Olla-Podrida Sept-Oct 2012 Bumper issue

COVER Betrayal UK

~ News & Views for fans of Julian Stockwin’s historical fiction ~

++ always sent in plain text: guarantees no virus/malware on your computer ++


September/October 2012

[Olla-podrida: an affectionate 18th-century term for a colourful medley of items]

In the lead-up to the launch of BETRAYAL we’re bringing you a special bumper double issue! There’s a great prize up for grabs and a just-for-fun salty quiz…



Broadly Boats News

Broadly Guns News

Nighthawk News

Firetrench Directory

+ Starred review for BETRAYAL
The highly-respected Publishers Weekly in the USA: “Stockwin… is a master of Napoleonic-era atmosphere and rich descriptions of the military, politics and society. With the last two books, Stockwin’s series is approaching the level of C S Forester’s Hornblower books.”

+ BETRAYAL launch dates
BETRAYAL is out simultaneously in the UK, India and the US in early October. It will be available in Australia and New Zealand at the end of October; Canada and South Africa in early November.

+ Author events
As part of the 2012 Lyme Regis Arts Festival Julian will be one of three guest speakers at a Literary Night (along with Jason Goodwin and Will Wiles). The ticket prices includes a delicious three-course meal. The event takes place on Tuesday, September 11 at ‘By the Bay Restaurant’, Marine Parade, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3EJ Tickets: GBP19.95. 01297 442668.

Details of other events in the lead-up to the launch of BETRAYAL will be posted as they come to hand.

+ Sermons to go!
Julian was delighted to hear from two ministers of the cloth recently that they found inspiration for their sermons in material from this newsletter and the Kydd books!

+ Can USS “Texas” be saved?
The oldest surviving battleship of its kind, she recently reopened as a floating museum on a bayou near Houston but faces an uncertain future.

+ The Red Ensign
Nearly 50,000 British Merchant Navy Men where lost during the first two World Wars. On September 3rd 1939, a few hours after war had been declared against Germany, the first shipping casualty occurred with the sinking of the Donaldson Line passenger ship, “Athenia”, 112 passengers and crew perished. For almost six years right to the end of the war there was barely a day went by without the loss of merchant ships and their crews. Julian regards these men as the true heroes of the war.

Please take time to remember the forgotten heroes of the Merchant Navies of all nationalities on September 3, Merchant Navy Day.

+ Print offer
Until the end of September you can still take advantage of the exclusive 20% discount offer on any of the superb John Chancellor limited edition prints at <http://www.johnchancellor.co.uk> Just enter the code JRC20 at the checkout.

+ A link with Jane Austen!
Timbers found under floorboards at Chatham Historic Dockyard are from “Namur”, which played a key role in Seven Years’ War. The ship was captained from 1811-1814 by Charles Austen, brother of the famous novelist.

+ Vasa
After an incredible seven and a half years, Clayton Johnson’s stunning model of “Vasa” is completed.
<http://www.julianstockwin.com/Vasa.htm >

+ Congratulations, Old Ironsides
The much beloved USS “Constitution” took to the water for the first time since 1997, part of the celebrations connected with the anniversary of the War of 1812


“BETRAYAL is the 13th book in the Thomas Kydd series. It’s set largely in South America in 1806 and follows on closely from CONQUEST, the previous title.

This is the publisher’s blurb: ‘Cape Colony is proving a tiresome assignment for Captain Kydd’s daring commander-in-chief Commodore Popham. Rumours that South America’s Spanish colonies are in a ferment of popular unrest and of a treasure hoard of silver spur him to assemble a makeshift invasion fleet and launch a bold attack on the capital of the Viceroyalty of the River Plate, Buenos Aires. Navigating the treacherous bars and mud flats of the river, the British invasion force lands and wins a battle against improbable odds, taking the capital and the silver. But nothing is as simple as it seems in this region of the world: the uprising that will see the end of Spanish rule never arrives and the locals begin to see dark conspiracies behind the invader’s actions. Soon the tiny British force finds itself surrounded by an ever more hostile population. The city begins to revolt against its liberators. Now Kydd’s men must face fierce resistance and the betrayal of their closest allies. Can they save themselves, and their prize?’

