies station was the largest and most challenging area in which the Royal Navy operated during the long eighteenth century. Although operations on the station are well understood, its administration has until recently been the subject of little research. This article, which builds upon work by the author on the victualling of the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

The First Alan Villiers Memorial Lecture: Naval Capability in the Early Modern Period: An introduction

By Jeremy Black

This lecture focuses on the geopolitical consequences of Portuguese entry into the Indian Ocean, the most significant instance of a major change in naval capability in this period. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Society Annual Lecture 2010: Organizational Life Cycles, the SNR and Maritime History

By Richard Harding

This is a study of the Society’s history during its first century, and its relationship to maritime history explored using the metaphor of a biological life cycle. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Note: Lost and Found: the discovery of HMS Solebay at Nevis

By Vincent Hubbard

The wreck of HMS Solebay off Nevis in 1782 was unidentified until an old chart was examined. The causes of the wreck are examined. Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Caribbean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Science & Exploration

Note: The British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd, Deck-passenger Trade

By Tom Kelso

The ships who carried deck passengers,  known as the ‘unberthed’ trade often carried large numbers, which made them ideal as troop carriers when the war needed huge passing carrying capacity. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Are we in Danger of being left with our Journals and not much else: the Future of Maritime History?

By Lewis R. Fischer

What will it take to earn maritime history the respect that it considers its due? This survey of the field suggests that to maximise its full potential maritime history needs to address: contextualisation of its studies, a more international, rather than local or national, approach, asking the questions that drive debates in other fields, making […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Financing the Preservation of Historic Ships: should the UK Taxpayer Pay? An Overview of Past, Present and Future Policy

By Martin Bellamy

Historic ships help to define our national pride and represent our glorious traditions. A survey of ship preservation in the UK reveals a mixed story with successes and failures. Attempts to create a coherent policy on preserving ships have suffered setbacks. Tables set out the distribution of public funds to ship preservation projects. The age-old […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

The Royal Navy in the Twenty-First Century: does it Have a Role Beyond the Defence of British Seas?

By Eric J. Grove

Since the 1960s the Royal Navy has struggled to maintain its global capacity in the face of pressures for economies. The focus of this pressure has been the carrier fleet and the assets needed to allow it to operate effectively. John Nott’s often misunderstood review maintained a maritime expeditionary capability. Cuts prompted the Argentine invasion […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The United States Navy in the Twenty-First Century: Thoughts on Naval Theory, Strategic Constraints and Opportunities

By John B. Hattendorf

Creating a modern navy is a complex matter. Continual reassessment of the strategic situation and the nature of future operations is needed, and it must link into procurement plans. The role of the US navy has moved beyond gaining command of the seas to exercising that command. Its functions are not simply military, but also […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific | Other (location)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

The Royal Navy in the Era of Two World Wars: was it Fit for Purpose?

By N.A.M. Rodger

Predicting the role that a navy will be called upon to adopt is an impossible task, made easier with the benefit of hindsight. Whilst a navy (or a ship) might be best fitted to a particular purpose, successful navies (and warship designs) have tended to be those with the broadest range of general capabilities. The […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Submarines

Going East: was the Shift in Volume Shipbuilding Capacity from Britain and Continental Europe to the Far East and Elsewhere during the Latter Half of the Twentieth-Century Inevitable?

By Daniel Todd

British shipbuilding had by the early twentieth century risen to world dominance as a result of the economic advantages of cluster development. The close ties established between yards and their suppliers through proximate locations produced economic effectiveness. Fatal flaws emerged in the latter twentieth century, in the form of labour problems, congestion costs and managerial […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

Strategies in British Shipping 1945-1970

By R. O. Goss

Structural weaknesses and lack of strategic thinking held back the development of British merchant shipping after the Second World War and led to its decline. The limitations of family owned businesses, the UK Chamber of Shipping and the Shipping Federation contributed to that decline. In particular the lack of advanced economic and technical knowledge and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Changing the Agenda: the New Naval History of the British Sailing Navy

By Roger Knight

Naval history has moved from the study of great men and their strategies and campaigns to the study of the capacity of naval power in the round. Important records came close to being disposed of and no longer available, but were saved by fortuitous interventions. Research into original records, assisted by guides to the use […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Raising the Profile of Naval History: an International Perspective on Early Modern Navies

By Alan James

The organization of violence at sea led to the emergence of national navies in early modern times. Acknowledging the debt owed in this field to Jan Glebe and his magisterial 1993 work Navies, and Nations: Warships, navies and state-building in Europe and America, 1500-1860, the author questions whether theories of military advance by technical revolutions […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

British Marine Painting and the Continent 1600-1850

By Roger Quarm

Illustrated with fine colour plates this article considers the influence of Dutch and Flemish marine artists, including the van de Veldes and Simon de Vlieger, on the development of British marine painting, including Pocock and Turner, and the idea of art as showing the sea and man’s life on the sea with drama and symbolism. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Hook, Line and Sinker: Fishing History – Where Have We Been, Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going

By Robb Robinson

The bibliography of the history of sea fishing is surveyed by an historian and writer in the field who grew up in a fishing community of the sort considered in the books discussed. The works described include notable waypoints, such as the paper on the Sea Fisheries and Fishery population of the UK by the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Naval and Civilian Influences on Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Medical Practice

By Sir James Watt

This posthumously published essay by the former Surgeon Vice Admiral of the Royal Navy considers how naval and civilian medical discoveries, attitudes and practices influenced each other during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Topics considered include the role of citrus juice in combatting scurvy, quinine and malaria, bloodletting, water purity and cholera, timing of amputations […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Royal Navy in the Twenty-first Century: Does it have a role beyond the defence of Britain’s seas?

By Eric J. Grove

The article asks pertinent questions about whether or not the Royal Navy could protect Britain’s seas, and lays out the historical context in which such decisions were made over the years. The response to the threats in many areas and tension between the Royal Navy and NATO was recognised by the acceptance of her ‘particularly […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

Indifference, Destruction, Appreciation, Conservation: A century of changing attitudes to historic buildings in British naval bases

By Jonathan Coad

This article reflects on the changing attitudes to historic buildings in naval bases. The damage done during the war forced some reconstruction, but the ‘plain, strong and convenient’ historic buildings are proving capable of withstanding even present-day economic cuts. Details are given of the conservation carried out at Portsmouth and Chatham, and the successful transition […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

The Construction of Naval History1815-1914

By A.D. Lambert

This article asks important questions about the role of naval history in today’s society, and discusses the different audiences for any work in the areas of naval education, academic scholarship, technical history and politics. The poverty of the historiography of naval history leads to a discussion of naval identity. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Boats, Ships and Wrecks: Maritime Archeology and The Mariner’s Mirror

By Sean McGrail

This article traces the evolution of today’s Mariner’s Mirror from the intentions of a hundred years ago with respect to maritime archeology, research projects in archeology and ethnography, the nautical dictionary, documentation of coastal craft and a museum for excavated boats. Listed are the boat and ship excavations which have been reported such as the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Miscellaneous

Voluntaries and Sea Robbers: a Review of the Academic Literature on Privateering, Corsairing , Buccaneering and Piracy

By David J. Starkey

The century since The Mariner’s Mirror was first published has seen hundreds of publications on the subject of privateering, corsairing, buccaneering and piracy. Starkey traces the work done on what constituted ‘within the law’ activities including reprisals, prize-taking and privateering. The literature has demonstrated that privateering was a significant factor in activity at sea until […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Whipstaff

By John Harland

John Harland described the way in which our understanding of the working of the whipstaff has changed over the period of the publication of the Mirror, and outlined the ways in which the whipstaff was used in vessels of steadily increasing size until the value of the lever was outweighed by the method becoming impractical. […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Society for Nautical Research: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?

By Richard Harding

This article is a reflection on the past achievements of the Society and how the changing context of international maritime history presents it with questions and opportunities. The conditions that enabled the Society to take a pre-eminent role in establishing both public and academic maritime history in the first fifty years of the twentieth century […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

‘Ignorant of Nautical Matters?” The Mariner’s Mirror and the Iconography of Medieval and Sixteenth Century Ships

By Ian Friel

This article focuses on the period Ad400-1600 to indicate how ship representations from this period have always been important sources for research, alongside documentary and archeological evidence. The Mariner’s Mirror has reproduced a number over the years, and they remain an important source for research. Ship graffiti is also mentioned as a research tool, highlighted […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Digs and Documents: Gaps in our Knowledge of Medieval Shipping

By Susan Rose

The article traces the contributions in The Mariner’s Mirror to our understanding of medieval ship building, using visual and documentary evidence. The Grace Dieu is cited as an example of how the study of such ships has developed since 1911. The Newport Ship was an example of a contrasting method, where the ship was dismantled, scanned […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

The Business Interests of Sir James Caird of Glenfarquhar, Bt (1864-1954)

By Hugh Murphy & Derek J. Oddy

Sir James Caird, the major benefactor behind the Save The Victory campaign and the purchase of the Macpherson Collection for the National Maritime Museum, left very few personal documents from which his early years can be studied.     After experience in the Far Eastern trade, Caird became manager of the Elderslie Steam Ship Company importing frozen […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines

The Society for Nautical Research: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?

By Richard Harding

The author reminds the reader of the role of the Society during the 20th century. Founded by educated laymen, antiquarians and amateur historians, the Society also incorporated professional historians. After Sir James Caird’s death the Society no longer had access to unlimited funds, so the Society supported rather than lead the great ship projects such […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Mariner’s Mirror and the Sailing Ship: a Marriage Made in Heaven?

By Frank Scott

This article considers how much space the Mariner’s Mirror has devoted since its inception a century ago to articles, notes, queries and answers, concerning sailing ships and their history. It shows that in its early days this was unfashionable, particularly the study of mediaeval shipping, and the recording of indigenous craft. By contrast it notes […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Royal Navy’s First Manned Aircraft Project

By David Hobbs

The centenary of the construction of the first airship by the Royal Navy is commemorated in this Note.  Vickers were awarded the contract, and HMS Hermes adapted as the first aircraft carrier. The newly discovered alloy, duralumin, was used. New inventions were also used for the design, fabric, glue and the countless other features required […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Oldest Shipwreck: Historical-Archaeological Research of an Early Modern-Era Portuguese Merchantman on the Namibian Coast

By Bruno E.J.S Werz

In 2008, a shipwreck was discovered at a Namibian diamond mine. Excavation of the remains and artefacts was carried out by archaeologists and mining personnel. The wreck was subsequently identified as the Portuguese merchantman, Bom Jesus, lost in 1533. These findings provide a wealth of information on shipping and trade between Europe, Africa and India […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Sea, Ship and Seaman in Early Christian Literature

By R.W.H. Miller

Texts from the early Christian era contain a number of references to the sea, ships and sailors which afford useful information for the maritime historian regarding ships, attitudes to the sea and maritime communities during the Late Antiquity. These writings, primarily of Orthodox Christians, are mainly concerned with the Mediterranean and offer interesting insights into […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Austin Farrar Memorial Article 2010: Forty Years of Around-the-World Yacht Development

By Robin Knox-Johnston

The author details the evolution of yacht design and developments in navigation and communication since the first transatlantic yacht race in 1960. These changes have led to lighter and faster craft resulting in shorter journey times – an advantage for the solo sailor. Improved communications mean that journeys can be monitored, improving the chance of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Typhus and American Prisoners in the War of Independence

By Philip Ranlet

This article reconsiders and re-examines typhus, the prominent pathological killer in the eighteenth century. It primarily concentrates on the causes, nature and effects of the disease in question in relation to the Atlantic world of the late eighteenth century. The case study on which the article is focused is that of the American prisoners during […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

‘Great Expectations’: the Approach of British Ships at the Battle of Trafalgar

By Tony Beales

  This re-examines the battle of Trafalgar through concentrating on the tactics and ship formations conceived by captains present at the battle, namely Horatio Nelson and Cuthbert Collingwood. Information such as diagrams of naval plans are assessed and evaluated to clarify the approach of British ships in the vicinity of the French and Spanish fleets […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

David Thomas and the Schooner Mercury, 1871-1891

By Michael Dey

The life is depicted of David Thomas, an ordinary British captain in the time of Queen Victoria. Captain of the schooner Mercury from 1871 to 1891, Thomas was a part shareholder in the John Duthie and Co naval enterprise, located in Aberdeen. A collection of self-purchased documentation and records (such as shipping provision expenditure and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Early Symbolism of Tarring and Feathering.

By William Sayers

The punishment of tarring and feathering has been carried out since the time of 1189, when it was used in naval contexts to punish those charged with theft or other antisocial acts. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Note: The Steamboats of Lake Wendouree, Ballarat

By Colin Jones

The use of little steamboats on Lake Wendouree is recounted, with an account of their numbers. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

Note: The Mexican Frigate Guadalupe

By Paul Quinn

The innovative designs of John Laird were used successfully in China, and another of his designs was bought by Mexico as a successful deterrent against Texan interests. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Sailing with Arms in the Classical World

By Derek Irwin

Artefacts recovered from shipwrecks in the Classical world have enhanced understanding of trade in the ancient world. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Merchant Marines | Weapons

A Surgeon-Superintendent’s Experiences on a Convict Transport: the Voyage of the Emperor Alexander to Van Diemen’s Land in 1833

By Derek Oddy

The experience of a Surgeon-Superintendent on the convict transport ship, the Emperor Alexander, casts light on aspects of life at sea commonly overlooked. The information derived encompasses the considerable responsibilities existent in the role of Surgeon, concerning conditions on board, education, hygiene and food rationing often causing hostile relations within the ship’s hierarchy. There is […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

The Role of Foreign Experts in the Revival of Scottish Northern Whaling: 1750-1784

By Chesley W. Sanger

Occasional voyages were made by the British to engage in Northern Whaling from the 1630s but the trade only entered a period of rapid expansion from 1750 until, by 1823, the Scots had become the principal suppliers of Arctic whale products. Scottish companies hired experienced Dutch whalers to assist them from 1750 and then in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Arctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Between Venice and the Levant: Re-evaluating Maritime Routes from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century

By Renard Gluzman

John H Pryor in Geography, Technology and War in 1988 claimed that technological constraints and weather patterns led medieval seaman to choose narrow coastal routes following the Northern Shore in the Eastern Mediterranean between Venice and the Levant. Braudel takes a similar view of 16th and 17th century routes albeit for different reasons. These conclusions […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | High Middle Ages | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Victory Cutter

By David Page and Keith Chittenden

A  brief history of the Victory Cutter and its appearances as part of the Small Craft Section  of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Trust Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Document: ‘The Crew Combined like One Man’: the Voyage of Formosa1901–2

By courtesy of Richard Gorski

The Mercantile Marine Act of 1850 required the masters of British registered vessels to compile and return a legal record, an official log, of certain occurrences during a voyage. Presented here are the official logs for the 1901–2 voyage of the sailing vessel Formosa, out from Antwerp to San Diego, and then back, via Astoria […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

The Voyage of an Early Settler to South Australia

By Iain Rodger

This article is based upon a previously unpublished diary and describes an early voyage to the new colony of South Australia. Insights are given into mid-nineteenth century navigation, social conditions aboard ship, empire building and the development of a new colony. In passing, reference is made to extreme weather conditions, fire, theft, near armed insurrection […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Construction Costs of Eighteenth-century Warships

By Barrington Rosier

This article is a detailed study of the costs involved in building warships of the period. It is based on Progress Books One, Two and Five. Direct comparisons between the costs of different vessels are complicated, however, by a number of factors such as variations in contributing elements over time, the extent to which old […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

A Group of Exceptionally Heavy Ancient Sounding Leads: New Data Concerning Deep-water Navigation in the Roman Mediterranean

By Ehud Galili, John Peter Oleson and Baruch Rosen

Eight ancient and heavy sounding leads, seven from off the Israeli coast and one from Tunisian waters are considered in terms of what they tell us of early navigation. The leads were collected from wreck sites and weigh between 14.9 and 20.65 kgs. They date from the second century BC to the sixth century AD. […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Two English West Country Mutual Marine Insurance Societies

By Peter Thompson

Local as opposed to London insurance were pioneered in the North of England, and the companies investigated here operated very similar schemes. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Note: On the improbability of a Swahili origin for the word ‘dhow’.

By James Edgar Taylor

The origins of the use of the word ‘dhow’ in Swahili are painstakingly investigated. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The Battle of Cape Santa Maria 5 October 1804

By Julian de Zulueta

This note gives the Spanish version of this battle, little documented in English.  Four English frigates intercepted and overcame four Spanish vessels carrying treasure back to Spain.  The treasure had subsequently been retrieved by Odyssey Marine Exploration. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Obituary: Surgeon Vice-Admiral Sir James Watt KBE MD MS FRCP FRCS MRCS RNG FSA

By Hugh Murphy, Captain Peter Hore RN and Dr Pieter van der Merwe

Sir James Watt, one of three Hon. Vice-Presidents and former Medical Director-General of the Royal Navy, died in December 2009. Contributions to The Mariner’s Mirror included ‘Surgery at the Battle of Trafalgar: British and French Experiences’ in the May 2005 Bicentenary of Trafalgar special issue and an essay for the Centenary Issue, which was published […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Sir Jacob Acworth and Experimental Ship Design during the Period of the Establishments

By Peter Hemingway

Acworth’s career quickly progressed, hindered only in its success due to suspension for negligence, after which he was quickly reinstated. Acworth had unprecedented control over ship design as Master Shipwright. His contributions included designing light and simple ‘snug ships’. The ‘new manner’ of shipbuilding based on Newtonian theory was embraced by Acworth with mixed, but […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Austrian Succession | English Channel | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

‘Bednelfysch and Iseland Fish’: Continuity in the Pre-Industrial Sea Fishery of North Northumberland, 1300-1950

By Adrian G. Osler and Katrina Porteous

Article examines the record of types, amounts, costs and dates of fish purchased for Durham Priory according to Cellarer’s Account Rolls over 12 months 1333-4 and states that they compare closely to records of 1480-81. Examines records of the cells of Holy Island and Farne 1350-1550 and assesses types of fish caught in artisan fisheries […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Vrijbuiters! Australian Pearl-Shellers and Colonial Order in the Late Nineteenth-Century Moluccas

By Steve Mullins

Part of a research programme into Australian pearl shelling in the schooner era from 1880s to 1914. Considers Dutch colonial attitudes and actions; importance of pearl shell trade to indigenous authorities; local social unrest in the Aru Islands; reactions of Dutch and locals to Australian schooners at different times; resultant diplomatic incidents and British naval […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Technological Advance and Innovation: the Diffusion of the Early Steamship in the United Kingdom, 1812-34

By John Armstrong and David Williams

Traditional historiography presents the emergence of steamships and steam navigation as slow and drawn out. Armstrong and Williams challenge this idea, arguing instead for the rapid and widespread diffusion of steamships around Britain in the immediate aftermath of its innovation in the early nineteenth century. Accounts from contemporaries, and the statistical evidence comprised from parliamentary […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Hydrographer, Science and International Relations: Captain Parry’s Contribution to the Cruise of H.M.S. Chanticleer 1828-9

By A.J. Webb

Captain Parry made significant, yet often unrecognized, contributions to the scientific cruise of HMS Chanticleer. His supply of material and knowledge in hydrography was important to the voyage which would provide the data needed for the Hydrographic Office to use a more accurate geographical framework. As well as further developing the link between the Royal […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Kathleen Scott’s Statue of Captain Smith of the Titanic

By Ann Savours (Dr Shirley)

This note describes the statue erected at Lichfield to the memory of Captain Smith of the Titanic.  The circumstances of the raising of the statue are described, as well as the last moments of his command. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Another Lichfield Sailor

By Pieter van der Merwe

A brief description of a further statue in Lichfield, this one commemorating a Boer war seaman from HMS Powerful. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Macgregor Laird’s Galley – its relevance to African river exploration

By Paul Quinn

This note explains Macgregor Laird’s interest in Africa, particularly Nigeria, and his determination to develop profitable trade there through its river.  He patented an iron ship designed specifically for this purpose, Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Philanthropy and the Cutty Sark: Capt W.H. Dowman and Mrs Catherine Dowman, new Courtauld

By Alan Platt and Robert T. Sexton

This note recounts the part played by Captain Dowman and his wife Catherine, a Courtauld heiress, in the saving of the Cutty Sark. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines

Obituary: Michael S. Partridge PHD FRHistSoc

By Hugh Murphy

Michael Partridge, who died in March 2009, contributed a great deal to the Society. He compiled the Annual Bibliography from its beginnings, with the 2007 issue, published in February 2009, being his last. He was also the Hon. Newsletter Editor from 1993 until May 1996, when he resigned to complete a history of the Royal […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Ann Giffard

By Ann Savours

Ann Giffard, who died in August 2008, was the second wife of Dr Basil Greenhill, former director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (1967–83). Between 1967 and 1984, Ann co-authored a number of Basil’s books, including Women under Sail; Travelling by Sea in the Nineteenth Century; West Countrymen in Prince Edward’s Isle; The British Assault […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

North Sea and Baltic Convoy 1793–1814: as Experienced by Merchant Masters Employed by Michael Henley & Son

By John Barney

Letters to Michael Henley & Son from their ship’s masters provided a source of material for the views and opinions of the convoy systems put in place with the Convoy Act of 1798 during the French wars. The information ranges from ships engaged in commercial trade, to ships used by the Transport Service and their […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Baltic | North Sea | French Revolution
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Loose and Unknown Persons: Listing Seamen in the Late Seventeenth Century

By Margaret Robinson

The confusion evident in the placing of responsibility and over the nature of the listing required makes it necessary to check the reliability of the lists. The masters listed in 1690 can be checked against the Exchequer Port Books and the 1689 lists of ships taken up as troop transports, though unfortunately no such check […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Press Gangs | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Navies

A Place of Considerable Importance: Lord Cochrane and the Siege of Roses 1808

By Justin Reay FSA

Roses was the perfect place for French strategic needs. Less than half a day’s sail from Barcelona and within a day’s fast sail of the main French Mediterranean naval port of Toulon. As Lord Cochrane was to state, ‘the key to Catalonia’ which would only be safe if there was no danger of an assault […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Spanish Succession | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

A Memorial to Hibberts

By Anthony Partington

The hull of a West Indiaman is nearly complete in artificial stone, intended to be placed over the grand entrance into the West India Docks at Blackwall. The length from stem to stern is upwards of ten feet, with height in proportion. The sides are beautifully adorned with all the minute appendages of a vessel […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | French Revolution | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Catharpings, Swifters and Bentinck Shrouds

By John Harland

A discussion of technical terms and background of types of rigging details from the age of sail. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Figurehead of H.M.S. Beagle

By David Pulvertaft

Note on the figurehead in the shape of a small dog, carved in 1819. Its omission in recent literature on the ship is discussed and whether it was actually carved and survived beyond 1841. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Note: A Maritime Snapshot of a Rural Port in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk

By Michael Stammers

A study of the maritime elements ‘beyond the dock wall’ in the rural port of Wells-next-the-Sea, covering location and layout, population, leading citizens, occupational structure and investment in shipping. Early 19th century prosperity declined in the face of technological and trading changes, resulting in the loss of local ship-building and ship owning. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: PQ17

By Richard Walker

Extracts from the diary of a Lieutenant serving on HMS Ledbury, escort vessel for the ill-fated PQ17 convoy, covering events and reactions to them, June-July 1942. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography

The Introduction of the Merchant Shipping Act 1906

By Richard Robinson

A study of the shipping interest’s standpoint on the run up to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906. The Act addressed contemporary anxieties about the competitive position of British ships and the number of foreign, mostly Asian, seamen in British ships. There were differences between owners and associations in different sectors of the industry, though […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

An Admiral and his Money: Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood

By J.D. Hilton FCA

Vice-Admiral Collingwood was an affluent man at the beginning of the nineteenth century but had to manage this growing wealth while absent at sea for long periods at a time. Problems with wealth for the affluent included where to invest their money and with no property, Collingwood chose to invest in British government stocks whose […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Royal Navy Gunners in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

By Gareth Cole

Gunners were warrant officers, appointed by the Navy Board, but permanently attached to their ship. The article examines how a man became a gunner; what was the role of the gunner on board ship once he was warranted; how these responsibilities fitted in with the ordnance and naval aspects of warfare at sea; how the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Weapons

Shipbuilding and Nautical Technology in Japanese Maritime History: Origins to 1600

By William Wayne Ferris

Sources relating to developments in Japanese ship building and maritime practices are sparse before 1600, although evidence does exist in the form of archaeological artefacts, artistic representations and written descriptions. Traditional Japanese ship design and nautical methods had assumed their fundamental shape by 900 AD. This was to change from 1300 AD onwards with Japan […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Late Middle Ages | High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: The Crimean War in Japan

By Colin Jones

A ‘small incident’ of the Crimean War took place in the Pacific Ocean when a  Russian frigate was wrecked off Shimoda. Read More

Filed under: Crimean War | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Document: Lieutenant J.H.E. Hill’s Account of the Shipwreck of the Valke, 10 November 1799

By courtesy of Jane Knight

The letter was written by Hill of the 23rd Regiment of Welch Fusiliers to the Duke of York, Commander-in-Chief of the expeditionary force to Den Helder. The account of the voyage of the Dutch frigate Valke gives a vivid record of a shipwreck in winter in the middle of the night in the cold, grey […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | French Revolution | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Note: The Introduction of Iron Water Tanks in the Royal Navy

By Janet Macdonald

The gradual introduction of iron water tanks in place of wooden casks is examined, their provision by the Victualling Board instead of the Navy Board explained, and their production by Dickinson and Maudsley described. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Obituary: Rear-Admiral E.F. Gueritz CB OBE DSC

By Hugh Murphy

Teddy Gueritz was President of the Society from 1974 to 1991, its longest serving President thus far, and a Hon. Vice-President when he died in December 2008. He joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1937 and after a distinguished career retired in 1973 with the rank of Rear-Admiral. His wartime career spanned serving […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Dr Colin Saunders White

By Campbell McMurray

Colin White, who died in December 2007, was greatly respected both as an outstanding museum professional and naval historian. He joined the staff of the Royal Naval Museum in 1975, as a research assistant, and spent the whole of his professional life in the museum sector. In the mid-1980s he became Chief Curator and Head […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The English Navy in an Irish War: Captain George Rooke’s Squadron and the Jacobite War in Ireland, Summer 1689

By Jon Meredith

The article aims to highlight the important role played by the English Navy, in particular about Captain George Rook and his squadron to counteract the dramatic situation faced by King William III during the Jacobite war in Ireland, after the landing of James II in the summer of 1689 from Scotland. By October, the English […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Irish Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Bermuda Naval Base: Management, Artisans and Enslaved Workers in the 1790s. The 1950s Bermudian Apprentices’ Heritage

By Ann Coats

This article deals with the British Naval base in Bermuda during the 1790s, highlighting the rise in need of slave workers and young apprentices on the naval base after the rise of an independent America and the war of 1812. The emergence of rival navies and trade routes in the North Atlantic led to the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812 | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Shipbuilding & Design

Edwin Fox: a Victorian Seafarer 1825-84

By Iain Rodger

A rare working life account of a nineteenth century sailing merchant seaman from apprentice to master mariner and eventually North Sea Pilot. Closely tied to the Tyne shipping industry, Edwin Fox sailed in more than 40 vessels over a 30 year period, including a brief stint in the Royal Navy. Details include pay, provisions and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

The Society Annual Lecture 2008: The Sea and British National Identity

By Brian Lavery

The author reflects on the sea and the British national identity by considering the two most recent occasions when Britain was threatened with invasion, by Napoleon and Hitler, dispelling some of the myths and drawing certain conclusions, including his belief that survival has imbued the British with a lasting self-respect. The author seems less concerned […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War | English Channel | North Sea | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Lusitania: The Liverpool story

By Eleanor Moffat

The Lusitania display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum has focused on the implications in Liverpool of her sinking. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Employers’ Liability and the Victorian Seaman

By Richard Gorski

Late 19th century measures to make employers in ‘hazardous industries’ liable for workplace casualties were not extended to the shipping industry until 1906. Progress on such measures, from the Employers’ Liability Act 1880 to the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1897, reflected differing approaches of prevention and compensation and were the two principal pieces of legislation relating to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Robert Forbes and Frederic Howes and the Evolution of the Double Topsail

By Frank Scott

in the mid-19th century two American Captains, Robert Forbes and Frederic Howes produced plans for sailing ship rigs that involves splitting the single topsail into two more easily handled smaller sails, lower and upper topsails. Theauthor sets out to clarify the exact nature of the rigs proposed by Forbes and Howes and to explain why […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

‘Eminent Service’: War, Slavery and the Politics of Public Recognition in the British Caribbean and the Cape of Good Hope c. 1782–1807

By John McAleer

The presentation of gifts to successful naval officers in recognition of their achievements provides insights into the political and commercial priorities of those who made the presentations. Many of these ‘objects of esteem’ are in the National Maritime Museum. They provide important insight into the social and economic context and the motives of the donors, […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Other (Eighteenth C) | Caribbean | East India Company
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Cutty Sark’s Second Keel and History as the Ferreira

By Alan Platt, Simon T Waite and Robert T Sexton

This article examines discovery and examination of the composition of the historic vessel Cutty Sark’s keel in 2005, and the history of the vessel as the Ferreira. Also examines the contemporary practices of British shipbuilding and the discrepancies between the registered parameters of Cutty Sark in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping and the results of 2005 and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Warship Figureheads from the Royal Dockyards: towards a National Collection?

By David Pulvertaft

This article re-examined accounts by Douglas Owen of the figurehead collections in the royal dockyards of Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth and Devonport in 1913 and 1914. Pulvertaft analyses and evaluates the objectives of Douglas Owen by focusing on the principal external influences on Owen’s findings (namely the opening of the National Maritime Museum in 1937 and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Models & Figureheads

French Naval Intelligence during the Second Empire: Charles Pigeard Reporting on British and American Shipbuilding (1856-69)

By Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix

This article covers the relatively unknown Charles Pigeard who was the first key informant (unofficially from 1856, officially from 1860) on British naval developments for French naval ministers and the chief constructor Dupuy de Lôme over a period of ten years. Some of his letters can be found in the private papers of rear-Admiral de […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Trained Cooks and Healthy Boys: Reforming the Mess in the Royal Navy before the First World War

By Yuriko Akiyama PhD

Investigates the development of training chiefs for both the Navy and the training scheme for boys at Greenwich School. A broad overview is given leading up to the change in the late 19th and early 20th century. The article accepts the fact that the development of hygiene and good food contributed to the overall improved […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Sailing Under the Red Duster: Maltese Merchant Seafarers in the Twentieth Century

By Carmel Vassallo

The article covers Maltese sailors and officers within the Merchant and Royal Navies in the 20th century, including the roles they undertook with the navies, the loss of personnel, a profile of where on the island of Malta the service personnel came from and their wages. The article relates that the Maltese were generally based […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

A Graffito of a Nineteenth Century Armed Ship from Akko, Israel

By Yaacov Kahanov, Vardit Shotten-Hallel and Deborah Cvikel

This article considers the provenance of a carved stone found in the Hammam, part of a group of historic public buildings that have undergone continual restoration/repairs since construction in Ottoman times. The stone is damaged, though the remaining section of carving shows a sailing ship. The carving is analysed in detail, and the identity of […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Maintaining the Trust: the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, 1858-1972

By Adrian Jarvis

Considers the Board’s policies on the use of trading surpluses, which emanated from the Board seeing themselves as trustees with a duty to pass to their successors a port in a better state than they received it. Includes the Board’s actions and attitudes to local developments and Acts of Parliament. Covers opposition to paying Poor […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Health and Safety in the British Deep-Sea Trawl Fisheries in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

By Susan Capes and Robb Robinson

The paper makes comparisons between the working conditions for those working in deep sea trawlers especially apprentices in the late nineteenth century and the second half of the twentieth century. In the earlier period sailing smacks made up the majority of the fleet especially at Hull and Grimsby. Apprentices were used as crewmen and many […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Arctic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

Note: A Newly Discovered Arctic Whaling Journal of 1774

By AM Barrigon, Bernard Stonehouse and Robb Robinson

The discovery of a rare journal of a whaling voyage provides details of a voyage which would otherwise be unrecorded. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Arctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: A New Interpretation of a Robert Cleveley Watercolour

By Don N Hagist

A close examination of this painting establishes that the title by which it is (was) known at the NMM needed to be altered to match the landing it actually represents. This note indicates that the subject of Robert Cleveley’s painting known as Occupation of Rhode Island, 9 December 1776 is in fact a depiction of the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Hauling out the Mizzen

By John Harland

The expression ‘hauling out the mizzen’ describes the manoeuvre carried out in 17th century sailing ships which needed to tack. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Vice-Admiral George Murray and the Origins of the Bermuda Naval Base, 1794-96

By Malcolm Lester

Murray’s anchorage north of St George’s Island in eastern Bermuda honours the name of Vice-Admiral George Murray, RN (1741-97). This article shows the significance and impact that Murray had in the creation of the naval base here, as well as his career prior to 1794. Vice-Admiral Murray was in charge of a small squadron based […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Three French Sailing Ship Performance Trials

By Patrice Decencière

A French naval officer, Lieutenant de Vaisseau Verdub de la Crenne, with two civilians, undertook a series of trials to understand the capabilities of three pre-clipper ships in 1771. The article introduces those who undertook the trials, and the results that were found. The paper explains what can be learnt from three scientific sailing ship […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Van de Velde Paintings for the Royal Yacht Charlotte, 1677

By Richard Endsor

The eminent painter Willem van de Velde the younger (1633-1707) is probably one of the most technically advanced painters of sailing vessels known. Many of his works provide details of ships that have been lost, but this article explains how two of his paintings were commissioned and by whom, together with the administration of the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Art & Music | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: A Newly Discovered Arctic Whaling Journal of 1774

By A.M. Barrigan, Bernard Stonehouse and Robb Robinson

A rare journal kept by the surgeon on board a whaling ship contains few details, but is a welcome addition to the small numbers of journals of whaling ships. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: Hauling out the Mizen

By John Harland

Expert advice has been gathered on sail handling when tacking, and this note discusses also the usefulness of the whipstaff. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Skimmour, a transient late-medieval term for ‘pirate’

By William Sayers

Textual evidence from Middle English and the Continent are examined, with anecdotes illuminating the uses of the word. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Pirates | Other (location)
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Obituary: David K. Brown MEng CEng FRINA RCNC

By Ian Buxton

David Brown, who died in April 2008, spent the whole of his career with the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors and rose from Assistant Constructor in 1953 to Assistant Director in the 1980s. During his time at the RCNC he was responsible for the preliminary design of the type 23 frigate, the helicopter carrier Ocean, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Robin Craig

By Hugh Murphy

Robin Craig, a long-term member of the Society and a former Councillor, died in June 2007. Growing up in Cumbria engendered a love of ships and the sea, leading to employment in shipping in the City of London. A degree from the LSE was followed by a lectureship in economic history at University College London. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Sinking of the Galleon San Jose on 8 June 1708: an Exercise in Historical Detective Work

By Carla Rahn Phillips, John B Hattendorf & Thomas R Beall

In 1708 a Spanish fleet sailed from the Isthmus of Panama to Cartagena on the northern coast of South America carrying a large amount of gold, silver and other valuables. The Spanish ships were attacked by an English squadron and following a battle, the Spanish flagship San José exploded and sank. No-one knows exactly where […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

The Society Annual Lecture 2007: Politics and Trust in Victualling the Navy, 1793-1815

By Roger Knight

Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Victualling Board was accused of corruption and poor performance. A detailed examination of the evidence shows that most problems were due to inefficient working practices and lack of expertise on the part of the Commissioners. Government reforms had in fact started after the American War and reforms […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies

The Conquest of Scurvy in the Royal Navy 1793-1800: a Challenge to Current Orthodoxy

By Brian Vale

The article reviews how the Royal Navy attempted to understand the cause of scurvy, followed by implementation of a cure and prevention. James Lind undertook trials to cure this common illness, most often found on the long journeys to warmer climates, and the trials he conducted influenced Sir Gilbert Blane and Dr Thomas Trotter to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

The Activities of Chinese Junks on East Asian Seas from the Seventeenth Century to the Nineteenth Centuries: Mainly Based on Sand Junks and Bird Junks

By Matsuura Akira

Chinese sailing vessels flourished from the latter part of the seventeenth century, and continued to enjoy a dominant role in marine transportation until steamships appeared in the mid-nineteenth century. Covering two of the main four types of Junk (sand; bird; Fuzhou; Guangzhau), this article provides trading routes and cargos of the sand and bird junks […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines

Politics and Trust in Victualling the Navy, 1793-1815

By Roger Knight

The article uses Basil Cochrane’s 250 page report attacking the Victualling Board. This was issued to the Admiralty Board in an attempt to get his accounts settled. This formed the basis for the contemporary belief that the victualling of ships for the Navy was not openly and fairly undertaken. Various sources, such as the trial […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Document: Queen Elizabeth’s Instruction to Admiral Howard, 20 December 1587

By courtesy of Geoffrey Parker

An introduction to this transcript of the original instruction written by Queen Elizabeth I, provides a brief review of interpretations of the document and raises concerns how it has been misinterpreted, as the whole document was not read and reviewed. The document shows Elizabeth’s understanding of the need to have flexibility of approach to maritime […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | The Armada | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

H.M.S. Belfast and Operation ‘Neptune’ June – July 1944

By Nick Hewitt

HMS Belfast formed part of the Naval Task Force supporting the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 during Operation Overlord. With only short breaks, she bombarded the French coast near Caen for a total of 33 days. Logs and diaries written by members of the crew provide an insight into the operation.Primary sources have […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Water Jet Lifeboat Duke of Northumberland

By Paul Quinn

The innovative water jet propulsion used in this steam lifeboat is documented, and the rescues which she undertook are detailed. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Slocum in the Azores – facts and fiction

By Rui Arajo

Many details of Slocum’s visit to the Azores are contested in this account of the circumstances which actually occurred. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Leisure & Small Craft

Note: James Bray, Master Shipwright, Malta, 1806–12

By John Wood

A civilian employee appointed by the Admiralty to Malta, Bray established a successful ropery and designed a dry dock. Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

The Royal Naval Hospital at Minorca, 1711: an Example of an Admiral’s Involvement in the Expansion of Naval Medical Care

By Kathleen Harland

In the development of naval hospitals in the early eighteenth century, the initiative of commanders-in-chief was paramount. In Minorca in 1711, Admiral Sir John Jennings headed a campaign to build a permanent hospital in Minorca, a decision that led to clashes with the Admiralty and the Board of Sick and Wounded. His project lends insight […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Mediterranean | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Navies

Ship Graffiti from Akko (Acre)

By Yaacov Kahanov and Eliezer Stern

Graffiti of several vessels, dated to the second half of the thirteenth century, were found on a wall of the Hospitaller Compound at Akko (Acre) in the north of Israel. Three of the most complete and clearest depictions are presented in this article. The graffiti represent small warships equipped with one mast and a lateen-rigged […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Art & Music | Shipbuilding & Design

The Internal Economy of the Royal Navy in the Twentieth Century

By Elinor Romans

The internal economy of the Royal Navy was formed of enterprises both financial and service, in the form of small businesses or sole traders, which provided much needed services (such as hairdressers, tailoring, etc) and money to eke out the poor wages of lower ranks. Although the internal economy was carried out without official approval, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

The Crews of Captain Herbert Huntington Brown, a Bluenose Skipper out of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, 1843-92

By A.B. McLeod

The Victorian government’s regulation of Crew Agreements for merchant ships trading through British ports provided a source of material on the crews carried in them. The information derived from the agreements ranges from wages, the age and origins of the sailors, their literacy and likelihood to desert. Indications of humanity and discipline can also be […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

The Rudder of the City of Adelaide

By Alan Platt and Robert T. Sexton

The rudder of the City of Adelaide is 13 years younger then the surviving hull, which was launched by William Pile at Sunderland in 1864. The article covers the loss of the rudders of numerous ships, including the Cutty Sark, and the serious outcome of steering and navigation of a ship. The loss of rudders […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Codex Palatinus Graecus 367: a Thirteenth-century Method of Determining Vessel Burden?