Because so much of the Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro of Kydd’s day has changed dramatically Kathy and I didn’t go there on location research. Instead, we spent time in London poring over historical material in libraries and archives. To get a feel for Spanish culture we also visited Spain, and I’m grateful for the research assistance from professional translator Sarah Callejo, who lives in Madrid and who was most generous in her time.

One of the nice things about working on a series is you are writing not only about new characters, but ones who have appeared in earlier titles. They are all like family now and it is a special pleasure to weave them in and out of the story lines in various books. In BETRAYAL, you’ll be reunited with Stirk, Dodd, Calloway, Doud – and many more of my fictional characters. There’s also, of course, real personages from history – Charles Fox, Lord Grenville, Home Popham etc.

My next book after BETRAYAL has the working title, CARIBBEE, and sees Kydd and Renzi back in the Caribbean.”

+ BETRAYAL on the website
There’s a special page on Julian’s website with an excerpt from the book and BETRAYAL Extra – images and information about the story
<http://www.julianstockwin.com/BETRAYAL Extra.htm>

+ Toothsome…
One of the South American dishes that Kydd enjoys is Papas al Horno. If you would like to sample this yourself, here’s an easy recipe: Rub quartered baking potatoes generously with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and sweet paprika, then roast in a hot oven. Turn once or twice during cooking.


In comparison with France, the Royal Navy was quite slow in standardising a uniform for its officers. (The French navy adopted theirs in the second half of the seventeenth century.)

In 1748 a blue and white uniform was introduced in the Royal Navy for admirals, captains, commander, lieutenants and midshipmen. Up until this time officers wore whatever they liked, in accord with the fashion of the age and their own personal taste.

And there was a great sartorial range! Admiral Thomas Matthews wore a blue coat with gold lace and a red waistcoat. Captain Windham, HMS “Kent”, favoured a green coat faced with red and a red waistcoat and breeches. Commodore Charles Brown lived up to his name with a complete outfit of russet brown and a Captain Whipple wore a pink coat.

Will’s Coffee House in London was a meeting place for a number of officers belonging to the Navy Club and the story goes that at one gathering there it was decided to petition the Admiralty for an official uniform. The main players in this move were Captains Augustus Keppel and Philip Saumarez and Admiral John Forbes.

There are several versions as to exactly what happened next. One is that these three gentlemen put their suggestion to the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Duke of Bedford, who asked them to appear at the Admiralty wearing coats of their own design which could then be shown to the king to make his choice. Captain Philip Saumarez is thought to have worn a blue coat with white facings. Other choices included grey, with red facings. After much discussion, blue and white was chosen, the final decision being made by King George II, who had seen the First Lord’s wife, the comely Duchess of Bedford in Hyde Park in a striking blue and white riding habit – and was much taken. Some say that this was part of a plot as the colours blue and white had already been chosen by the Admiralty and the Duchess was persuaded to wear them to win the king over.

Another story recounts that the initiative came from George II, who summoned Admiral Forbes to discuss a design for a naval uniform. Forbes favoured a mixture of red, white and blue, being the national colours. But the meeting was only a formality as the king had already chosen blue and white, having seen the Duchess riding in the park wearing a dark blue and white habit.

Whatever the truth of these anecdotes, blue and white were from then on the colours of the Royal Navy’s uniform and has since spread to be that of virtually every navy in the world. The 1748 uniform consisted of an embroidered blue coat to the knees with white facings, worn unbuttoned. Rank was distinguished by the shape and cut of the lapels and cuffs. The buttons were of a bright white metal and generally had a rose in the centre, but some were left plain.

It was initially called marine blue, but the name of the colour changed to navy blue. The first recorded use of navy blue as a colour name in English was in 1840.