By Matthew Harpster and Nicholas Coureas

Codex number 367 in the Vatican Library consists of 195 folios. Folios 88b to 91a contain the Guild of Notaries for Cyprus’ transcription of a method for measuring vessel burden with standard-sized baskets. This article contains a translation of the relevant folios 88b – 91a, as well as an analysis of the calculation and vocabulary […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Her Majesty’s Inspectors in Admiralty Schools, 1839-1864

By H.W. Dickinson

In 1839 the educational activities of the Admiralty were principally directed to the training of officers. A school had been established in Greenwich in 1694 for children of naval pensioners and those who had died at sea but by 1840 the institution was failing its students and their Lordships requested a competent person to examine […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Charles Wye Williams, Boilers and Fuel

By Paul Quinn

Charles Wye Williams (1780-1866) was a scientist, industrialist and one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent steamship owners, and an early student of the chemistry of combustion in marine boiler furnaces. From 1838, his work on improving the efficiency of marine steam engines led to the adoption of improved furnaces designs, changes to the shape […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Irish Sea | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Remains of the Ancient Ports and Anchorage Points at Miyani and Visawada, on the West Coast of India: a Study Based on Underwater Investigations

By A.S. Gaur, Sundaresh and Sila Tripati

An extensive underwater visual inspection was made of the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat, India, between 2004 and 2006. A number of Stone Anchors, Indo-Arabia, Ring Stone and Composite types, were found and analysis suggested that the mouths of sheltered creeks were being used as anchoring points between the early Christian and early Medieval periods. Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards

The Society Lecture 2006: The Battleship is Dead, Long Live the Battleship! H.M.S. Dreadnaught and the Limits of Technological Innovation

By Eric Grove

  HMS Dreadnaught, laid down on 2 October 1905, was the first armoured ship with an all-big gun armament.   She was the logical outcome of many years of steady development in ship and engine design, hastened by rapid development in gunnery and fired by the drive and imagination of Admiral Sir John Fisher, the First […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Early Seafaring in Northwest Europe: Plank Boats, Logboats and Hide Boats

By Seán McGrail

This article examines a possible tradition of prehistoric plank boats and early logboats and hide boats.   The evidence from remains of prehistoric log boats is discussed, and early methods of propulsion examined. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

U.S. Naval Intelligence and the Imperial Japanese Fleet during the Washington Treaty Era, c.1922-36

By Douglas Ford

Following the Washington naval arms limitation agreement of 1922 intelligence on the Imperial Japanese Navy became a top US priority. The limited intelligence sources available to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and the range and assessment of information obtained are discussed. The ONI’s assessment is discussed in detail showing an overall underestimate of Japanese […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

The Growth of Britain’s Refrigerated Meat Trade, 1880-1939

By Derek J Oddy

Transport of meat required cold storage at port of loading, on-board and on discharge. The discussion concentrates on mechanical on-board systems. Early voyages under sail required auxiliary engines, later main boilers powered refrigeration. Details of a typical sail and steamship are provided. Detailed figures demonstrate expanding capacity and full shift to steam propulsion during the […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Logistics | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

“The Empire Strikes Back”: the Falklands/Malvinas Campaigns of 1982

By Philip Pugh

The chronology of the Falklands war is recounted with comments on logistical and operational constraints. Historical conclusions arising from the campaign, their intrinsic interest and current relevance are discussed. The ability of navies to maintain a global reach has not been seriously addressed or lessons learned. Expeditionary warfare is expensive. Carrier borne aircraft were unable […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Post WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines | Weapons

Peter Carder’s Strange Adventures Revealed

By Amilcar D'Avila de Mello

Peter Carder sailed with Drake during the famous 1577-80 circumnavigation of the world. His account of his adventure in South America was published in London in 1625 and widely accepted as truth.   Was Carder a skilled sailor, great mathematician, attacked and held captive? Did he live amongst cannibals? Could he have paddled 1,900 nautical […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Francis Drake | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Daggers Drawn: Relations between the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board and Outside Bodies from Central Government Downwards c.1850-1972

By Adrian Jarvis

Details the rise and fall in fortunes of MD&HB from its inception to decline. Despite being the first civilian port authority to install both radar and a computer, as well as anticipating the forthcoming container revolution, (while turning down plans for expansion that would undoubtedly have caused an earlier decline), the organisation would encounter total […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

The Ashmolean Ship Model

By Alistair Roach

The Ashmolean Museum houses the oldest English ship model in existence, although its provenance and raison d’être has never been fully established. Details of the model, and restoration work carried out, are given as well as opinions on its provenance. Photographs are also provided showing the condition before and after restoration. The paper seeks to […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

The Nature of the Bounty Mutiny: An Attempt at Definition

By Rolf E DuRietz

Re-assesses the already well documented incident with the emphasis on Fletcher Christian’s involvement and leadership in the mutiny. Significant previous research is comprehensively listed. The author concentrates on the seven categories that define the cause, origin, actual/anticipated success, determinants of the selected course of action, course of events, consequences and nature of the rebellion. The […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

‘Now is Our Time, the Ship is Our Own, Huzza for the Red Flag’: Mutiny on the Inspector, 1797

By Ann Hawkins and Helen Watt

Using newly discovered material from the National Archives, the authors detail events aboard the sloop Inspector (16) as well as more central issues surrounding the Nore mutiny. Ship’s captain, Charles Lock’s report is examined; this covers the period from 27 May, when Inspector arrived at Yarmouth, through her mutiny, from 30 May, when she was […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Mutiny & Discipline | French Revolution
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Adventuring Your Estate: the Origins, Costs and Rewards of Woodes Rogers’s Privateering Voyage of 1708-11

By Tim Beattie

In August 1708 the Duke and Duchess; two private men of war, set sail from Kingroad, near Bristol. This was a commercial venture supported by the Crown, but funded privately by West Country businessmen who were yet to benefit from the burgeoning slave trade. By some measures it would be the most successful privateering expedition […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Spanish Succession | Pirates | Pacific
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The British Contribution to Seafarers’ Welfare in Mediterranean and Black Sea Ports Since the 1820s

By Alston Kennerley

The seamen’s mission movement was globalized from the 1820s. In Mediterranean and Black Sea ports welfare was early provided by the Nonconformist BFSS (the British and Foreign Seamen’s Friend Society and Bethel Union), conducting shipboard services on Sundays. From the 1830s to 1860s the society declined, but the Consular Advances Act (1825) gave state support […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Navies

The Ascent of Extranational Tide Tables

By Paul Hughes and Alan D. Wall

The nineteenth century saw the development of tidal prediction from synthetic, which predicts high and low water for diurnal and semidiurnal tides, to harmonic, which deals with the whole tidal profile. Starting in 1839, France had by 1874 calculated fifteen home ports, and her colonies with a volume based on Tonkin in 1873; America had […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1 | English Channel | Interwar | Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Pacific | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies | Science & Exploration

The Supply of Casks and Staves to the Royal Navy, 1770–1815

By Roger Morriss

The sailing Royal Navy needed wooden casks for fresh water, alcohol and food. Consumption peaked in 1805: Deptford Yard issued 72,253 tight casks and 72,073 dry casks, and the annual average at Portsmouth was 10,000 and at Plymouth 21,700. From the 1780s cask staves were principally English beech, from 1800, oak from Quebec, but the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Baltic | English Channel | American Revolution | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies

William Scamp and his Early Naval Works in the Mediterranean

By Philip MacDougall

The architect William Scamp (1801–72) was chief assistant to the Director of Admiralty Works 1845–52 then Deputy Director 1852–67. In 1841 he built for the Royal Navy a new steam-powered bakery at Malta, with iron stanchions and ceiling support joists on all three storeys, and completed the church of St Paul. In 1844 he started […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Logistics | Navies

Spies Versus Prizes: Technology Transfer Between Navies in the Age of Trafalgar

By Larrie D. Ferreiro

Britain, France and Spain shared or stole naval technology in the century before Trafalgar. France preferred industrial espionage; Britain, capturing ships; and Spain, a combination of exchanges and espionage. Jorge Juan y Santacilia (in 1749–50) brought techniques and over eighty skilled craftsmen to Spain, resulting in the ‘construcción a la inglesa’; Henri Louis de Fulque […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War | English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Fourteenth-Century English Balingers: Whence the Name?

By William Sayers

The etymologies of ‘balinger’ in the OED, from Fr. baleiner, ‘whaling ship’, and in the Middle English Dictionary, from Old French balingue, ‘beacon at sea, buoy’, are discounted, as is the route from Romance words for ‘coaster’, from Dutch bylander, in favour of Old Norse byrðinger, and thence to Middle Irish birrling and birlinn and […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | High Middle Ages | North Sea | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

From Nelsonic to Newtonian: the Development of Anti-Submarine Warfare in the North Atlantic 1939-45

By Marc Milner

For most of WW2, the U-boat war was largely fought on the surface with consequences for the ways in which Anti-Submarine Warfare developed. By May 1943, the Allies had perfected these methods and radar location by aircraft increasingly facilitated the identification of and attack on U-boats travelling on the surface. Following the introduction of the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Submarines

Logistics for Commerce War in the Atlantic during the First World War: the German Etappe System in Action

By Javier Ponce Marrero

At the beginning of WW1, Germany planned to disrupt British Atlantic supply routes with cruiser warfare. Light cruisers and armed merchant steamers were supported by a system of supply areas, Etappen, organised in neutral countries with fast steamships carrying supplies to agreed rendezvous points. The importance of the Canary Islands is discussed together with the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Two years off Provence: the Victualling and Health of Nelson’s fleet in the Mediterranean, 1803 to 1805

By Janet Macdonald

The paper discusses the logistical difficulties of providing sufficient provisions to the Toulon squadron, particularly beverages and fresh food, which needed to be replenished frequently. The logistics and challenges of sourcing these from locations such as the Madalena Islands, Naples, Barcelona and Sicily are discussed, together with the work of the agent victualler, Richard Ford, […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Smugglers’ Shipbuilder: the Customers, Trades and Vessels of a Mevagissey Shipyard, 1799-1816

By Helen Doe

The surviving papers and ledgers of a West Country shipbuilder have been reviewed to ascertain its customers and the build and design of its vessels. The company’s main markets included the fishing, coastal trade and smuggling community and each of these is described, together with the types of vessels constructed for them. It concludes that […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Shipbuilding & Design

Octants from the Friesian Island of Fohr for Dutch and German Whale Men, 1760-90

By W.F.J. Morzer Bruyns

During the second half of the 18th Century, a considerable number of octants (Hadley’s quadrant) were produced on Fohr. The whaling and farming community on Fohr is described, together with the spread of the use of octants across European seafaring communities from the 1730’s onwards. A number of octants produced on the island have been […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Whaling & Fishing

Macgregor Laird, Junius Smith and the Atlantic Ocean

By Paul Quinn

The early tribulations of steamships crossing the Atlantic are examined in the light of the claim that such crossings were ‘chimerical’. The reasoned response by Samuel Cunard and the ships built by Macgregor Laird and Junius Smith are examined in detail, and the crossings of the British Queen and the President related. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

The Drift Of The Barque Craigmullen: Dispelling The Myth

By Charles Clark

The infamous voyage of the Craigmullen is examined to dispell the myths and establish what actually happened. Having been becalmed in the Luzon Strait, did only three of her crew survive? Did she really drift across the Pacific? This Note gives the real story, a much more interesting one than the myth. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Speed, Navigational Accuracy and the ‘ship log’

By Frank Scott

This note explains the theory and practice of using a ‘ship log’ to calculate speed and distance run. The first original English contribution to the mariner’s art, the sand-glass timer, hand-reel and weighted logline were used from the time of the Mary Rose to the record breaking clipper Lightning. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Exodus Explained: the Fate of Ships Sold from Norway, 1970–1987

By Stig Tenold

From 1977 to 1987 the Norwegian merchant marine declined by almost 80 per cent by tonnage. This article describes the reasons for the collapse, and argues that there were two primary causes: first, the post-OPEC shipping crisis forced numerous Norwegian owners to sell ships; second, the high cost of registering in Norway pushed some ships […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Post WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Hero Packs a Punch: Sir Charles Hotham, Liberalism and West Africa, 1846–1850

By Mark C. Hunter

Patrolling against the slave trade on the West African coast presented Royal Navy commanders with unique challenges. The Admiralty therefore selected officers for the station based on their diplomatic skills and social connections. Sir Charles Hotham’s command in the 1840s provides a useful window into how the informal empire was administered. Hotham’s actions reflected the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Coastal Shipping in Cumberland, 1680–1740

By M.J. Robinson

This article refocuses scholarly attention from large-scale ocean-going trade to the important but overlooked coastal shipping trade. Using Cumberland in the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth century as a case study, it contrasts the coastal traffic from Whitehaven with that of Carlisle. For the former, coastal cargoes were of peripheral interest compared with international cargoes; for the […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

The Use of Quicklime in Medieval Naval Warfare

By William Sayers

Whether medieval navies used quicklime to incapacitate enemy sailors and to render their decks treacherous has not been satisfactorily answered. Drawing on the accounts of numerous medieval authors, including literary figures, this article proposes that quicklime was seen as a potential weapon. Evidence from actual sailors is admittedly scant, but observers described its use in […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel | High Middle Ages | North Sea | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

Note: Thomas Assheton Smith’s Steam Yachts

By Charles Dawson

The eight steam yachts built for this wealthy business man were amongst the first to use steam, and were intended as experimental examples of the study of wave form. The Note examines each in turn. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Q-Ships of Granton Naval Base

By Richard J.B. Walker

The fascinating story of the sailing ships equipped as Q ships which confronted German submarines in the North Sea is told here, including the contribution from Joseph Conrad. Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

Note: Early Iron Ships on the River Shannon

By Andrew Bocock

The brief role of steam ships navigating the River Shannon is examined, with descriptions of the ships involved and passengers carried, as well as photographs and plans. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Document: Masts, Cordage and Iron Guns: Maintaining a Tudor War Fleet in the 1540s

By courtesy of Professor John D. Fudge

In the waning years of his reign Henry VIII spent a sizeable fortune, upwards of £2 million sterling, on military campaigns against the Scots and French. William Watson, Henry’s agent in Danzig, arranged purchases of naval supplies in the Baltic port and had them sent to the Keeper of the King’s Ships at Deptford Strand […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies

Royal Naval Psychiatry: Organisation, Methods and Outcomes, 1900-1945

By Edgar Jones & Neil Greenberg

This paper charts the rise of the Royal Naval psychiatric service and identifies the unique issues relating to combat at sea. The article traces the history of mental illness from the incidences noted in the 17th century to the present day, when neurasthenia was most commonly used to identify casualties. In 1942, despite optimistic forecasts […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Straws in the Wind of Change: a Business Study of Two Barques in the Earlier Years of Sail’s Decline

By Alan Platt

Rarely used documents outline the commercial successes of two barques from Glasgow which took on the Far Eastern trade in the 1870s and early 1880s. The changing cargoes reflect the measure of the impact of the Suez Canal on such trade routes. The pay back time of 7.6 years proved this a very profitable enterprise. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

The Customs Service in the West Country, 1671-1692

By Dr Stephen A.Timmons

This article explores the little known world of the Customs Service as a tool of royal authority.   The role of customs at the port of Exeter until 1683 is outlined, together with the problems caused by obstinate bureaucracy. However the Customs Service was the first line of defence against agitators, as detailed in William Culliford’s […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Evolution of Japanese Maritime Technology: from Borrowed Design to Indigenous Concept

By David G. Wittner PhD

This article traces the extent to which Japanese maritime history can be seen to fall into three parts: the first covers the years from antiquity to 1639; the second takes the story up to 1868; the third, which brings the history up to date, is supposed to be the period during which Japan caught up […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Friendship, Humanity and Heroism: The Legacy of 2005

By Colin White

The text of the speech given by Colin White at the National Trafalgar Night Dinner in 2005. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

Warships, Cargo Ships and Adam Smith: Trade and Government in the Eighteenth Century

By Richard W. Unger

In The Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith argued against current economic policies related to trade and the navy, giving them less credit for positive long-term growth in the British economy than they deserved.  This essay suggests that Smith’s negative focus on government debt and expenditure must be balanced by acknowledgement that government intervention contributed […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

Francis Davenport’s Tonkin Tidal Report

By Paul Hughes and Alan D. Wall

Written in 1678 and published in1684, Francis Davenport’s report of once a day tides in the Kingdom of Tonkin had a direct influence on Newton’s equilibrium theory of tides.  This essay describes the recently discovered original manuscript of the report (part of a set of sailing directions for entering the Cua Cam River), presents an […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

The Rise and Fall of the Bristol Channel Herring Fishery with Especial Reference to Porlock, Somerset, 1580-1830

By Philip Ashford

Herring were fished commercially in the Bristol Channel, including from Porlock, until the early years of the twentieth century. This essay presents an historical overview of the industry, with special attention to its peak during the period of 1660-1740, and argues that the throughout northern Europe the enormous fluctuation in herring catches and their sudden […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The Fisherman who Nearly Started a War with Japan

By Joe Follansbee

In May 1938, an American cod fisherman, Captain J.E. Shields, achieved instant celebrity when he sent a message to the mainland asking for a dozen high-powered rifles to use against Japanese salmon fishermen in the Bering Sea. This essay explores the sources of Shields’s aggression: personal gain, individual racism, competition between Japanese and American fishermen, […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Pacific
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The Nore Mutiny—Sedition or Ships’ Biscuits? A Reappraisal

By Anthony Brown

The Nore mutiny of March-May 1797 has been attributed to many factors including a large influx of quota men, infiltration by the United Irish, and the influence of radical societies. Based on close analysis of ships muster books to determine the movement and affiliations of the seamen involved, this essay argues that none of the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Mutiny & Discipline | French Revolution
Subjects include: Navies

David Balfour and Early Modern Danish Ship Design

By Dr Martin Bellamy

An account of the life and working practices of an accomplished ship designer.  Although born in St Andrews, Balfour was first given a contract in Denmark for two galleys in 1597 at the age of only 23, immediately followed by a warship commissioned  by King Christian IV.  Balfour’s ship plans are in the Danish state archives. […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Ships of the Spanish Main. Palacio on proportions and burden

By A.G. Mawer

The colonial administrator, Palacio, wrote down the proportions of ships, and related this to their capacity for carrying cargo. He was not interested in speed, but in carrying capacity, dependant as that was on the division of internal space Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Notes: Ships of the Spanish Main. Palacio on proportions and burden

By A.G. Mawer

The colonial administrator, Palacio, wrote down the proportions of ships, and related this to their capacity for carrying cargo. He was not interested in speed, but in carrying capacity, dependant as that was on the division of internal space Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

More Bang for a Bob: the Decision to ‘Go Nuclear’ and its Impact on Chatham Dockyard

By Emma Haxhaj

Since 1908 Chatham Dockyard had specialised in the building of conventional submarines, but Britain becoming an independent nuclear power in 1957 heralded change. After abandonment of Blue Streak and Skybolt (both RAF operated), the Polaris project, together with nuclear-propulsion, increased the size and technology of submarines. Vickers-Armstrong became the lead building yard for these boats, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Submarines

Advancing Navigation in Eighteenth-Century France: Teaching and Instrument-Making in the Port of Rochefort

By A.J. Turner

In the 17th Century the French developed the port of Rochefort as a naval base, and courses of instruction by a professor of hydrography were initiated for potential ships’ officers. This was followed in 1682 by the setting up in parallel of the Ecole des Guardes de la Marine. This Ecole provided a comprehensive syllabus […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Administration | Science & Exploration

NOTE: Two Days in a Belize Sailing Lighter

By Peter Thomson

A reminder that even in this technological age there is still a need for low technology services at the margin of the economy. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

Note: The Lugger Brilliant. An Anglo-French sea-link between Polpero and Bayonne at the end of the 18th-century.

By Jean Rouffet

An image of a vessel on a French plate sparked an investigation into her name and ownership which went back to the privateer operating out of Polperro in the late 18th century. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Art & Music | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Watering the Fleet and the Introduction of Distillation

By E.M. Diamond and K.T.H. Farrer

From the 14th Century it had been known that Arab chemists had distilled fresh from seawater; and throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries individual scientists and shipmasters had experimented with distillation.  This covers the history of distillation of water on ships at sea and experiments conducted by James Lind during the eighteenth century. An […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

Early Seafaring in Northwest Europe: Could Planked Vessels have Played a Significant Part?