All the questions have a salty connection and are based on STOCKWIN’S MARITIME MISCELLANY, Julian’s non-fiction tome. Answers at the end of the newsletter.

1. Which famous sailor adopted this motto: “Sic Parva Magna”?

2. What day do mariners, even now, go to great lengths to avoid sailing on?

3. Where was Magellan killed?

4. Who was “Old Grogram” – and what is his claim to fame?

5. What was called “The Shippe Swallower”?

6. Which pirate city virtually disappeared in 1692?

7. In January 1804 the Royal Navy took possession of a rock and declared it a warship. Can you name it, and its location?

8. Who won The Great Tea Race of 1866?

9. Which year became known as “The Year of Victories”?

10. Frederick Marryat has been called the father of modern nautical fiction. Name another important contribution he made, which was adopted by the merchant marine?

From Julian’s mailbag: “When did we start calling Kydd’s navy the ‘Royal Navy’? I ask because I have an engraving of de Loutherbourg’s famous painting of the Battle of Camperdown and, as was the custom for engravings funded by subscription, the engraver, copying Loutherbourg’s composition exactly, dedicated the print: THE VICTORY OBTAINED OVER THE DUTCH FLEET BY THE BRITISH SQUADRON OF THE NORTH SEA UNDER THE COMMAND OF ADMIRAL DUNCAN IN THE ACTION OF THE 1ST OCTOBER 1797 – To the Right Hon’ble Lord Viscount Duncan, the Officers and Seamen of the British Navy…

Julian was happy to clear up the confusion – “In Henry VIII’s time the ‘Navy Royal’ was the personal navy of the king. With Pepys and Cromwell that name ceased to be used of course, but the navy remained loyal to the king. When Charles II ascended the throne he called it the ‘Royal Navy’, although he did not see it as his personal navy; the name was an honorific. Over time, since the huge success in the Napoleonic Wars, the world has come to know ‘Royal Navy’ as an iconic term for the British Navy. At the time of the painting to which you refer, Royal Navy was not such a universal term as it is today.”

As an aside the Army in Britain today is not accorded this status, but the Marines are. In 1802, largely at the instigation of John Jervis, Earl St Vincent, George III decreed that marines, the soldiers of the sea, henceforth would be known as the Royal Marines. Three years later Jervis would say of the Royal Marines: “If ever the hour of real danger should come to England, they will be found the country’s sheet anchor.”

The Cap, the Book, the Bag!

The contest prize is a Union Jack Tote, along with a navy blue Kydd Cap and a copy of BETRAYAL.

To go into the hat, here’s the question: Which book in the Kydd series begins with these words “The sound of carriage wheels echoed loudly in the blackness of Downing Street.”

Hint: The first chapters of each book are posted on Julian’s website…

The first correct entry drawn after midnight GMT on September 30 will be the winner!

Congratulations to last month’s winner of the Chancellor print, Geoff Wheatley.

Some wonderful salty titles are hitting the bookstores, along with some golden oldies, still in print. Here’s our selection of six of the best…

Why not stock up while you’re waiting for BETRAYAL?

by Stephen Taylor
Published by Faber and Faber

At last, the biography this legendary captain (who has always been somewhat overshadowed by Nelson) deserves. Orphaned at eight, Pellew fought his way up from the bottom of the Navy to fleet command and viscountcy. He combined superb seamanship with valour, gallantry and courage. At times he antagonised the establishment but he always had the love of his men and the public. Taylor’s biography paints a picture of a hugely engaging and sympathetic figure.

Voices from the Bridge
by David Smith and John Johnson-Allen
Published by Seafarer Books

Up until not so long ago half the world’s cargoes were carried by British merchant ships and the officers and crews who sailed in them were heirs to a tradition stretching back centuries. Based on interviews and written accounts from over fifty contributors this is an important record of a seagoing way of life that has all but vanished.

The Telescope
A Short History
by Robert Dunn
Published by Conway

A lively narrative of the extraordinary characters and events that have shaped the 400 years of the life of this iconic instrument.