By John Coates

Discusses the capabilities and limitations of the three main types of sea-going craft built during the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Ages, i.e. logboats, hide boats and wooden planked boats. The remains of wooden planked boats excavated at Ferriby on the River Humber, over a period from 1937, and sailing a half-scale reconstruction of one on […] Read More

Filed under: Prehistory | North Sea
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Lugger Brilliant An Anglo-French sea-link between Polperro and Bayonne at the end of the eighteenth century

By Jean Rouffet

Investigation of an illustration on a plate dating from 1800 led to the discovery that the vessel Brilliant was captured from the Cornish cree who had been granted privateer status, and resumed a succesful career as part of the French navy. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Note: Alexander Cowan, Shipwright, 1904-2003

By Alan Platt

The long life of one of the shipwrights on the Clyde who survived the changing fortunes of the industry. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Biography | Harbours & Dockyards

Note: The First Steamer to Cross the English Channel

By Charles Dawson

An investigation as to which steamer was in fact the first to achieve the crossing and to work in France. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

‘The First Fleet Victory Since Trafalgar’: the Battle of Cape Matapan and Signals Intelligence, March 1941

By L. Johnman & H. Murphy

A synthesis of the available material on the battle and an evaluation of its strategic significance with particular emphasis on the role played by ‘Ultra’, the British decrypts of Axis signals in the lead up to the battle. Matapan was the first fleet action in which carrier-borne aircraft played a vital and indispensable role in […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

From Private to Official Hydrography: the Charts and Sailing Directions of Joseph Dessiou (1743–1822) and his Son, Joseph Foss Dessiou (1769–1853)

By Susanna Fisher

Joseph Dessiou of Dartmouth was of a seafaring family engaged in the Newfoundland trade. He undertook hydrographic surveys during his seagoing career as a master and in later life turned to chart compilation for commercial publishers. His son Joseph Foss Dessiou, a master first in the merchant marine and then in the Royal Navy, also […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines | Navies | Science & Exploration

Innovation and Surface Ships: the Type 82 Destroyer and the Future Fleet Working Party

By Andrea Ellner

The Type 82 or Bristol-class destroyer was to be a class of Royal Navy warships intended to primarily serve as escorts to the planned CVA-01 aircraft carriers. After the cancellation of the carrier order in the February 1966 Defence White Paper it fell to the Future Fleet Working Party (FFWP), established in March 1966, to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

The Perth Steam Packet Company and the Atholl: an Example of the Life of an Early Steamship Company and its Ship

By Dr J. Colin Bain

The Perth Steam Packet Company was founded in 1822 to establish a Perth based steamboat, to ply the Tay between Perth and Dundee. Its only ship the Atholl was built in that year at James Brown’s yard at Lime Shore, Perth. She was of about 80 tons and 30 hp. Some two years later the […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

The Origins, Conduct and Outcome of the British Naval Exercises of 1885

By Matthew Allen

The naval exercises of 1885 at Berehaven under the command of Admiral Hornby, Commander in chief Portsmouth, were the epitome of the close relationship between naval training and naval doctrine during the ironclad era. They rehearsed the establishment of an advanced base in hostile waters, an essential component of both an effective close blockade and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | English Channel | Irish Sea | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Note: Hawser-Laid/Cable-Laid

By John Harland

The significance of the difference in meaning between these two terms, dependent as they are on which side of the Atlantic they are used. English sources make the distinction that hawser-laid ropes are laid right-handed‘with the sun’, while cable-laid are against the sun. In America, cable or hawser laid rope is left-handed rope of nine […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

‘A Man of Business’: Nelson as Commander in Chief Mediterranean, May 1803 – January 1805

By Colin White

The Nelson letters published in 2005 include over 500 dating from 1803-5 that demonstrate his attention to detail as well as to strategy.  Maintaining his lines of communication; encouraging his officers; prescribing operational tactics; protecting commerce; securing provisions and naval stores; organising reconnaissance and nurturing diplomatic relations: all received Nelson’s attention, together with the previously […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

Buying Nelson: Sir James Caird’s Gifts to the National Maritime Museum

By Roger Quarm

As well as other magnificent and wide ranging gifts to the National Maritime Museum, Sir James Caird contributed substantially to its collection of oil paintings, prints, drawings and watercolours associated with Nelson.  Caird’s correspondence with Sir Geoffrey Callender between 1929 and 1946 reveals their feelings about the relevance and cost of potential purchases.  The work of Wyllie […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Nelson and the Perfect Muster Book

By Roger Knight

Nelson in 1790-91 was out of favour with the Admiralty, which is usually attributed to his support for Prince William Henry in the Prince’s dispute with Lieutenant Schomberg.  But Nelson had also been censured for supporting the Prince when in 1786 he failed to deliver a complete muster book at Antigua.   This perhaps was seen […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | French Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Administration

Nelson and the Eastern Mediterranean 1803-5

By Jane Knight

In 1803 control of the Adriatic was disputed; French troops occupied Italy; their privateers threatened commerce with the Levant; and Nelson was under orders to maintain good relations with Russia and Turkey.  With overland communications blocked, and the Government anxious for intelligence, Nelson’s effective and cordial communications with the British ambassador in Constantinople and consuls […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration

John Richards Lapenotiere and HM Schooner Pickle and their Fifteen Minutes of Fame

By Peter Hore

35-year old Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere had sailed to the Pacific but lacked ‘interest’; the origins of the Pickle are unclear; after rescuing Jeanette from the burning French Achille, they were chosen in the storm after the Battle of Trafalgar to carry Collingwood’s despatches to England.   Lapenotiere sailed north for nine days, landing at Falmouth […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War | English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Trafalgar 1805: Strategy, Tactics and Results

By Rémi Monaque

This article examines the campaign and battle of Trafalgar from the French perspective. Poorly conceived by Napoleon, who was ignorant of sea power and without competent professional advice, the campaign could only have been saved by a commander of exceptional talent. Admiral Villeneuve was not such a man. Pessimistic from the outset, he was unable […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Saving the Victory

By Alan Aberg

This article chronicles the connection between the Society for Nautical Research and HMS Victory. The lack of conservation during the nineteenth century had led to her condition giving real cause for concern, and the Society initiated the fund-raising drive which enabled first her removal into dry dock and then the program of restoration and conservation […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

The Hero Packs a Punch: Presenting Nelson in the London Charivari

By Huw Lewis-Jones

In the nineteenth century prints and engravings depicting Nelson were hugely popular, and the comic journal Punch contained many examples.   This article details some of the subjects taken up by Punch, including the protracted debates of the Nelson Memorial Committee about Trafalgar Square. The subjects chosen by Punch over the years are listed, up to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography | Navies

Robert Southey, his Biography of Nelson and the ‘Deplorable Transaction’

By Mike Baker

Robert Southey wrote his Life of Nelson in 1813 and this biography is responsible largely for the concept today of Nelson as the quintessential heroic figure. Southey harshly criticised Nelson for his actions regarding the court martial and subsequent execution of Commodore Caracciolo in 1799. The sources used by Southey were flawed as were his […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The First HMS Implacable

By Alan McGowan

This article begins with HMS Implacable’s career as Duguay–Truin before she was captured by Sir Richard Strachan after Trafalgar. As part of Sir Samuel Hood’s squadron in the Baltic for four years, Implacable was instrumental in taking the Sewolod in a daring manoevre. The article lists the rest of her career, finally no longer as […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

Surgery at Trafalgar

By Sir James Watt


The success of surgery at sea depended upon the health and welfare of the patient as much as the skill and experience of the surgeon. The disparity between the health, hygiene, morale and medical support between the two fleets could not have been greater. The article outlines the British as opposed to the French surgical […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

The Final Sacrifice off Cape Trafalgar

By Julian de Zulueta

This article is a deeply personal account of the battle from a widely respected scholar. He lays the responsibiity for the tragedy of Trafalgar at Napoleon’s door, detailing his design for the great enterprise and the extent to which Napoleon underestimated his own fallibility. The article details the strength, design and speed of the Spanish […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

‘…All was hushed up’: the Hidden Trafalgar

By Dr. Michael Duffy

Examination of the performance of British admirals and captains at Trafalgar reveals great differences in their abilities. Comparison of Nelson’s battle plan, the order of battle he allotted to his ships, and the times at which they opened fire show that half were in action within twenty minutes of Nelson and Collingwood and bore the […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

Upnor Castle and Gunpowder Supply to the Navy 1801–4

By Andrew Saunders

This article is based on the hundreds of letters written by the Board of Ordnance to the magazine establishment at Upnor Castle between 1801-4, with others from various sources. The letters refer to the supply of gunpowder and its nature, the storage of powder, its retrieval from ships returning from service and the changing nature […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Weapons

The Prospects and Promotion of British Naval Officers 1793-1815

By Charles Consolvo

The careers of 225 lieutenants commissioned in November 1790, are examined using a quantitative approach to describe the group’s characteristics and progress in their careers, including: age and position; years of active service; health and mortality; and the role played by interest in promotion. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Biography

‘Victory or Death’: Edged Weapons and Small Arms Relating to the Battle of Trafalgar in the National Maritime Museum

By Liza Verity

A brief survey of weapons that are directly or indirectly related to the battle of Trafalgar and which are held in the NMM collection. Described are the different types of edged weapons and firearms used by British, French and Spanish officers and sailors during the battle as well as presentation pieces. Also included are extracts […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

From Hawke to Nelson: Strategical and Tactical Comparisons

By Dr Ruddock Mackay

The achievements of Admiral Edward Hawke (1705 – 1781) are compared with those of Nelson. While Nelson had little success in finding enemy fleets away from port, Hawke, in contrast, made several decisive victories by intercepting French fleets on the high seas. In the tactics of battle, Nelson followed, and built on, the example set […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Keppel At Algiers: Diplomacy and the Limitations of Naval Power

By David Syrett

The seizure, in March 1749, of a British Post Office packet, the Prince Fredrick, sparked a confrontation which twenty six year old Hon. Augustus Keppel, Commodore of the Royal Navyís Mediterranean was charged to resolve through diplomacy. In the event neither the ship nor its cargo of bullion and diamonds were restored to the British […] Read More

Filed under: Austrian Succession | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Naval Signal Posts on the Coast of Southern England 1794-1815

By John E. Goodwin

The establishment a of a chain of signal posts along the channel coast of Southern England had been proposed as early as 1785 by a committee chaired by the Duke of Richmond but would not be implemented until 1794, mandated by the outbreak of hostilities with Revolutionary France. The line of signal posts from 6 […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Note: A drawing of the midship bend of the Hampshire 1653

By R. Endsor

A description of the new design built by Phineas Pett in 1652 as a frigate, this gives her construction, various armaments, career and final  destination. The Note includes a drawing of the midship bend of the Hampshire, the earliest architectural drawing to have survived. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Operational Fatigue: the Air Branch of the Royal Navy’s Experience during the Second World War

By A. H. Goddard

The aircraft-carrier based Naval airmen of WW2 faced distinctly different physical and psychological challenges from their land based counterparts. Five paradoxes are examined by this study: that despite the low numbers of casualties experienced, there was a high level of psychological breakdown; that the level of stress was independant of the number of flying hours; […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Statutory Requirements Regarding Surgeons on British Whale-ships

By Dr Martin H. Evans

In June 1733 an act of parliament offered a bounty of 20 shillings per ton burthen to the owners of British ships engaged in the whaling industry in the waters around Greenland. This act, renewed and extended until 1824, also formalised the requirement that the compliment of such ships should include a surgeon. Although corresponding […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Medical Disease in the Merchant Navies of the World in the Days of Sail: the Seamen’s Hospital Society’s Experience

By G. C. Cook MD, DSc, FRCP

This paper tabulates information on medical diagnoses of merchant seamen admitted as patients to institutions of the Seamens Hospital Society (SHS) during the tenure (1829-32) of Dr George Roupell. Diagnoses were dominated by ‘fever’ (including malaria), diseases of the lungs, dysentry, and Rheumatism. The pattern of disease was relatively constant thoughout the 19th century, the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: John Laird’s American River Boats

By Paul Quinn

The background to the use of iron river boats is explored, and their early use in America is explained together with the irony that this American experience helped to establish the British industry. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Benbow Mutiny

By William Benbow

This is an exploration of the possible causes of the mutiny which broke out when Vice-Admiral Benbow was attacking the French squadron off Cartagena. The personalities and backgrounds of the men involved are examined. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: A Drawing of the Midship Bend of the Hampshire 1653

By Richard Endsor

The frigate type of construction used by Phineas Pett for the Hampshire in the Deptford dockyard resulted in a light, fast vessel. The Hampshire had to be girdled, probably because she was crank, but the result was that she was involved in several successful engagements. By 1686 she was subjected to what was almost a […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Professor David Syrett

By Richard Harding

A specialist in both the naval history of the eighteenth century and the war against the U boats of the Second World War, Syrett was a lively teacher and an important researcher. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Avoiding the U-Boats: the Clyde-Forth Oil Pipeline

By Warwick M. Brown

With the growth of the German Navy at the start of the twentieth century posing a new threat to British naval supremacy, geographic realities dictated that the North Sea would be the main scene of naval operations in the event of an Anglo-German conflict. However all the existing home bases were located on the South […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Internal Waterways | Other (location)
Subjects include: Logistics

Bored in Bermuda, Died in China: the Military Career (1890–1900) of Captain H. T. R. Lloyd, Royal Marine Light Infantry

By Dr Donald F. Bittner

As well as official records for Captain H. T.R. Lloyd who served with the Royal Marines from 1890 to his death in 1900 the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney, Hampshire holds two journals and personal correspondence. The author combines these different sources to detail a rare insight into how aspects of service affected the human […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Charting the World of English Fishermen in Early Modern Iceland

By Dr Evan T. Jones

Referring to the often forgotten period of the huge industry of British fishing fleets to Iceland between the 15th and 17th century and by exploring the charts and other documention and the names these Brisith fishermen gave to the places they travelled the article pieces together the nature of the world these fishermen worked in. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Whaling & Fishing

Lascar Struggles Against Discrimination in Britain 1923–45: the Work of N. J. Upadhyaya and Surat Alley

By Marika Sherwood

In the 1920s and up to 1945 there was a movement to unite Indian seamen (Lascars) in the employ of British shipping companies resident in London and lobby for the improvement of the very discriminatory conditions under which they were employed. The main protagonists were NJ Upadhyaya and Surat Alley and detailed evidence of their […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Wetymologies : Limber, Scupper, Bilge

By William Sayers

A detailed exploration of the etyomology of three terms limber, scupper and bilge. Reference is made to many languages referring to ancient general texts as well as considering the specific nautical technical context and nautical history and exploration. Arguments for and against various interpretations assessed and reasons given. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: John Goodridge – Naval Surgeon

By John C. Welch

The naval career of a surgeon who served on the China station, in the Pacific and as one of the expeditions searching for the Franklin ships. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Experiences in Antartic Whaling in the Days of its Decline

By Sidney Brown

Appointed as a whaling inspector, the author witnessed whaling during the last years of the activity in the Antarctic. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Antarctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: What Happened to the Campania?

By William Schleihauf

The Campania was not involved in the Battle of Jutland, but her absence was not the result of engine defects but the fact that she was not informed of the departure of the fleet until too late. Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation

Note: Armco Iron as a Disclosing Model for Wrought Iron

By Paul Quinn

Following the author’s article in the 2003/4 MM, he argues that the Armco iron produced iron of high purity and strength, and compares this with the iron used in ss Great Britain. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Vice-Admiral Sir John Gore KCB, 1772-1836 Frigate Action of 5 October 1804

By Montagu Curzon

The events of the action which captured the Spanish treasure and precipitated the combination of Spanish and French forces a year before Trafalgar. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: John Schanck 1740-1823

By B.E.G. Clark

The extraordinary naval career of a prolific inventor, amongst whose designs was the drop-keel. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

Document: Anatomy of Defeat: the Testimony of Juan Martínez de Recalde and Don Alonso Martínez de Leyva on the Failure of the Spanish Armada in 1588

By courtesy of Geoffrey Parker

The ‘papeles curiosos’ include a dossier sent to Don Martín de Idiáquez by his relative Juan Martínez de Recalde, second-in-command of the Spanish Armada. The dossier constitutes the political testament of the Armada’s two most senior fighting officers. It reveals for the first time, over four centuries later, what, and who, they thought had caused […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | The Armada | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

The 1872-3 Cruise of the Pearl-Shelling Schooner Franz: Recording the Southwest Pacific Maritime Trade

By Steve Mullins

On 2 July 1872 the 148 ton schooner Franz left its home port Sydney bound for Torres Strait where rich grounds of mother-of-pearl shells had been discovered only recently. Yet the Franz then sailed around the north coast of New Guinea, and the voyage ended in disaster, half the ship’s company having been killed. The […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Diet, Dirt and Discipline: Medical Developments in Nelson’s Navy: Dr John Snipe’s Contribution

By Jane Bowden-Dan

The notorious fighting superiority of Nelson’s ships owed much to the health and discipline of the men. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the medical officers in the British Navy proposed, and obtained, several improvements in general diet, anti-scorbutics, and hygiene. These efforts are recounted mainly on the basis of the reports and […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Mediterranean | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Braunton: Home of the Last Fleet of Wooden Coasters

By P. A. B. Thomson

The North Devon village of Braunton was the home of a fleet of coastal trading vessels, which during the nineteenth century expanded in number of vessels as well as in their size, from smacks plying locally to ketches and schooners trading in the Bristol Channel, Irish Sea and Western end of the English Channel. In […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel | WW2 | Irish Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: When Victoria met Penelope

By John C. Welch

The service career of the fifth Penelope is explored, and an explanation given of the events which resulted in the award by Queen Victoria of medals to 16 of her crew. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Politics or Posturing: a Legislative Debate on Naval Expenditures 1925-9

By Raymond W. Westphal Jr.

The Conservative Party under Stanley Baldwin formed the British government for four years between 1925 and 1929; a time when spending on the Royal Navy was still five times that on the RAF and almost ten percent greater than the Army vote and spending on education. This is an analysis of debate both within the […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

From Calm to Storm: the Origins of the Beaufort Wind Scale

By Dennis Wheeler and Clive Wilkinson

A sample of 2,700 in Royal Navy eighteenth century logbooks was examined to show that terminology describing wind strengths gradually became standardised during the century. Analysis shows that by 1800 terminology to record wind strengths was evolving and becoming increasingly detailed but that use of adjectives to qualify the term “gale” was not yet standard. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Between Newfoundland and the Malacca Strait: a Survey of the Golden Age of Piracy, 1695-1725

By Arne Bialuschewskia

In terms of the intensity of activity the thirty years between 1695 and 1725 were the “Golden Age” of piracy afloat. Early modern piracy flourished because it offered material gains rather than being a proletarian reaction to harsh working conditions at sea. Three widely-separated areas saw intense activity in turn between 1695 and 1725: the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Caribbean | East India Company
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The High Life: Topmen in the Eighteenth Century Navy

By Sam Willis

This article is a robust riposte to the commonly held view that work aloft in sailing vessels-and particularly in the Royal Navy – was highly risky and resulted in frequent accidents and death.  It describes the nature of work aloft and features of standing rigging which were developed to make moving around aloft easier and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Grapnel Stone Anchors from Saurashtra: Remnants of Indo-Arab Trade on the Indian Coast

By A.S. Gaur, Sundaresh and Sila Tripati

Medieval stone grapnel anchors on the coast of Gujarat on the Arabian Sea were investigated from 1991 to 2001. These stone anchors probably originated between the eight and fourteenth centuries AD during an upsurge of Arab maritime activity starting in the second century AD which ended gradually after the arrival of the Portuguese. Generally long […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Late Middle Ages | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Archaeology

NOTE: William Baffin

By Marilyn L.R. Peterson

Using a wide variety of sources the life story of the navigator has been pieced together. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

NOTE: The Fleet Air Arm and Emergency Responsive Action Iraq 1941

By J.M. Parkinson

When the pro-Nazi Raschid ali el Gailani seized power in Iraq in 1941 HMS Hermes was despatched to keep the head of the Persian Gulf safe for Allied shipping. The experiences of the pilots are detailed in this account of the Fleet Air Arm’s demonstration of naval power. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: The Loss of the Stirling Castle in the Great Storm of 1703.

By R. Ensor

The loss of the Stirling Castle during the grest storm of 1703 was only one amongst many casualties. Contemporary descriptions are included as well as evidence from 20th century diving activities to recreate ther sequence of events during the storm. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: A Possible Authorship for the ‘Memorandum on the Marine Regiments’ 1690

By Peter le Fevre

The authorship and date of a document discovered in the archives of State Papers Domestic is explored, with the Earl of Torrington himself credited. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Note: Thomas Luny and Cook’s Resolution

By J.F. Allan

The evidence for the design used by Luny when he painted Resolution is examined, and compared with the sketchbooks and completed works of art. Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Art & Music

The Greek Sewn Shipbuilding Tradition and the Ma’agan Mikhael Ship: a Comparison with Mediterranean Parallels from the Sixth to the Fourth Centuries BC

By Yaacov Kahanov and Patrice Pomey

The Ma’agan Mikhael ship was built with a wine-glass shaped, shell based hull, assembled with mortise and tennon joints, but with planking sewn to the stem and sternposts. The paper aims to place the construction methods of the Ma’agan Mikhael ship in the broader context of the development of Ancient Greek shipbuilding between the Sixth […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Charles Sheldon’s Special Service Vessels 1696-1736

By Dan G. Harris

Charles Sheldon (1665-1739) was Chief Shipwright of the Stockholm shipyard from 1692 until his death. In 1703, Sheldon visited England, France and Holland studying developments in shipbuilding and dockyards. On his return, he proposed the building of a dry dock at the Karlskrona dockyard. This was accepted and construction began in 1716. Construction was disrupted […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

A Study of Peacetime Operations: the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, 1752-5

By David Syrett

This paper studies aspects of the Royal Navy operational activities beyond the fighting of major wars in the Age of Fighting Sail. The author takes the specific case of Commodore Edgcumbe’s squadron in the Mediterranean, on the eve of the Seven Years’ War. The activities of the squadron included tasks which only the Royal Navy […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies

East India Company Shipping Losses in the Late Eighteenth Century: the Case of the Henry Addington

By James H. Thomas

The paper aims to illuminate one of the most serious operational problems faced by the East India Company, the physical and financial loss caused by shipwreck. The article takes the example of the wrecking of Henry Addington to shed light on the role of crewing and experience, pilotage and navigation in the operational problems of […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C) | Shipwrecks | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Origins of the Royal Navy’s Vulnerability to Surfaced Night U-Boat Attack 1939-40

By G. D. Franklin

The paper revisits and seeks to overturn the broadly accepted belief that during World War II the Royal Navy and imperial merchant shipping were vulnerable to surfaced night U-boat attacks as result of oversight on the part of planners and tacticians. The article discusses how this view arose to become dominant and challenges the five […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

The Thirteenth Century Java Sea Wreck: a Chinese Cargo in an Indonesian Ship

By Michael Flecker

Dating back to the late 13th century this wreck lies in 26m of water some 110nm North of Jakarta and 40nm off the Sumatran coast. She displaced around 300 tonnes. Earlier looting had taken place prior to the granting of a salvage licence in 1996. The nature of her cargo implies that the ship was […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Indian Ocean | Other (location)
Subjects include: Archaeology

Campbell of Breadalbane and Campbell of Argyll Boatbuilding Accounts 1600 to 1700

By Donald C. McWhannell

In early days galleys were used to transport warriors across to fight in Ireland.  Between the 15th and 18th centuries inter clan warfare and civil war caused much disruption locally. The galleys used in such foreign and domestic campaigns were expensive relative to the income of their owners. Owing to both the relative poverty of […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Longevity of Wooden Warships: the Great Lakes Example

By Robert Malcomson

Late in the 18th century the lives of such ships was short, in all probability owing to the use of unseasoned timber in their construction and to poor laying up practices during the severe winters. Oak, pine and cedar were the preferred timbers used. Efforts to season timber such as by salting, application of paint, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Wrought Iron’s Suitability for Shipbuilding

By Paul Quinn

The quality of the iron used for this purpose was important. At low temperatures the need for use of quality such material is clear. Using such samples as were possible to obtain, for example from a number of Victorian ships, in more recent times a number of tests carried out confirm these facts. In addition […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Quasi-War and American Fears of a French Invasion in 1798

By H.J.K. Jenkins

The tensions between revolutionary France and the newly independent American stae are outlined, and the possibility of an invasion explored. Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

NOTE: The New Nelson Letters

By Colin White

The wealth of unpublished Nelson letters is outlined, with much new material having recently come to light. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Plymouth Sailing Trawlers

By Peter Thomson

A further account of the fishing fleet as it existed in the 1930s. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Interwar
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Viola/Dias: the Working Life and Contexts of the Steam Trawler/Whaler and Sealer

By Robb Robinson and Ian B. Hart

Viola was launched in 1906, and trawled the North Sea until requisitioned in WWI. After decommissioning and sale to Norwegians, she was renamed Kapduem, fitted with a harpoon gun and sent whaling off West Africa. In 1927 she was sold to Argentinians, renamed Dias and went to South Georgia for whaling, sealing and as an […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Antarctic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration | Whaling & Fishing

‘Handsome Willie May’: a Reappraisal

By Mary Jones

Willie May (1849-1930) has been accused by historians of vanity, incompetence and unpopularity. His career spanned the sailing and “steam and torpedo” Navy. It merits reappraisal. Promoted methodically from sea duties, experimental vessels, European naval attache, royal yachts and the newest battleship, May acquired considerable experience and fame. Curiously, most of May’s appointments were relinquished […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Arctic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies | Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Submarines | Weapons

The Admiral’s Gondola

By Joseph Muscat

From time immemorial and in many countries, ceremonial barges have been called gondolas. Six gondolas plied the waters of the Grand and Marsamxett harbours of Malta from the early 1800s onwards. The Admiral’s gondola was distinguished by its beamier, whaler construction and teak spiral stem and stern posts, unlike the scimitar ones found on the […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Leisure & Small Craft | Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

Image and Reality in Eighteenth-Century Naval Tactics

By N. A. M. Rodger

The history of naval tactics inspects communications, control and leadership; particularly in battle.  Planned manoeuvres and the reality often differed. The admiral’s style of command, from autocratic to trusting, was often decisive. Signals were ambiguous, if received. Ships manoeuvred idiosyncratically; rarely in concert. Collision, confusion and a disorganised line of battle might result. Improved signals […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Baltic | North Sea | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Indian Ocean | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

‘It will be a Charge to the King with No Effect’: the Failed Attempt to Burn the Algerine Fleet in 1679

By Peter Le Fevre

In 1679, four escaped prisoners proposed a plan to burn the corsair fleet at anchor in Algiers harbour. Charles II agreed. Two men-of-war, a sloop and two fire barks sailed from Cadiz for Algiers, via Tangiers.  At Tangiers, the ships’ companies fought the Moors. Then, off Algiers, attempts were made to bring the fire barks […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Where did Drake Careen the Golden Hind in June/July 1579? A Mariner’s Assessment

By Sir Simon Cassels

In June 1579, the treasure-laden Golden Hind was off the Pacific coast of North America. The article reassess how far north Drake sailed and where he prepared his ship for a Pacific crossing. Off Foulweather Cape, cold and foggy weather forced a return southwards in search of a harbour. The author argues, with maps and […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Pacific
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Science & Exploration

Note: Edwin Fox – Last of the East Indiamen

By A.T. Mortiboy

The preservation of the Edwin Fox, the world’s ninth-oldest ship, has enabled a study of a vessel with a varied career. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific | East India Company
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines

Note: Adam Jellicoe – a Flawed Investment

By Eric Alexander

The career of the great-great grandfather of the first Earl Jellicoe is examined, and the source of his personal wealth established. His connection with Henry Cort the iron master is detailed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Inventory of Working Sail in the Windward Islands

By Michael F. Doran

This is a continuation of an article in the 2000/3 MM, in which the survivors of the Age of Sail in the Caribbean Sea are listed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Ship Handling & Seamanship

A ‘Well Known’ Incident Reassessed – The German Attempted Mining of the Thames Estuary in August 1914

By L. Barnett

The declaration of War in 1914 initiated the German Staff orders for offensive mining operations against British shipping. A merchant ship recently converted to a minelayer, proceeded to drop mines off the Thames Estuary on August 5th. Having been surprised by British warships whilst in operation, the vessel was sunk, but both the subsequent British […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

The Steamboat, Safety and the State: Government Reaction to New Technology in a Period of Laissez-Faire

By J. Armstrong and D.M. Williams.

The first commercial steam service was introduced in 1812, but the industry remained unregulated for many years. The introduction of this new technology brought opportunity and revenue, coupled with risks associated with new factors other the perils of the sea. Accidents with steam vessels could include violent explosion hence they were novel and became of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Anchoring and Mooring: an Examination of English Maritime Practice before c.1650

By Susan Rose

The definitions of anchoring and mooring can be blurred. ‘Anchoring’ is a specific action, ‘Mooring’ may describe the use of anchors or the action of being tied alongside a quay using ropes alone. The antecedents of these manoeuvers has been brought into question and the author has delved deep into history to establish any right […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Early Modern | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Early Medieval Seaman and the Church: Contacts Ashore

By Robert Miller

This article highlights the interaction of the Church as an institution with its ‘Roving Parishioners’ and deals with the early years of the High Middle Ages (c.1000-1250.) The religious connection with trade is accepted and there are examples of the Royal Permissions given to religious houses in regard of the control of specific ports, collection […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The Scend of the Sea – Etymology

By William Sayers

The use of ‘send’ or ‘scend’ is examined, with the derivations of both words taken back to Norse origins. Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The British Mediterranean Fleet, January 1944 to May 1945

By Captain Hugh Owen

A personal account of the events of these months, encompassing the Anzio landings, the capture of Elba, the invasion of the South of France the liberation of Greece. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: On Board HMS Alexander (1796-9)

By Admiral Rémi Monaque

A previously un-studied log from HMS Alexander for the years 1796-9 reveals the extent to which the smallest details of health, supplies and discipline were of concern to the Commanders on the Mediterranean station. Of even more interest is the revelarion that Nelson was practising for years the tactics he used later at Trafalgar. Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Note: Discovery of Two Portraits of Phineas Pett

By Henri P. Richard

A comparison of two portraits reveal that they have the same sitter, and are of the ship designer Phineas Pett. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

The Battle for Convoy OG69, 20-29 July 1941

By David Syrett

In the summer of 1941 the German U-Boats were beginning to have increased difficulty in intercepting transatlantic convoys, so in July 1941 they were redeployed to an area west of the Bay of Biscay to attack southbound shipping. OG69 was a convoy of 26 merchantmen bound for Lisbon, escorted only by a handful of slow […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines | Weapons

Robert Kemball (1823-87), Master of the Clipper Thermopylae and Commodore of the Aberdeen White Star Line

By Raymond J Skinner

Founded by George Thompson in 1825, the Aberdeen Line grew to be a global trading company by the 1840s. The firm participated in the development of the tea clipper, commissioning numerous new ships, including the record-breaking Thermopylae, the fastest merchant sailing ship afloat at the time she entered service (1868).   Suffolk-born Robert Kemball was the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

The Medical Staffing of the Royal Navy in the Russian War, 1854-6

By Chris Penn

The outbreak of war in 1854 posed numerous manpower problems for the Royal Navy: one of these was in the medical branch, where the Director General Sir William Burnett, thought there was a shortage of assistant surgeons. This paper tests the evidence as regards medical officers, to see if they really were in short supply, […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Crimean War | Mediterranean | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

Maritime Pilotage Acts of the Nineteenth Century

By Tri Tran

The 1808 Act on Maritime Pilotage led to the creation of many pilotage companies in England, licenced by Trinity House, and brought the pilotage system under its control in the Thames and 40 English seaports. Little has been published on this activity, which was fundamental to commerce. The Act aimed to ensure that pilots were […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Leisure & Small Craft | Lifesaving & Coastguard | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

The Portsmouth Naval Academy, 1733-1806

By H.W. Dickinson

The Academy was opened in 1733, to provide an alternative to the inefficient system of seagoing schoolmasters, and to create a single route for officer entry into the Navy. This paper concentrates on the Academy’s less well-documented first incarnation, from 1733 to its closure in 1806, and challenges its historical reputation for low standards, inefficiency […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Cavendish’s Last Voyage Part III: John Jane’s Narrative of the Voyage of the Desire

By R F Hitchcock

This is the last of three papers (see 1994/3 and 2001/1) on Cavendish’s disastrous 1591-93 expedition to the Pacific. This paper concentrates on the narrative of John Jane, who sailed in the fleet as supercargo on the Desire, commanded by John Davis. Cavendish blamed Davis for the failure of the expedition – rightly, it seems. […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Mutiny & Discipline | Health at Sea | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Note: Henry Cort, Navy Agent

By Eric Alexander

The various activities of a naval agent are disclosed, both on behalf of his clients and himself.   Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Miscellaneous

Note: Early Watercraft Built of Metal, 1777-1838

By Charles Dawson

A listing of the early use of metal in the construction of watercraft on the Clyde, Merseyside and Thames Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: The Early History of Water-jet Propulsion

By Charles Dawson

From the 17th century through to the 19th century, the inventions and ingenuity of a series of engineers is described. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Johann Reinhold Forster’s Son Carl – a Merchant in Liverpool in the 1780s and 1790s.

By David Pope

The trading activities available to an enterprising merchant. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines

Note: Motor Vessels Asuka Maru and Atago Maru

By J.M. Parkinson

These British built merchant ships were the first Japanese vessels to be fitted with diesel engines. Their war-time experiences are listed. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Document: Nelson Bust

By courtesy of P. K. Crimmin

A marble bust was made of Nelson by Franz Thaller and Matthias Ranson in Vienna in August 1800, when the admiral was on his way home from Naples. The reproduced letter from the sculptors, in the Croker Collection at the National Maritime Museum, is part of the Nelson collection of manuscripts held there and is […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Navies

Strangling Rommel: British Submarine Commanders in the Mediterranean, June 1940 to September 1943

By S. May

British submarines in the Mediterranean had the opportunity to fulfill the role for which they were best suited, interdicting the sea traffic between Italy and Libya on which Axis forces in North Africa depended for all supplies. This highlighted the unique role of the submarine commander and the qualities they needed for success: natural gifts […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Submarines

Innovation and the mid-Victorian Royal Navy: the Case of the Whitehead Torpedo

By Mark Briggs

The speed with which the Admiralty adopted the Whitehead torpedo, a revolutionary self-propelled weapon system, in 1871 belies the assertion that it was hostile to technological innovation. Royal Navy commanders took an early interest in the development in Austria-Hungary. Money for trials in England was refused by the War Office, but the Admiralty, conscious that […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

Note: Was Nelson Killed by Robert Guillemard?

By R. Monaque

The events on boad HMS Victory on 21 October 1805 and the identity of the man who fired the fatal shot. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Biography

The West Indian Sailing Canoe

By Michael F. Doran

Spritsail rigged carvel-built open boats called yoles raced for sport in Martinique preserve a design perhaps thousands of years old, a direct copy – built from frames and planks –of the indigenous island dugout canoes of the Carib Indians. Carib tradition is that such spritsail rigged dugouts were part of their pre-Columbian culture. Their speed […] Read More

Filed under: Prehistory | Other (Twentieth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

Note: Letters to The Times

By John C. Welsh

The prolific correspondence of Vice-Admiral Philip Colomb, which earned him no reward from the establishment. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Port Mahón, Minorca: the Preferred Naval Base for the English Fleet in the Mediterranean in the Seventeenth Century

By D.W. Donaldson

In the second half of the seventeenth century Port Mahón in Minorca was frequently used to refit and victual English fleets stationed in the Mediterranean throughout the year to protect the country’s important and expanding Levant trade from Barbary corsairs. Gibraltar, Tangier (until abandoned by England in 1684) and Cadiz were also used. Minorca could […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

Some International Nautical Etymologies

By William Sayers

This article discusses the origin and semantic development of various nautical and maritime terms in the course of technological innovation and social intercourse along the European Atlantic seaboard, particularly in the medieval period. The selection focuses on terminology deriving from Old Norse, reflecting the substantial transfer of naval technology to Britain and Normandy. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Medieval | North Sea
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Ringstone Anchors from Gujarat, West Coast of India

By A. S. Gaur, Sundaresh, S. Tripati, S. N. Bandodkar

Marine archaeology off Dwarka and Somnath on the Gujarat coast of western India (1988-2000) discovered 25 single-hole circular stone objects, made of basalt or limestone, most weighing over 100kg. Identified as ringstone anchors, they probably date from between the eighth and fourteenth centuries. They were found with other types of stone anchor suggesting that boats […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Archaeology

Document: Documents for the Speed of Clippers

By courtesy of Colin Jones

The recorded speed of clipper ships was the subject of some discussion in earlier issues of MM, therefore it may be of interest to consider two documents that record the voyage of the Red Jacket on her record-breaking voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1854. The first document is the abstract log and the other […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1658-1730) From Professional Soldier to ‘Father of Oceanography’

By Anita McConnell

Having begun his career as a pathfinder of geographical technique in the Bosphorus, Marsigli travelled to the Mediterranean, across to England and back across Europe. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Note: Prawhyll, a Thousand Years of Watchkeeping

By N.E. Hesth

The use of a look-out at Prawle Point in Devon was one of a series of establishments designed to ssve lives. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard

Dutch Whaling after the Second World War: Private Initiative and State Involvement

By Jaap R. Bruijn

The activities of the Dutch in entering the whale-catching industry in what was to be the declining years of the industry are set out comprehensively. In a period when oils and fats were in short supply after World War 2, to the change in demand away from whale oil to vegetable oil, coupled with the […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Antarctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The “King Edward” and the Development of the Mercantile Marine Steam Turbine

By Peter McOwat

The King Edward was the first merchant ship to be fitted with a steam turbine engine, only four years after the demonstration by Turbinia at the Fleet Review of 1897. The success of the King Edward, in her role as a passenger steamer on the Clyde estuary encouraged further ships to be built, including the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration

The Whole Character of Maritime Life: British Reactions to the USS Monitor and the American Ironclad Experience

By Howard J. Fuller

This paper examines the reactions of the British Government, the Royal Navy and the general population of Great Britain to the success of the USS Monitor in the American Civil War. Its controversial design and success opened debate in the United Kingdom as to the future design of British warships and their future role in […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Hippopotame and Schaumburgische or Steinhuder Hecht: An Amphibious Craft and a Submarine from the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century

By Timm Weski

A detailed description of two craft designed by Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst, King of Schaumberg-Lippe. Hippotame is a design for a light fast craft in the shape of a horse consisting of two pontoons and illustrated with original drawings. The Schaumburgische Hecht was an equally unusual design for a fast dispatch vessel in the form of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

New Light on Anson’s Voyage 1740 – 4: a Mad Sailor on Land and Sea

By R.A. Houston

An account of one of Anson’s crew who suffered madness at sea and, three years after his return, committed a murder in his hometown of Edinburgh. He had previously shown clear evidence of an unbalanced mind. The paper goes into the legal aspects of the life of the murderer before and after four years at […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Lost leader: Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Forbes and the Second World War

By James Levy

Sir Charles Forbes had demonstrated capability and zeal throughout his career so when he took over as C-in-C Home Fleet in 1938 he a very experienced and competent commander who embraced the spirit of Nelsonian tradition.  Despite his acknowledged skill as a tactician and strategist, in 1940 he was bypassed and eventually replaced by Churchill […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies | Submarines

Brixham Sailing Trawlers: the Last Years of a Working Fleet

By P. A. B. Thomson

Sailing trawlers were already being replaced by steam powered trawlers during the first decade of the twentieth century but the main turning point for the Brixham sailing trawlers came with WW1 and its aftermath.  Several were sunk by enemy action and many of those laid up for the duration never sailed again.  Sailing trawlers were […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Submarines | Whaling & Fishing

The Post Office Packet Service, 1821–37: Development of a Steam-Powered Fleet

By J. R. Owen

Steam powered vessels were first introduced into the Domestic Packet Service by the Post Office in 1821.  By the time it was taken over by the Admiralty in 1837, the Service had 26 vessels and was one of the largest operators of steam vessels in Great Britain and Ireland.  Operating under the auspices of the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Logistics | Shipbuilding & Design

Dikes, Dockheads and Gates: English Docks and Sea Power in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

By Brian Dietz

English docks at the close of the fifteenth century were the primitive structures of the Late Middle Ages.  It took six months to build a dockhead and a further month to dismantle it for the ship to be moved.  In 1578 funding was provided for a dock rebuild which included the installation of a gate, […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Late Middle Ages
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

A Type of Ship on the Indian Ocean in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

By Norbert Weismann

This article is a study of the design, construction, rigging and sails of one type of the many indigenous ships used in the Indian Ocean during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  In the absence of early pictures and with no found remains of such ships, the study is based on an analysis of illustrations from […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Wartime Experiences with Landing Craft Tank 441 and Crew 1943-6

By Hugh Dinwiddy

The experience of working with such craft is retold with details of the many adventures, misses and near-misses of those years. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Empire, Naval Pageantry and Public Spectacles

By R.D. Thomas

The launch of the dreadnought HMS Iron Duke in 1912 is the occasion for a discussion of the procedure. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Navies

Note: An Incident of Piracy in the Gulf of Florida in 1819

By Captain M.K. Barritt

The piratical attack in the Gulf of Florida which resulted in the death of David May was investigated by a descendant. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Note: Navigator

By Lt Cdr R.J.H. Griffiths

The career at sea of James Mortlock, who identified the islands to which he gave his name. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

The Galleys of Argyll

By D.C. McWhannell

Galleys, similar in design to those of the Viking era, played an important role in trade, policing and warfare in the Scottish highlands and Islands, especially Argyll. To date no wrecks have been discovered, though there is evidence for how they looked and were operated from stone carvings and poetry. The last galley was sold […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Late Middle Ages
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Nelson and the Nile: the Creation of Admiral Nelson’s Public Image

By Marianne Czisnik

Nelson’s capture of two superior Spanish ships during the battle of St Vincent initially received little public attention due to its omission from the official report. A month later, newspapers published Nelson’s own account, raising not only public awareness of Nelson but also their desire for memorabilia, usually bearing only a vague passing resemblance to […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | North Sea | French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Biography

Pyramidal Anchor Stone from Baga Waters of Goa, West Coast of India

By Sila Tripati

Description of pyramidal anchor stone found off the coast of the city of Baga in Goa, a region susceptible to shipwrecks due to storms, hidden reefs and sand bars. The characteristics of the anchor stone are described, and whilst is does share some of the characteristics with Indo-Aran type stones, however, there are differences that […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Indian Ocean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology

Nelson’s Uncle: Captain Maurice Sucking R.N.

By David Syrett

Captain Maurice Sucking entered the Royal Navy at the age of 13 as an able seaman. During his career he climbed the ranks to command 60 and 70-gun ships. His career took him through an eventful time in European history, including the War of Jenkins Ear and the Seven Year War, but despite this he […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Austrian Succession | English Channel | Seven Years’ War | North Sea | American Revolution | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Patrick Miller’s ‘Sea Spook’

By Charles Dawson

The double-hulled paddle wheeled experimental design offered by Patrick Miller to the King of Sweden was never built, as af Chapman rejected the concept. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Second Eddystone Lighthouse, with the Roebuck, Charles Galley, Aldborough and Swallow

By Roger Quarm

A description of this painting by Isaac Sailmaker, bought for the Museum by the Society for Nautical Research. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: The Death of Marcus McCausland

By Colin Jones

The events which lead to the death of this young officer in Zanzibar are detailed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The Blockmills at Portsmouth Dockyard in the Eighteenth to Twentieth Century

By A Barlow

A yearly turnover of 100,000 blocks was made possible once Marc Brunel and Henry Maudsley established their factory, detailed in this Note. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Appointment, Promotion and ‘Interest’ in the British South America Squadron, 1821-3

By Brian Vale

Following the reduction in the size of the Royal Navy after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, appointment and promotion were significantly affected. The focus is on the British South American Squadron commanded by Commodore Sir Thomas Hardy. The transition from midshipman to lieutenant is becomes critical as a commissioned officer, if unemployed, received half-pay […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

The Health of Seamen in Anti-Slavery Squadrons

By Sir James Watt

Tedium interspersed with the dangers of working boats in high surf environments, attacks from slavers and local tribes, and the boarding of slave ships all lead to the highest incidence of illness and death in the Royal Navy. Disease was of particular concern, especially those considered tropical fevers such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever.   […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Caribbean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The English Timber Cartel in the Napoleonic Wars

By Mike Baker

New information has led to a re-appraisal of the cartel of timber merchants who dominated the English timber trade during the Napoleonic wars. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Baltic
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Document: How to Re-fit an Old Admiral for Sea

By courtesy of Matthew Sheldon

In early February 1806 Sir John Jervis, Earl St Vincent, agreed to accept the appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet, eventually hoisting his flag in HMS Hibernia at Portsmouth. His last sea command had been in 1801, and amongst some of his papers is a file of invoices that shows the expense necessary to […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel
Subjects include: Logistics | Navies

Note: An East India Company Writership Misrepresented: John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, and the Question of Robert Ray

By T.H. Bower

The claim that the Earl of Sandwich obtained a position for an illegitimate son is here contested, with the young man’s parents confidently identified. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The Bantry Bay Boat – the Officers’ Barge from the Frigate Resolue, 1796

By Paul M. Kerrigan

A study of the boat, possibly the Admiral’s barge, which was driven ashore in 1796 on Bere Island, and later copied many times for international competitions. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Nelson Letters Project

By Colin White

A further selection of previously unpublished letters written by Nelson. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Life Blood of the Navy: Recruiting Sailors in Eighteenth Century Spain

By Carla Rahn Phillips

In this article the author explores Spain’s approach to naval recruitment during the 18th century. In an effort to increase the number of mariners in its service without resorting primarily to the use of crimping and impressment both France and Spain instituted forms of ‘enlightenment’ to encourage their marine population to accept service in the […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C) | Press Gangs
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Finest Invention in the World: the Royal Navy’s Early Trials of Copper Sheathing, 1708-1770

By Randolph Cock

For wooden vessels venturing into warmer waters it would not be until the advent of the steel hull that their nemesis ‘The Worm’ – Teredo Navalis – would be a thing of the past. In this article the author details early experiments by the Royal Navy to limit the worm’s destructive effects to a ship’s […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Caribbean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Disease in the Nineteenth-century Merchant Navy: the Seaman’s Hospital Society Experience

By G.C. Cook

In this article the author examines the various infectious diseases common primarily to merchant seamen and documents the efforts by naval hospitals and medical practitioners to keep them under control. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

The Norse Vika Sjovar and the Nautical Mile

By Silvert Fløttum

In this article the author examines the theories pertaining to Norse measurements of sea travel put forward by Norse navigational authority Roald Morcken. In doing this the author compares Morcken’s sources with those of Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, Danish and German origins. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Early Middle Ages | Baltic | North Sea
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Soldiers at Sea and the Inter-service Relations during the First Dutch War

By Dr. Eric Gruber von Arni, RRC,RGN, Phd.

The article takes an in-depth look at the role of the soldiers-at-sea on both sides of the conflict during the First Dutch War 1652-1654. This crucial step in the evolution of the ‘fighting sailor’ in the Royal Navy has long been neglected. The author delves into the reasons why such a transition for both the […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | English Channel | Dutch Wars | North Sea | Mutiny & Discipline | Health at Sea | Press Gangs
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Document: Draft Action Report: HMS Saumarez January 1944

By courtesy of John Kinross

HMS Saumarez was detailed for the Russian convoys and after returning from Murmansk in December 1943, she was included in the destroyer escort of Admiral Fraser’s fleet with HMS Duke of York and HMS Jamaica, to find and sink the Scharnhorst. During the later stages of the attack the Saumarez came under heavy fire from […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Navies

James Cook’s Secret Search in 1769

By Brian Hooker

A comparison of Captain James Cook’s early exploration of the coast of New Zealand in 1769/70 and that of Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642/43. It gives Tasman’s track down the western coast in 1643, where he postulated a possible passage between the islands, and Captain Cook’s track down the eastern coast of North Island in […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

The Early Development of Magnetic Compass Correction

By Paul Quinn

Although the need for compass correction had been identified in wooden ships, the increasing use of iron in the construction of ships made the need for correction essential. This paper traces the developments in compass correction by Flinders and Barrow in the late eighteenth century, when the theory of magnetism and the earth’s magnetic field […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

The Settee Cut: Mediterranean Passes Issued at Gibraltar

By T Benady

In the 17th century increasing English trade in the Mediterranean brought large numbers of merchant vessels within reach of the Barbary Corsairs. From 1621 a number of expeditions were sent to challenge the Corsairs and to enforce treaties with them. Under these treaties passes were issued to British ships requiring free passage of ships and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Naval Actions of the Thirty Years’ War

By W.P. Guthrie

Although ship design and construction did not change and Charles 1st’s Sovereign of the Seas would not have been out of place at Trafalgar, the seventeenth century marked a major transition in naval tactics. The paper describes the evolution of tactics from the chaotic battles of the start of the period, using a very varied […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | English Channel | North Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: Bude, a Haven not without Risk

By Peter Thomson

An examination of the advantages and many disadvantages of using Bude as a refuge on the North Cornish coast. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Note: The Whitchurch Canonicorum (Dorset) Vessel

By Basil Greenhill and Ann Gifford

The carving of a medium-sized medieval cog on this church is very unusual, and may record the successful shipbuilding at Lyme and Bridport in the fourteenth century. Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: St Katherine’s Church, Milford Haven – L’Orient Truck and other Nelsoniana

By Philip Hancock

This tells the history of Nelson’s connection with the estate at Milford Haven and explains the presence of the ‘pomme de rotoute’ in the church. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: PS Orwell, 1813-4

By Charlee Dawson

The early steamship PS Orwell was used on the Orwell between Harwich and Ipswich. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: Operation Counterblast

By Cdr Henry J.A.Brooke

The planning for the destruction of an enemy coastal convoy by night in 1944 is described, and the event summarised. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Scotts of Greenock, and Naval Procurement 1960–77

By Hugh Murphy

This article details the changing relationship between the Navy and the ship building industry which no longer relied on naval orders. Once the demand for merchant shipping fell away, Scotts were in need of naval orders. The orders for further nuclear submarines was the catalyst for a series of memoranda which document the thinking behind […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design | Submarines

‘They All Got Off Except the Ship’: Captain Hastings and the Howe

By Ernest W. Toy

This article begins with the early career of Captain Hastings, before explaining why he and his command were off Spain in 1982. The fact that the reef upon which Howe grounded was uncharted was accepted at the courtmartial, but her failure to turn as swiftly as the Royal Sovereign was the cause of her grounding. […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Post WW2 | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Biography | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Encounter between Kempenfelt and De Guichen, December 1781: Some Documents in the Döbeln Collection, Stockholm

By Åke Lindwall

The Swedish general Georg Carl von Döbeln was a witness to the encounter between Kempenfelt and de Guichen in 1781, and his accounts provide the source for this article. Having been a naval cadet, and having frequently provided illustrated accounts of military engagements, he was qualified to provide detailed reports which accurately reflect his understanding […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Count Down to the Saintes: a Strategy of Detachments and the Quest for Naval Superiority in the West Indies, 1780-2

By David Syrett

The article sets out Britain’s earlier reliance on containment in European waters, and then goes on to outline the strategy of detachments, particularly in the West Indies. The case of the unfortunate Bonetta and the French determination to take the battle to the areas of acknowleged superiority are revealed.   Poor communications are examined, as well […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

John Ley (c.1550-1604): Elizabethan Sea Captain and Explorer: his Background, Together with a Voyage from Lyme Regis to Spain in 1580

By Raymond J. Skinner

This article brings together all available evidence of this pioneering explorer, soldier and sailor of fortune, associated with Martin Frobisher and Walter Raleigh. His letters reveal little of the man, as he did not publicise himself or his travels. Evidence now reveals his involvement with Walsingham and spying for the English cause. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Bible Classes and Boats: Church and Chapel Rowing Clubs at Plymouth and Devonport in the Early Twentieth Century

By Janet Cusack

Between 1900 and the beginning of World War II, a number of churches and chapels in Plymouth and Devonport sponsored rowing clubs.  The combination of a large, relatively sheltered venue and ready availability of surplus boats from the Royal Naval Dockyard combined to provide this unique social activity for members of the congregations and their […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Interwar | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Leisure & Small Craft

Two Unfortunate Warships: Unebi and Reina Regente

By Peter Brook

The Unbei (1886) and the Reina Regente (1887) exemplified the late 19th century concept of the “battleship destroyer,” a fast, heavily-armed warship that could challenge larger armored vessels.  They incorporated several design features that compromised their stability, including narrow beam, tumblehome, excessive armament mounted high in the ship, and solid bulwarks.  The Reina Regente was […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

The Brazilian Blockade of the River Plate 1826-1828: Prizes, Politics and International Protest

By Brian Vale

During the Brazilian-Argentine war of 1826-28, the Brazilian Navy instituted a blockade of the River Plate.  They had a respectable naval force, but were hampered by the fact that Argentina’s major trading partners were Britain, the USA and France, all of which had considerable naval and diplomatic clout at their disposal.  The blockade was initially […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

George Redmond Hulbert: Prize Agent at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1812-14

By Anthony Gutridge

George Hulbert served as flag secretary to the admiral commanding the North American Station during the War of 1812. One of his principal duties was to serve as flag agent, collecting and distributing prize money for the flag officer and potentially others as well. This was a profitable position that required considerable economic, legal, and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Navies

Documents: Nelson and the Forest of Dean

By courtesy of Roger Knight

The idea of a meeting in August 1802 between Nelson and the timber merchant John Bowsher, in which they sorted out the shortage of oak timber for the navy, is an attractive one, but it is very wide of the mark. In this letter he puts forward simple, eminently sensible suggestions for bringing the Forest […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Tobacco Pipes from Manoel Island, Malta

By John Wood

Discovered in the area used for quaranteening visiting vessels, this haul indicates the variety of trading activities across the Mediterranean. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Symposium on Health Problems in the Mercantile Marine, Historical Perspectives

By C.D. Lee

The various health problems featured at this event ranged from scurvy, accidents, alcoholism to venereal disease Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: William Robinson, alias Jack Nastyface

By Henry Baynham

A correction to some of the points in the article in MM of 1953, and an explanation of Robinson’s dislike of the Royal Navy. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

Note: Darcy Lever as Inspiration for Jane Austin’s ‘Mr Darcy’

By John H. Harland

A series of conjectures as to whether the actor ‘Mr Darcy’ and Darcy Lever, the author of The Young Sea-Officer’s Sheet Anchor are the same person, the inspiration for one of Jane Austin’s characters. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Hazardous Waters: Naval Dockyard Harbours during the Age of Fighting Sail

By Philip MacDougall

From the late 18th century to the end of the Napoleonic wars, shoaling and other environmental factors increasingly limited the ability of British dockyards to accommodate larger classes of warships.  The problem was particularly acute on the Thames and the Medway, because of upstream urban and commercial development, but affected Plymouth and Portsmouth as well.  […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies

Cavendish’s Last Voyage Part II: Purposes Revealed and Concealed

By R. F. Hitchcock

The objectives of Thomas Cavendish’s disastrous second voyage (1591-93) were ostensibly to capture Spanish merchant ships and trade with China, repeating the success of his earlier round-the-world expedition.  Analysis of the personnel carried aboard his vessels and surviving accounts, however, suggest that he may have also intended to found a colony at São Vincente, Brazil, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Mutiny & Discipline | Health at Sea | Pacific
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Science & Exploration

Note: Bermuda, the Royal Navy and the Austin Family

By Elizabeth Rowell

This examines the connections between the island and the Royal Navy, in particular the two brothers of Jane Austin. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Biography

Documents: The Taking of Geeriah Fort and Town 1756 Amphibious Operations in Indian Waters

By courtesy of Jeremy Franks

This is a transcript of a manuscript in the Indian papers of Christopher Henrik Braad (1728-81). McGonen (or McGovern or McGowan), its signatory, was an observer on board HMS Kent and on shore with troops. Well informed on points of military detail, he seems to be a soldier. In the account of the attack on […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Trials with H.M. Submarine Seraph and British Preparations to Defeat the Type XXI U-Boat, September-October 1944

By Malcolm Llewellyn-Jones

This article shows the speed with which the Admiralty reacted to the threat of the Type XXI U-Boats, firstly by identifying that it existed, then by converting HM Submarine Seraph to become the first of the ‘Slippery-S’ class. The Asdic trials which followed are described, together with the analysis of the U-boat threat. The Seraph […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Submarines

A Colonial Gunboat in the Boxer War

By Randolph Vigne

This article presents an episode in the career of Vice Admiral Sir William Creswell, when he took Protector to the Boxer War, to prove that Australia could defend itself. The memoir details the enterprise with which his command was suppplied with fresh water, evaded a dangerous typhoon and re-fittted in Hongkong. The diplomatic difficulties of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

The Duration of Frigate Command during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

By Tom Wareham

This study of the pattern of employment of post captains in the Royal Navy is based on the Admiralty List Books, with a note of the caveats needed. Attention is drawn to the timing of an initial posting. It is clear that some captains deliberately returned to frigates rather than continue in a ship of […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Bligh’s Disciple: Matthew Flinders’s Journals of HMS Providence 1791–3

By Madge Darby

The journal kept by Matthew Flinders as a midshipman in Captain Bligh’s HMS Providence gives an insight into the day-by-day life on board. The document gives details of the care with which the bread-fruit plants were nurtured. Flinder’s respect for Bligh’s abilities are well documented. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

Athenian Naval Power in the Sixth Century: the Development of a Trireme Fleet

By Anthony Papalas

This article studies the development of trireme warfare, the significance of the Megarian War, and the influence of Pisistratus in the local politics of the century. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Wolverines in Two World Wars

By R.J.H. Griffiths

The active lives of the Wolverines, first in the Mediterranean in the First War, back there after the War and then in waters closer to home in the Atlantic War before finally returning to the Mediterranean. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1 | WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: Horatio Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s Twins

By Leslie Edwards

Whether or not Lady Hamilton did in fact bear twins is examined, and the case dismissed. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: David Lyon

By Eric Grove

A brief account of the support given any serious researcher in his field by David Lyon, curator of ships’ plans at the National Maritime Museum. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Lord Nelson and John Bowsher

By Mike Baker

The shortage of timber for the dockyards which resulted from Lord St Vincent’s attack on the timber merchants’ cartel caused deep concern, and Nelson’s visit to Monmouth appears to have solved the problem. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Obituary: Brian H. Dolley, LLB

By Mike Duffy

A brief account of the life of this vivid larger-than-life personality.  As Editor of the Mariners’s Mirror from 1978 to 1990, Brian Dolley brought an international dimension to the Society. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Inglorious End of the Glorious: the Release of the Findings of the Board of Enquiry into the Loss of H.M.S. Glorious

By James Levy

During the evacuation from Narvik the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and her two escorting destroyers were sunk on 8 June 1940 by the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Analysis of the sequence of events is based on evidence at the subsequent Board of Enquiry (belatedly discovered by the author at the Public Record Office). Captain […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation

Shah Versus Huascar : the Diary of Henry Eason

By Paul Quinn and Christopher Eason

In 1877, during civil war, the Peruvian navy’s armoured turret ship Huascar fell into the hands of rebels. For extorting provisions from British merchant ships she was hunted down as a pirate and brought to action by HM ships Shah and Amethyst, vessels of more traditional construction. After discussing the design and construction of the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Latouche-Tréville: the Admiral who Defied Nelson

By Rémi Monaque

Latouche-Tréville’s career in the French Navy from 1758 was interspersed with periods in other employments. The republican government promoted him Rear-Admiral in 1793, but he was then imprisoned for a year and remained unemployed until reinstated by Bonaparte in 1800. In August 1801, when commanding at Boulogne, he repulsed two attempts by Nelson to destroy […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War | English Channel | French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography

The Basque Whalers: the Source of their Success

By Julian de Zulueta

Expert inshore whale hunters since the eleventh century, the Basques eventually had to seek their quarry further afield. For much of the sixteenth century they played the leading role in cod fishing and whaling in the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador. Their success is attributed to the sturdiness of their Biscayan ships, a well-organized system […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Whaling & Fishing

Lord Melville, the Admiralty and the Coming of Steam Navigation

By Peter Hore

  In the 1820s and early 1830s Robert Saunders Dundas, 2nd Lord Melville andFirst Lord of the Admiralty, and Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin, Comptroller/Controller of the Navy, executed a secret plan to buy up the latest steam engines.   Knowing also that steam could not be introduced at sea until sufficient stockpiles of coal existed, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

Note: The Stirling: Pehaps the Earliest Steamer Built on the East Coast of Scotland

By J Colin Bain

This Note uses evidence from the East coast of Scotland to show that the innovation of steam was taken seriously from early in the nineteenth century. Evidence from contemporary newspapers shows how well steam vessels were able to deal with tides in the Forth between Stirling and Leith, or in the Tay. The final voyage […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Lieutenants’ Passing Certificates: William Bligh and Peter Heywood

By Madge Derby

The career of Peter Heywood after the mutiny in the Bounty is here examined, using evidence from his passing certificate and that of Wlliam Bligh. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

The Ballasting of the Twentieth Century Deepwater Square Rigger

By Martin Lee

Based on primary and verbal evidence from the great vessels of the Erikson and Laisz fleets, this article describes the different ballasting arrangements provided for these ships. The vessels needed different amounts of ballast, depending of whether they were in harbour, being towed in port, for coastal voyages and for longer journeys. Ballast had to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Learning from the War: the Development of British Amphibious Capability 1919-29

By Richard Harding

Interservice relationships in the inter-war years did not lead to a shared experience of amphibious landings. The words used to describe the events at Gallipoli were contested bitterly, and the lessons there to be learned from the BEF in the First war were dismissed. Despite this some elements of good practice remained, and in the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Some Pepysian Addenda at Magdalene College

By C.S. Knighton

The Pepys Library at Magdalene is forbidden to accept any additions to Pepys’ 3,000 volumes, but some additional material has been accepted alongside the library. This article lists these documents, with some brief description of contents. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Bayonne and the King’s Ships 1204-1420

By Susan Rose

This article asks and answers many questions about the relationship between the port of Bayonne and the King of England in the thirteenth century. A duty of ship-service was clearly understood and undertaken by ships from Bayonne, and Bayonnese ships were also required to protect shipping engaged in trade between Bayonne and the West Country. […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel | High Middle Ages
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Cobles: Celtic Boats in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria?

By Katrin Their

The first use of the word cuople as a description of a litle ship took place in a tenth century Northumbrian monastery, and the article traces the use of the word through Welsh, Breton and Irish. It also identifies the types of boats such as Scottish cobles, and the developmen from skin covered to plank […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Stirling Perhaps the Earliest Steamer built on the East Coast of Scotland

By J. Colin Bain

The steam-powered Stirling is confirmed as being the first vessel registered in 1814, and her career carrying passengers in the tidal waters of the Forth and thence to the Caledonian Canal is described. The accident which brought her to an end is detailed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Cutty Sark Restoration of the Mizzen Lower Mast

By Simon Waite

The original lower mizzen mast had been replaced and repaired, and in 1998 the various repairs were examined. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Documents: Scheme of Complement for ‘Captain’ Class Frigates

By courtesy of Christopher J. Green

This document, dated June 1942, gives an insight into the challenge presented to appointers working in the Admiralty and the drafting commanders in the three home port divisions, who quickly had to find well over 12,000 officers and ratings for Convoy Escort Vessels building in the USA. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

The Hand Maiden and Victim of Agriculture: the Port of Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk, in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

By Michael Stammers

Wells-Next-The-Sea was an important and prosperous port in the Middle Ages exporting wool and barley.  The natural topography of the port, its entrance and depth of water were all important factors that led to its success.  Although there were cyclical booms and depressions in the shipping business Wells remained a major exporter into the late […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | North Sea | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Cutting Out the Caroline

By Conrad Dixon

The cutting out of the paddle steamer Caroline became a focus of international news in 1837 when an abortive revolt was made against British colonial rule by the French Canadian ‘Patriotes’.  The uprising culminated in the Caroline being boarded by the navy and cast off into the Niagara River where she eventually foundered.  As a […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Model of La Légère in the Central Naval Museum, St Petersburg: Master Shipbuilder Blaise Pangalo in Peter the Great’s Shipyards

By Alexander Dobrenko and Ann Palmer

Among the ship models at the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the French frigate La Légère (1682). Its designer Blaise Pangalo, a French master shipwright for Louis XIV, was ‘released’ by the King for a year or so to work for the Russian Tsar Peter.  Ship models such as this are […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

Whipstaff and Helmsman: an Account of the Steering Gear of the Vasa

By Olof Pipping

The Vasa, lost in August 1628 in Stockholm harbour and raised in 1961, has provided some unique possibilities to study various technical systems of seventeenth century ships.  This paper looks at the parts of the whipstaff gear that were found aboard the Vasa, how they relate to the steering system and the function of individual […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Herodotus 4.42, the Sun Direction

By Yaacov Kahanov

A discussion of the report by Herodotus that Africa had been cicumnavigated by the Phoenicians. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Antiquity | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

The Mysterious Hulc

By Basil Greenhill

The study of the development and structure of medieval ships has for many years relied on iconographic evidence and the hulc in particular has proved different from other types with its characteristic dish like shape and ‘reversed’ clinker construction.  Any recognised remains have yet to be found in Europe but various forms, some very close […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | English Channel | Medieval | North Sea | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: ‘Our little Uncommercial and Unenterprising Island’: The Isle of Man History of Sir John Ross’s Victory, 1826-7

By Ian Stone

The history of this unusual vessel’s career, giving evidence of the trade to the Isle of Man in which she was involved. Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: A Sad Anniversary: The Death of Maudsley, Sons & Field

By Robert Sharp

The sale of the tools, plant and machinery employed in this company gives an opportunity of remembering the achievements of the firm. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Note: The Changing face of a Coastal Port: Bridgwater Shipping Between the Wars

By Peter Thomson

The remaining activities in this port are described and illustrated. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Andrew Reid: an Eighteenth-century Supercargo

By Paul Muskett

East India Company supercargoes sent to Canton were allowed to supplement their income by speculation in Chinese gold. Andrew Reid, supercargo on the East Indiaman Normanton in 1735, was denied any allowance for gold dealings. Despite this, Reid purchased contraband gold which was smuggled back to England in 1738. After a difficult journey the gold […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: The Duke of Grafton’s Fighting Instructions of 1687

By Peter Le Fevre

The fighting and sailing instructions issued to his little fleet are only in part the Duke’s own work, as they are built on York’s Fighting Instructions and indicate that some flexibility was necessary in the Mediterranean. They reinforce the requirement that every captain should know the relevant parts of the instructions issued by his commander-in-chief. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: SS THETIS, 1857, A Daring Experiment

By Charles Dawson

Early steam navigation was restricted to river, coastal and short sea passages. Many improvements were required before ocean travel became viable for steamships, due to the low efficiency of their engines. The iron-screw steamship Thetis, built on the River Clyde in 1857, represented a daring stage in the process of engine improvement. Her compound engine […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Chester, Liverpool and the Basque Region in the Sixteenth Century

By Janet E. Hollinshead

The reign of Elizabeth I saw increased commercial hostilities between England and Spain. The Basque region offered trading opportunities remote from the control of Spanish and French monarchs. Chester and Liverpool were similarly distant from the Tudor court. These North Western ports developed trade with the Basque region. Liverpool and Chester merchants struggled to maintain […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Irish Sea | Antarctic
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Construction of America’s ‘New Navy’ and the Transfer of British Naval Technology to the United States, 1870-1900

By William H. Thiesen

Between 1870 and 1900, an emerging new generation of naval administrators and officers conducted a campaign to reform the United States Navy from within by obtaining British naval technology. The US Navy sent personnel on intelligence gathering tours, assigned a permanent naval attaché to the embassy in London, posted naval cadets to British naval architecture […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

The Agrippina, Tender to the CSS Alabama

By Peter Barton

The barque Agrippina acted as a supply ship to the Confederate cruiser Alabama from July 1862 to September 1863. Launched in 1834 at the J. & R. Tindall yard, Scarborough, she worked in diverse commodity trades around the world before being purchased by Archibald Hamilton, a sympathiser with the Confederate cause.  They needed a ship […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Admiral Rodney, Patronage, and the Leeward Island Squadron, 1780-2

By David Syrett

Ability and luck were not alone sufficient to make for a successful career in the eighteenth-century Royal Navy; from midshipmen to post captain, young officers depended on patronage and interest to obtain regular and steady promotion. As commander of the Leeward Island Squadron from 1779 to 1782, Admiral George Rodney demonstrated how patronage worked. Exemplary […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Caribbean
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Navies

The Mutiny on the Javelin

By Peter Daniel

This is a participant’s account of events on the destroyer HMS Javelin, captained by Lieutenant-Commander Marjoribanks, which patrolled the Mediterranean from February 1945. In September 1946, following months of perceived ill-treatment and disproportionate punishments meted out by the Captain, the crew mutinied and refused to obey orders. After a well-respected crew member was arrested for […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Post WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Charles Sheldon and the Baltic’s First Dry Dock

By Daniel G. Harris

Charles Sheldon (1665-1739) was Chief Shipwright of the Stockholm shipyard from 1692 until his death. In 1703, Sheldon visited England, France and Holland studying developments in shipbuilding and dockyards. On his return, he proposed the building of a dry dock at the Karlskrona dockyard. This was accepted and construction began in 1716. Construction was disrupted […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Document: English Shipping to Guyenne in the Mid-Fifteenth Century: Edward Hull’s Gascon Voyage of 1441

By courtesy of Hannes Kleinere

This document is an example of the procurement of shipping for a voyage to Gascony in 1440 for Edward Hull, a royal envoy, by Thomas Gille, a Dartmouth shipowner, the provisions made, the costs involved and the administrative process preceding eventual repayment. Gille had performed this service more than once before but on this occasion, […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages
Subjects include: Logistics | Manpower & Life at Sea

From Beachhead to Bridgehead: the Royal Navy’s Role in the Amphibious Assault across the Rhine, Spring 1945

By Ivor Howcroft

During the assault on the Rhine in the spring of 1945, an enterprising unit of assorted naval amphibious craft was attached to the British army, while a similar United States Naval unit supported the US Army. Poor co-operation between the army and the navy contributed to an inefficient use of the force and its contribution […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Captain Edward Chichester and H.M.S. Immortalité in Manila Bay During the Spanish American War (27 April to 11 September 1898)

By Riccardo Busetto PhD

The Royal Navy’s role in the Spanish American war of the late nineteenth century is not well known. Riccardo Busetto has used the actions of HMS Immortalité – which was deployed to Manila in an intelligence gathering and diplomatic role – as an illustration of how Britain expected its junior naval commanders to act on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Just Four Flags? The Commercial Code of Signals for the Use of all Nations

By Julian P. Jellie

During the nineteenth century, naval signalling developed from its chaotic origins into an internationally recognised code, capable of exchanging thousands of different pre-determined messages and – by spelling individual words – an infinite variety of free-format conversations. In the early nineteenth century the rapidly expanding merchant fleets started to take an interest and by the […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Lifesaving & Coastguard | Merchant Marines | Navies | Science & Exploration

Where Nelson Died: an Historical Riddle Resolved by Archaeology

By Peter Goodwin

Many readers will have visited HMS Victory in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and seen the place where Nelson died, suitably rigged as a place of veneration. But is that really the spot where Nelson breathed his last? Peter Goodwin has brought an archaeologist’s discipline to this question. Through the study of contemporary sketches and paintings and […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

An Instrument of Early-Stuart Sea Power: the Armed Merchantman Abigail c. 1615–39

By David R. Ransome

This is an exemplar for of the life and times of the ubiquitous ocean-going craft that sailed from England during the early 17th century.  At times merchant ship, privateer and warship, the Abigail had a busy life spanning 24 years.  Sailing under the English and Venetian Flags  with voyages across the Atlantic and Mediterranean, from […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Health at Sea | Caribbean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Note: Russian Sources on British Naval History, 1900-18

By Prof. D.V. Likharev

A list of the dispatches sent by Russian naval attachés as well as letters and telegrams of the period. The ‘Baltic Project’ was not amongst the subjects covered by the sources. Read More

Filed under: Baltic | WW1
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Document: Get a Haircut!

By courtesy of Colin Jones

In November 1912 Captain Hughes-Onslow, Second Naval Member of the Australian Naval Board, inspected the Royal Australian Navy’s Williamstown Naval Depot. Although generally satisfied with what he found he was critical of a number of aspects of the base and its personnel. His greatest concern was the length of the men’s hair which he demanded […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Document: Captain Cook’s Passing Certificate

By courtesy of Andrew C.F. David

J.C. Beaglehole, in his exhaustive biography of Captain James Cook, failed to mention that Cook was required to take the examination for lieutenant before being appointed to command the Endeavour. He was appointed on 25 May 1768 and thus his seniority as a lieutenant dates from that day, as demonstrated by the reproduced document. Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration

Martyr or Pirate? The Case of Captain Fryatt in the Great War

By Dr Alan G. Jamieson

The execution of Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt by the German authorities for attempting to ram a German submarine was treated as a war crime. The article demonstrates the different understanding on both sides of the part played by merchant ships in wartime.   The arming of merchant vessels was contentious, but the Admirlty expected merchant ships […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

A Farmer’s Son Goes to Sea: The Naval Career of Alan Everett Hudson

By Ernest W. Toy

This article describes the valuable material enclosed in two logs and a journal of Midshipman Alan Everett Hudson between 1889 and 1893. The article gives details from the manuscripts, and also fills in the years before and after they were written, until his untimely death from amoebic dysentery in 1905. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

The Woolwich Steamyard

By Dr Philip MacDougall

This article traces the origins of use of steam power by the Admiralty. Vessels such as Comet were first used to attend to the wants of the fleet, and the need to service these craft at either Woolwich or Deptford was soon realised, despite the shallow water of the Thames. Construction of the new steamyard […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

Almirante William Brown and the Battle of Corales, 1826: Winners and Losers

By Brian Vale

The battle between Commodore William Brown and his small squadron of Argentinian vessels and the Brazilian forces was, according to his report, at best inconclusive as a result of the lack of suport from his junior officers.   However once the reports of the other Argentinian commanders had been read and their evidence taken, they were […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Popular Topics | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies

Training and Education in the Elizabethan Maritime Community, 1585-1603

By Cheryl A. Fury

Apprenticeship at sea served the usual Elizabethan goals of technical education and social discipline.   There was no formal seamen’s guild to regulate marine apprenticeship, but examinations were proposed to mirror those used in Spain. Instead inertia maintained the individual decisions made by mariners to train the young. There was a legal basis for apprentices, where […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

A Romano-British Boat from the Shores of the Severn Estuary

By Seán McGrail & Owain Roberts

Found in 1993, the Barland’s Farm boat was dated to the the late third century AD. The article describes the distinctive features of this boat, all characteristic of the Romano-Celtic tradition. A model was used to establish the dimensions of the original, and her means of propulsion, steering and mooring was established. There is discussion […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Internal Waterways | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: ‘Disarmed and Disappointed’? The Experience of the Armstrong Breech-loading Guns, 1863-4

By Colin Jones

The Navy withdrew its Armstrong breech-loading rifled ordnance from service, but the accident rate which was blamed has been re-examined. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Weapons

Note: Beer Luggers, a Tradition Continued

By Peter Thomson

The use of the open beach boats traditionally used for fishing from the village of Beer as racing craft might ensure that this lugger sailing will last. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Whaling & Fishing

Communications Intelligence and the Sinking of the U-860, April-June 1944

By David Syrett

In the latter part of the Battle of the Atlantic (1944-5), when wolf-pack tactics had been defeated and U-boat numbers were dwindling, U-boats increasingly traveled individually and struck less frequently, thus becoming harder to find.   In response the Allies developed different search tactics, emphasizing the use of communications intelligence, the science of locating an object […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines | Weapons

The British Mediterranean Squadron during the Great Eastern Crisis of 1876-9

By Matthew Allen

During the latter half of the 19th century the world’s navies were in the midst of profound change, not only in ships’ design, construction, propulsion, and tactics, but also in the strategic purposes to which these ships and fleets would – or could – be applied.  This article examines the question of strategic usefulness by […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Precursors of Cook: the Voyages of the Dolphin, 1764-8

By Randolph Cock

In the scholarly accounts of 18th century British voyages of discovery and exploration, those of Captain James Cook (1768-71, 1772-5, and 1776-8) figure prominently.  However, this article asserts that the two previous voyages of the Dolphin (1764-6 and 1766-8) have been unfairly slighted and deserve more attention and credit, since they materially contributed to the […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

A Medieval Shipbuilding Estimate c. 1273

By N. M. H. Fourquin

There are very few extant records of ship design and construction relating to ships built in the Mediterranean basin during the Late Middle Ages.  This article describes one such document found in Rhône, France.  The author provides the document in the original and in English, with explanations for unfamiliar terms, weights, the ship type being […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Polycrates of Samos and the First Greek Trireme Fleet

By Anthony Papalas

An important element in the development of pre-Christian naval warfare in the Eastern Mediterranean was the development of the trireme as successor to the pentecontor in the mid and late- sixth century BC.  Herodotus relates that Polycrates of Samos possessed a formidable fleet that included 40 triremes, the earliest reference to the trireme in contemporary […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Obituary: Admiral of the Fleet Lord Lewin of Greenwich KG GCB LVO DSC

By Richard Hill

LORD LEWIN, who died in January 1999, was a President of the Society who never interfered in the work of the Officers but was always ready to offer support. He was an outstanding sea officer, with a profound insight into the importance of maritime affairs in the past, present and future. He was arguably the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: A Sea-fight 500 Years Ago

By Giovanni Santi-Mazzini

Evidence of the battles at sea in the Mediterranean are examined for details of ship-design and armaments. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

By Alec Barlow

This details the normally disregarded subject of the fastenings by which ships were held together from treenails, dumps, clench bolts, spikes, coaks and staples. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: HMS Ruby and the Poachers

By David Kent

The successful use of a gunboat against poachers in the Tweed River is described. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Whaling & Fishing

Note: ‘Operation Rake’, Captain Barthes in the Skagerrak, April 1940

By K.D. McBride

An operation by contre-torpilleurs against the German forces. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Technical Change and the Ship Draughtsman

By Colin Tipping

With the development of iron shipbuilding in the late 19th Century, the skills and status of the marine draughtsman were enhanced; and post-World War II technical changes led to further skill development. The article describes these developments in detail, particularly welding and prefabrication; new materials (alloys); and ship types and sizes (the “container revolution”). The […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

The Sailing Rig of the SS Great Britain

By Peter Allington

While the engineering aspects of the Great Britain are well documented, little has been written about her sail plan and rigging. The article examines in detail the “engineered” rigging – iron wire, chain and masts – and the “6-masted topsail schooner” rig. The rig was very efficient, although some of the engineered items were ahead […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Britannia at Portsmouth and Portland

By H.W. Dickinson

Following the 1854 example of boy’s training in the Royal Navy, the training of cadets was initiated in 1857 aboard the two-decker HMS Illustrious in Haslar Creek. In 1859 Illustrious was replaced by the 3-decker HMS Britannia, giving much more space. Due to the moral and health deficiencies of Haslar/Portsmouth, Britannia was moved in 1862 […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Earl of Egmont and the Navy, 1763-6

By Clive Wilkinson

John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, replaced Sandwich as First Lord in 1763. At the end of the Seven Years’ War he was faced with the reduction in the size of a worn-out Navy, its funding, and the Navy Debt. The article describes how Egmont tackled these problems with energy, skill, and financial manipulation; and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Britain’s Board of Longitude: the Finances, 1714-1828

By Derek Howes

While the development of instruments has been well documented, little has been published concerning the finances and awards of the Board of Longitude. The article describes in detail the awards made by the Board between 1714 and 1828. What is interesting is the very high number of relatively small awards to auxiliary contributors to solving […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Science & Exploration

The Effectiveness of Fifteenth-century Shipboard Artillery

By Dr Kelly de Vries

Land-based gunpowder weapons were mounted in ships from the 1330s and thereafter were modified specifically for maritime use. Shipboard guns were primarily defensive weapons in the 14th and 15th Centuries. While highly unlikely to sink an enemy’s vessel, their anti-personnel and morale effects were significant. By the end of the period, however, heavier cannon were […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Weapons

Obituary: Lieutenant Commander Derek Howse MBE DSC FRIN FRAS

By Alan McGowan

Derek Howse, who died in 1998, was a Vice-President of the Society. He was first elected to the Council in 1982 and was a member of the Publications Committee from its formation in 1990. For a number of years he produced the Society’s Newsletter, along with the List of Members for 1995 and 1998. In […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The Royal Naval Museum and Admiralty Library’s New Reading Room and Library Facilities in Portsmouth

By Allison Wareham

The facilities of the new library are detailed, together with the history of the Admiralty library itself. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: Equal Speed Manoeuvres – Operation Neptune, June 1944

By Ivor Howcroft

The papers of Vice-Admiral J. Hughes Hallett have revealed that a historical lesson on the need for a combined operation to bring about a successful amphibious landing did indeed bring about a successful conclusion. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: The Loss of the Nepaul

By John C. Welsh

The fate of the Nepaul once she had struck on the rocks off the Plymouth breakwater is never in doubt. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The Papers of Edward Montagu, First Earl of Sandwich (1625 – 72)

By Clive Powell

The papers bought by the National Maritime Museum reveal the political life of the first Earl of Sandwich, the difficulties of the period and Sandwich’s contribution to the Navy. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

Seychelles Schooners: a Retrospect

By P.A.B. Thomson

A detailed account and short essay of the sailing schooners trading general cargo amongst the island archipelago of the Seychelles group. The vessels listed were locally built with regard to specialised local conditions experienced in the region. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

British Naval Intelligence and Bonaparte’s Egyptian Expedition of 1798

By Michael Duffy

Reflects on responsibilities of naval commander in Mediterranean at end of 18th century. Considers difficulty of obtaining intelligence of French naval actions and intentions; time taken to get reports from Italy or central Europe to London; to evaluate them within the wide range of possibilities; effects of threats closer to home on evaluation and time […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Bristol Shipping and Royalist Naval Power during the English Civil War

By John Lynch

Considers Royalist imports of arms in early 1640s and difficulty of supplying the south; sympathy for Royalist cause among Bristol merchants and seafarers; significant additions to Royalist fleet on capture of Bristol; operations carried out by ships of this fleet. Discusses differences in construction and armament between merchant vessels and warships; good seaworthiness of small […] Read More

Filed under: English Civil War | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

Note: The Seventh Franco-British Naval History Conference

By Richard Hill

The speakers and their subjects at this conference are listed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: Small Ships of Empire: Three nineteenth century Wolverines

By R.J.H. Griffiths

The adventures, successes and failures of the three brig-sloops off Africa, Martinique and Nicaragua and finally Australia. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

Note: Which PS James Watt?

By Charles Dawson

There was a vessel named by the Dutch Stad Keulen, but it was not built in Scotland on the Clyde. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

‘Our Naval Plutarch’: Sir John Knox Laughton and the Dictionary of National Biography

By Andrew D. Lambert

This article concentrates on the contribution of Sir John Knox Laughton to the nineteenth century entries for the navy in the Dictionary of National Biography. A pioneer of naval history, he insisted on the use of primary sources and a ‘scientific’ approach to research. Contributing nearly a thousand entries out of 29,000, Laughton concentrated on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Fleet Repairs and Maintenance 1783-93 Reconsidered

By Barrington Rosier

A caveat to those using Webb’s book, which did not consult the Progress Books although those list the actual ships on which money was spent. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The Date of the Battle of Flamborough

By Peter Ansoff

A ‘mistake’ made by John Paul Jones of the Bonhomme Richard was repeated by other eye-witnesses and commentators without question, perhaps because of the practice of keeping the log by nautical day instead of civil day, so events on the 23 September actually took place on 24 September. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

A Note on Sixteenth Century Shot Nomenclature

By D.M. McElvogue

An examination of the words used to describe the ‘cross-bar’shot found in the Alderney site. Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Weapons

Note: The Etymology of Middle English OREVEN ‘Oar Blank’.

By William Sayers

Various theories for the derivation of the word ‘oar’ are explored. Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Elphinstones in Catherine the Great’s Navy

By Anthony Cross

During the first half of the 18th century the Russian Navy had been in steady decline. After Catherine’s review of the Russian Fleet in 1765 she enlisted the services and expertise of as many senior Royal Navy officers as she could persuade to serve. The article looks at one family in particular – the Elphinstones […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

An Aid to Nelson’s Victory? A Description of the Harbour of Aboukir 1798

By Tom Malcomson

A re-opening of the ever contentious debate of ‘did Nelson have any prior intelligence concerning the anchorage surrounding the French fleet at Aboukir in 1798?’ To lunge into battle in an unfamiliar bay in a failing light would have been extremely risky even courting disaster. Alternatively, if Nelson did have a sketch of the bay […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

The Form and Speed of Sailing Warships

By David K Brown

The subject matter of this paper if in its academic form would be highly complex. However, the author declares from the outset that he aimed this paper at the less skilled understanding of a more general readership. The paper could be of great use to students of history, especially regarding the Royal Navy and their […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Seventeenth-Century Ships’ Timbers and Docks on the Thames Waterfront at Bellamy’s Wharf, Rotherhithe, London SE 16

By David Saxby AIFA and Damian Goodburn BA, AIFA

In early 1995 an archaeological dig was undertaken at Bellamy’s Wharf, Southwark, London prior to building work. The area was known to have hosted a number of shipbuilding activities during the Dutch and Nine Years’ Wars of the later seventeenth-century. The Gould’s Dockyard artefacts contained a number of large worked timbers, including stem and rudder […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Nine Years' War | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards

Sir George Rodney and St Eustatius in the American War: a Commercial and Naval Distraction, 1775-81

By Kenneth Breen

During the American Revolution the Dutch Caribbean island of St Eustatius was a major transit point for trade with the rebels and French islands. The British Administration was particularly aggrieved by British merchants who supplied the majority of the goods, thereby sustaining the country’s enemies. To eliminate the trade the island was invaded in February […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: The Short and Active Life of a Brig-sloop at war: HMS Wolverine 1798-1804

By R.J.G. Griffiths

An account of the furious reistance put up by this remarkable ship’s captains and crew in a succession of assaults by numerous larger assailants. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: English Master Shipwrights to the Danish Crown 1570-1680

By Martin Bellamy

Following the article in MM 1997/3, this corrects the succession of English shipwrights employed by the Danish-Norwegian crowns. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Rise of the English Sailcloth Industry 1565-1643: Coastal Trade Records as an Indicator of Import Substitution

By Martha Morris

During the period of the Tudors, when England was developing into a major maritime power, much of the naval stores required for shipbuilding were imported from across the North Sea. At this time Ipswich became a significant centre for the production of numerous types of sailcloth. Using the Ipswich port books Morris demonstrates how, in […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | North Sea
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Water Supply of the Argo and Other Oared Ships

By André Wegener Sleeswyk and Fik Meijer

The supply of drinking water aboard sea-going vessels has been a challenge of logistics for millennia, with the volume and consumption of water being a major factor in health at sea. Sleeswyk and Meijer’s paper seeks to establish the daily requirement and methods of storage aboard Greek vessels of Antiquity operating in Mediterranean conditions. Conclusions […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Logistics

A Breakdown in Communications: Britain’s Over Estimation of Asdic’s Capabilities in the 1930s

By G. D. Franklin

The submarine detection weapon, ASDIC, was developed prior to the end of WW1. Work continued throughout the interwar period, involving scientific research and tactical trials in the English Channel. By the beginning of WW2 confidence in ASDIC’s ability to detect dived submarines was very high but over optimism was quickly dispelled by the realities of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Interwar
Subjects include: Weapons

Rolf Krake: Europe’s First Turreted Ironclad

By Arnold A Putnam

In 1862, as tension between Denmark and Prussia increased, the Danish Navy ordered the ironclad Rolf Krake from Napiers, Glasgow, a firm already experienced in this new form of construction. For the first time in a European warship, the main armament was mounted in two armoured turrets.   The author in “Contract and Construction” includes many […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Hired Men-of-War, 1664-7 Part I

By Frank Fox

This is part of Fox’s paper on the hiring of merchantmen by the Royal Navy during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. Three extensive listings give details of the 43 vessels hired during the war and include, for example, the period and place of hire, ships’ age, the captain(s), number of crew, the ordnance carried and any […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars
Subjects include: Navies

Armed Peace in the Mediterranean 1736-1739: a Comparative Survey of the Navies

By Daniel Panzac

Even though at peace in this period, nations with interests in the Mediterranean maintained substantial naval forces there because of growing tensions between them. This paper compares the Mediterranean naval strength of Britain, France, Venice, Spain and the Ottoman Empire. As well as numbers of ships, with their size, age and armament, the food and […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

The Influence of Iron in Ship Construction: 1660 to 1830

By Peter Goodwin

Shipwright Sir Anthony Deane began using iron for small hull components because suitable timber was becoming scarce. As the quality of iron improved, its use became more widespread. This paper describes the iron components, their production, the influence of French shipwrights on their design and an early structural test to compare strength. Iron was used […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Identification of Fifteenth-Century Ship Types in Scottish Legal Records

By A.D.M. Fortie

Legal rules of interpretation can contribute to the identification of Scottish medieval ship types from records such as charters granting the right to levy harbour tolls. In particular, the “farcost” may be identified as a cargo boat in the coastal trade, smaller than a ship. The “caumfer” is likely to have been a small ship, […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Group Wotan and the Battle for Convoy SC 104 11-17 October 1942

By Robert C. Fisher

Eight ships from the 48 merchant ship east-bound Convoy SC 104 and two U-boats were lost in October 1942 in the area of the Atlantic known as the ‘air gap’. The German attack by the ten U-boat Group Wotan was conducted over two nights under extreme North Atlantic weather conditions. An hour-by-hour tactical and technical […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

Note: The Nelson Bicentenary at Tenerife, Spanish Celebration and British Commemoration.

By R.E.G. Harris

A moving tribute to the presence of HMS Victory’s Cutter at the bicentenary of Nelson’s original assault on Tenerife in July 1797. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | French Revolution | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: PS Defiance: the First Steamship in Holland.

By Charles Dawson

The visit of the Defiance to Holland is examined, and the evidence for the steamship having been built in 1817 by the Wrights of East Anglia made explicit. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: Sir Francis Drake Discovered Cape Horn

By Raymond Aker

A close examination of the geography and historical evidence shows that Drake did discover Cape Horn, and not merely the cape on Henderson Island. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Francis Drake
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: John Malyn and the Projected Assault on ‘New Haven’ in Queen Mary’s War.

By C.S. Knighton

This account continues the articles already published in MM 1967, and establishes which New Haven was attacked, and the role played by the vice-admiral. Read More

Filed under: Tudors | English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: Roman Naval Ranks

By Dana S. Adler

The few sources of information on organisation within the Roman Navy are explored. The role of the naval force is deduced to be that of an auxiliary within the military machine. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

The Trent Ketch

By Brian Widdowson

Based on Maritime Census returns for 1861 and also the Trent Navigation Company’s gauging tables, which indicate the size and capacity of the vessels, it is demonstrated that for most of the nineteenth century Trent ketches were capable of working the full length of the Trent from Nottingham and Loughborough down to the Humber estuary […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

The Evolution of Rocket-based Maritime Rescue Systems in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century

By W.B.C. Probert

Being driven onto a lee shore was a common type of shipwreck, often with great loss of life. Manby’s development of a mortar to throw a line from shore was supported by the government from 1816. Following further parliamentary concern, including several Enquiries and the 1854 Merchant Shipping Act, this was supplemented and eventually superseded […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard | Merchant Marines

H.M.S. St Lawrence: the Freshwater First-Rate

By Robert Malcolmson

Towards the end of the War of 1812 American naval forces were performing well on the Great Lakes and the Provincial (Canadian) Marine was strengthened by Royal Naval forces. A shipbuilding programme included HMS St Lawrence, the Royal Navy’s only first rate to operate solely on freshwater. The ship, as large as the Victory although […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812 | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

The First Crusade as a Naval Enterprise

By John France

Maritime aspects of the First Crusade have been sparingly reported, but were crucial to its progress. Friendly fleets captured two ports before the crusade reached the east. Supplies reached the crusaders via Byzantine controlled Cyprus and the fastest communication with the west was by sea. Ships came from Genoa and Pisa with lesser contributions from […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

NOTE: The Admiral Scheer and Convoy HX84

By K.D. McBride

This note compares the listing of targets sunk by the armoured ship Admiral Scheer in 1940 with the actual losses recorded by the Admiralty, and identifies all the victims. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Note: Captain Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

By Roger Quarm

The purchase by the Society from the Macpherson Fund of this portrait is explained and the significance of the portrait explored. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Naval Ship Launches as Public Spectacle 1773 to 1854

By Margarette Lincoln

The reasons for a launch rather than a floating out of a large naval vessel is explained, together with the social benefits of sharing the excitement and ceremonial aspects of the event. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Development of the Orlop Deck of the Victory.

By Peter Goodwin

The establishment of the orlop deck as a permanent feature is explained, and the way in which such features have been developed is explored. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

The Beginnings of Britain’s Exploration of the Pacific Ocean in the Eighteenth Century

By Alan Frost and Glyndwr Williams

At the end of the War of Spanish Succession, Anson was on the Board of Admiralty and was involved in proposing exploration and the establishment of bases in the South Atlantic and South Pacific. Two sloops were prepared but following a diplomatic exchange with Spain during which the exploration was reduced in scope the whole […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Straits of Hormuz Fleets: Omani-Portuguese Naval Rivalry and Encounters, c.1660-1680

By Glenn J. Ames

Portuguese trade with Asia was outperformed by the Dutch during the seventeenth century but there was a localised resurgence in the Arabian Sea and in East Africa during the later part of the period. The main opposition to the Portuguese, whose strength centred on Goa, came from a powerful Omani Arab state. Conflict continued throughout […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Navies

NOTE: The British Tanker Company and the Marine Diesel Engine, 1929.

By Alan G. Jamieson

This note comments on an article in MM 1995/3, and examines the relative economy of the various options available. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration

Note: HMS Pheasant 1916-96

By K.D. McBride

Having been lost with all hands in 1917, the wreck of the Pheasant was explored by Army divers in 1997. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Note: Second Dogwatch: Last Dogwatch.

By John Harland

The tradition of choosing to call the second dog-watch the ‘last dog-watch’ is explored, and the sources of the useage listed. The origins of the expression itself are also examined. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Note: Early Dutch Steamships in Eastern Waters.

By Charles Dawson

These vessels and their owners are described as a follow-up to the MM article in 1995/3 by Colin Bains. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: Bayonne, 1419. Lapstraking and Moulded Frames in the Same Hull?

By Brad Loewen

The evidence for the construction details of this ship are explored. Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Jean François Hodoul, Corsair of the Indian Ocean

By P.A.B. Thomson

  Jean Francois Hodoul was one of the best known French Indian Ocean corsairs of the Revolutionary War of 1793 to 1801 after Surcouf, Lememe and Perroud. Unlike his more celebrated peers he did not return to privateering after the Peace of Amiens broke down in 1803. Instead he settled in the Seychelles, effectively neutral […] Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Development of the Trireme

By Anthony J. Papalas

The trireme appeared in c. 700 BC. At first they were not built in great numbers and were used mainly to transport troops but in the last quarter of the sixth century BC the Greeks developed the trireme into a powerful military machine which achieved dominance in naval affairs. Propelled by 170 oarsmen and supported […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Francis Sheldon in Denmark 1686–1690

By Dan G. Harris

Francis Sheldon was born at Chatham in 1612 and served his apprenticeship in thedockyard under Pett. From 1686 to 1690 Sheldon was in the employment of the Danish Monarch as a warship builder. He had previously been in service of the Swedish Crown in the same capacity from 1659 to 1683 (with a break of […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

The Royal Navy and the Developments of Mobile Logistics 1851–94

By David Evans

The first attempt by the Royal Navy at providing a mobile workshop facility was in 1851 when the schooner HMS Spider was equipped with basic tools for making and repairing articles for the Devonport Steam Reserve. In early 1854, with the imminent outbreak of hostilities with Russia likely, the wooden sail assisted paddle steamer HMS […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | English Channel | Opium Wars | Crimean War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

The Commercial Shipping of Southwestern England in the Later Fifteenth Century

By Wendy R. Childs

An examination of the overseas voyages of south-western ships primarily through the surviving national customs accounts records for Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. The ships of the south-west were called on to carry an extremely varied range of goods. They also took pilgrims destined for Santiago de Compostella to Corunna. Their voyages took them to […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | High Middle Ages
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Guadeloupe’s Commerce Raiding 1796-98: Perspectives and Contexts

By H. J. K. Jenkins

Following a very short-lived British occupation, Guadeloupe was recaptured during 1794 by an expedition from France: this led to the colony coming under the control of Victor Hugues who was to acquire the sobriquet of ‘The Colonial Robespierre’. With a large flotilla, powerful shore-batteries, and an armed and disciplined population the colony was formidable and […] Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

Indian Ocean Littoral Maritime Evolution: the Case of the Yemeni Huri and Sanbuq

By Edward Prados

Though Arab dhows are often considered as unchanging relics of a long-distant past, the author shows that they have been evolving constantly in response to external influences and economic constraints. Thus the huri have evolved from double-ended dugouts to transom-sterned planked boats. Meanwhile, the archetypal sanbuq has seemingly come full circle; originally a double-ended vessel, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

The Marques de la Victoria and the Advancement of Naval Lexicography in Eighteenth Century Spain

By Carlos Novi

An outline of the career of Juan Jose Navarro de Viana y Bufalo (1687-1771), soldier, naval commander, polymath and teacher, and the compilation of his monumental dictionary of naval architecture. After an early career as an army officer, he transferred to the Navy as the first Commander of the Spanish naval academy. Shocked by the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Naval Control of Shipping and the Atlantic War 1939-45

By Marc Milner

A detailed description of the structure and method of operation of the Canadian Naval Control of Shipping (NCS) prior to and during WW2. NCS was responsible for the organization, planning and routing of merchant convoys in the Atlantic west of 40° and north of the equator. This also entailed intelligence gathering on enemy deployment as […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Merchant Marines

Careening for Good Soldiers in the Seventeenth Century

By Richard Barker

This note presents part of the text of a Portuguese manuscript that is understood to be from the second half of the seventeenth century. The manuscript presents a detailed, if difficult to understand, description of the arrangements of ropes used to heel a ship for careening by hauling on the masts. However, it goes on […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Liverpool to Hull – by Sea?

By John Armstrong and Julie Stevenson

Analysis of the records of Thomas Wilson & Son, Hull’s largest shipowners, in the last 15 years of the nineteenth century shows that between 9,000 and 13,500 tons of goods were carried annually by sea rather than rail between Liverpool and Hull, despite the distance of the north-about sea trip being five times greater than […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Logistics | Merchant Marines

Note: The Probable Sailing Capabilities of Middle Minoan Aegean Ships

By Edward Gifford and Joyce Gifford

Analysis of Minoan seals, together with illustrations from the Thera Frescos, suggests that Minoan vessels of the mid-second millennium BC had fine-lined shallow vee-shaped hulls and could be propelled by oars and sails. It is further suggested that the square sail was boom-footed and could be cocked up to behave as a balanced dipping lug […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Probable Sailing Capabilities of Middle Minoan Aegean Ships

By Edward Gifford and Joyce Gifford

Analysis of Minoan seals, together with illustrations from the Thera Frescos, suggests that Minoan vessels of the mid-second millennium BC had fine-lined shallow vee-shaped hulls and could be propelled by oars and sails. It is further suggested that the square sail was boom-footed and could be cocked up to behave as a balanced dipping lug […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Seychelles Schooners

By Peter Thomson

The various vessels known as Seychelles schooners are described, with their fishing locations and habits. There is an understanding of the reasons behind their decline, including a lack of investment on the part of the owners and reluctance to change within the society. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Royal Marine and Army Reaction to Seditious Handbills in 1797

By Elizabeth Mary Diamond

This documents the vigorous response by the army to an invitation from disaffected naval personnel to join them in rebellion. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

NOTE: Some Proposed Compromises on Triremes

By Alec Tilley

This note proposes several compromises which would allow some of the evidence concerning ancient warships to be accepted and scientific methods adopted. Such compromises are necessary in the number of oarsmen, their organisation and seating arrangements. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Marsala Punic ship: an Obituary

By Honor Frost

The sad story of the abandonment of any pretence at saving this unique wreck is outlined by Honor Frost who was instrumental in the establishment of its value. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology

Note: The Probable Sailing Capabilities of Middle Minoan Aegean ships

By Edward and Joyce Gifford

Extensive work on evidence from many sources and the reconstruction of sailing characteristics of late Bronze Age sailing craft has resulted in confirmation that such vessels could make reliable direct passages contrary to the prevailing winds. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Force H and British Strategy in the Western Mediterranean 1939-42

By Michael Simpson

This is a re-examination of the effectiveness of the Royal Navy’s Force H, based at Gibraltar under Admiral Sir James Somerville.   Created from a variety of ships and relatively weak, Force H nevertheless coalesced around a centre of gravity provided by its single carrier Ark Royal to achieve remarkable effectiveness. Its ‘doorkeeper’ role permitted action […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

‘I Shall Make Five Sons of Mine Fight for Their King and Country’: the Naval Sons of William IV and Mrs Jordan

By Hugh Owen

King William IV’s illegitimate sons William Courtney and George, Henry, Adolphus and Augustus Fitzclarence all had, at their father’s behest, careers of varying lengths and success in the Royal Navy. Although they possessed royal blood, they did not enjoy royal status, and so their careers were similar in content to, but rather better recorded than, […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Note: The Salvation Navy

By Robert Miller

The organisation and establishment of the Salvation Army is here connected with the 1880s establishment of the Salvation Navy. The role of the Grimsby fishermen is examined, together with the reasons for its failure Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Whaling & Fishing

Note: The Fore-topsail of HMS Victory.

By Peter Goodwin

This artefact, the only historic relic left from the ship of the battle is examined, and its display explained. Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Plagiarism on the Bounty: a note on the composition of Morrison’s Journal.

By Gavin de Lacy

Morrison constructed his journal after his pardon, not during the voyage. Its text is compared with other sources. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Maritime Apollonia (Arsuf) and its Harbours

By Eva Grossman

This note gives more information about the research being done on the dating of early harbours. It concludes that Apollonia was a Crusader stronghold. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards

Note: Early Frame-first Methods of Building Wooden Boats and Ships

By Sean McGrail

This note summarises what is at present known about early frame-based boat and ship-building methods in north-west European, Mediterranean and Chinese / South-east Asian waters. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Medieval | North Sea | Mediterranean | Pacific
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Eighteenth-Century Chinese Vessels at Canton: the Paintings at Skärva, Sweden

By Jeremy Franks

96 paintings of trading vessels in Canton in the eighteenth century hang in a Naval Architect’s house in Skarva near Karlskrona. More similar pictures and documents are held in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Accurate depictions of cargoes carried and the architectural features of background buildings give confidence that the pictures are […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Shipping and Trade in Scotland 1556-1830: the Records of the Scottish Admiralty Court

By Susan Mowat

A good amount of largely unexploited primary source material is readily available in Edinburgh. An index already exists, but only gives the names of the principal protagonists in each case; the author is preparing a better index. Helpful explanations are given of various archaic legal terms used in the material and of its organisation and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Experience of the Sixteenth-Century English Voyages to Guinea

By P.E.H. Hair

English voyages were later than Spanish, French and Portuguese. Trade was initially in gold, ivory, spices and hides, but Hawkins’ voyages in the 1560s carried slaves to the Caribbean. Outbound voyages ‘coasted’ down the western side of Europe and Africa; return voyages struck out into the Atlantic to find helpful winds and currents. Merchants’ Agents […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Health at Sea | Caribbean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Richard Swanley (c 1592-1650), Admiral of the Fleet on the Irish Coast

By E.W.L. Keymer

Additional information on others named Richard Swanley has come to light. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Admiral Stirling at Rio de Janeiro, 1806

By J.D. Grainger

The personal journal kept by Admiral Stirling reveals facts made clear nowhere else. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The Ottomans and the Sea

By C.D. Lee

The Conference held in Cambridge in 1996 developed the idea that the Ottoman Empire had traditionally had a maritime dimension. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Note: Sixth Anglo-French Conference of Naval Historians, July 1996

By Captain Hugh Owen RN

This Exeter Conference traced co-operation between Britain and France from Bayonne in the thirteenth century to the Dutch wars of the seventeenth century and the Crimean War. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Lurcher Cutter in the Seven Years’ War, 1761-1763

By Carol D. Greene

His Majesty’s Cutter Lurcher entered service in February 1761 through purchase of a captured French vessel. She served in the Dover Strait and the North Sea on convoy and patrol duties until March 1762. She was then dispatched to the West Indies. Lurcher compressed into slightly less than two years’ service all the patrol, convoy, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Seven Years’ War | North Sea | Mutiny & Discipline | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Logistics | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons | Whaling & Fishing

Parliamentary Naval Politics 1641-49

By M.L. Baumber

The radicals marked their triumph in the Navy by reviving the mixed Navy Commission of 1642, showing very clearly that it was a device to ensure close parliamentary control over the Navy. Yet for a second time its effective authority lasted no more than a year, before renewed allegations of corruption against the merchants provoked […] Read More

Filed under: English Civil War | Mutiny & Discipline | Irish Sea | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Henry Seckford: Sixteenth Century Merchant, Courtier and Privateer

By Susan Maxwell

Henry Seckford was a vigorous, thrusting and quite ruthless merchant and businessman, always seeking the best route to personal profit whilst at the same time serving others. Henry Seckford was hedging his bets too. From the evidence it seems he turned from the Spanish wine trade to more speculative ventures in less sure markets – […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | English Channel | The Armada | Pacific | East India Company | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Science & Exploration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Gibraltar Dockyard: Problems of Recruitment 1939-1945

By Philip Macdougall

With increasing awareness that a further European war might one day occur, the decision was finally taken to enlarge two of the docks. From the point of view of labour recruitment, the adopted time table for work upon these docks turned a relatively simple problem into a nightmare. With both docks, at differing times, placed […] Read More

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