Superbly illustrated, largely with images from the National Maritime Museum.

Doctor for Friend or Foe
by Rick Jolly
Published by Conway

Dispatched to the Falkland Islands in April 1982 the author was part of the British Task Force in the bid to take it back. As Senior Medical Officer of 3 Commando Brigade he ran the field hospital at Ajax Bay throughout the conflict which treated nearly a thousand casualties from both sides. The book is a fast-paced and gripping war diary.

To Auckland by the Ganges
by Robert M Grogans
Published by Whittles Publishing

In 1863 David Buchanan, who lived in Scotland, opted for a new life in New Zealand. Based on his journals, this book is an engrossing and vivid account of life aboard an emigrant ship and the early settlement of a fledgling colony.

Beyond the Harbour Lights
by Chris Smith
Published by Whittles Publishing

British ships were once found in every corner of the world with harbours offering a safe haven to ocean-weary ships. In the majority of cases these voyages from harbour to harbour were uneventful – but sometimes an ordinary voyage became an extraordinary one…

This very readable little volume recounts 26 such voyages, mainly from the 1920s and 1930s.

In BETRAYAL, en route to South America, Kydd once again stops briefly at St Helena, one of the most isolated islands in the world. We meet Governor Patton again, and he makes an important contribution to the mission to South America.

Only ten miles by six, St Helena is 1,200 miles from Africa, 1,800 miles from South America.

By the late 17th century, the Island of St. Helena was known as a welcome landfall on the long journey home from the East Indies – a respite from the ocean, where fresh water and provisions could be purchased. There was the chance, too, that other sailors might be there, with news and gossip.

From about 1770, the island enjoyed a lengthy period of prosperity. Captain James Cook visited the island in 1775 on the final leg of his second circumnavigation of the world. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later to become the Duke of Wellington, stayed in 1805, and the famous naturalist William Burchell also arrived that year.

During the 18th Century, buildings and forts were improved and the historic Main Street of the town was constructed, only to be later destroyed and requiring rebuilding in the middle of the 19th Century after white ants from wood used from a captured slave vessel ravaged the town.

In 1815 the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was brought to the island in October 1815 and lodged at Longwood, where he died on 5 May 1821.

Charles Darwin visited in 1836 on his round the world voyage on the “Beagle”.

The first of an occasional series on maritime heroes through the ages.
William Sanders, VC, DSO.

During the First World War Britain was in desperate need of a countermeasure against the U-boats that were strangling her sea-lanes.

Q-ships were wolves in sheep’s clothing, merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. These top secret Royal Navy vessels, although not now regarded as having been very operationally effective, attracted men of great courage and daring.

One such was New Zealander William Sanders, who commanded “Prize”, a topsail schooner.

On 30 April 1917 “Prize” encountered U-93, off the coast of south-west Ireland. The U boat opened fire, and during 25 minutes of intense shelling, “Prize” waited for the submarine to close. Sanders remained icily calm throughout the bombardment, from time to time crawling along the deck of the ship to reassure the concealed crew. When the submarine was just 80 yards away he hoisted the White Ensign and then opened fire on the submarine, destroying its conning tower. U-93 caught fire and sank; only three of the complement were rescued, among them the German captain who is said to have commended Sanders on his bravery and endurance under fire.

This action is iconic in that it would seem to be the last combat at sea under sail for the Royal Navy. Sail against a submarine and torpedoes!

Sanders was awarded the Victoria Cross and promoted to lieutenant commander.

However, incredibly, U-93 had been brought under control by the surviving crew and managed to limp back to Germany, where it gave warning of “Prize”‘s appearance and tactics.

In August therefore, another U-boat, U-43, torpedoed “Pride” without warning. She went down with the loss of Sanders and all his men.


1. Which famous mariners adopted this motto: “Sic Parva Magna”?
A. Francis Drake. The motto means: “Great achievements from small things.”

2. What day do mariners, to this day, go to great lengths to avoid sailing on?
A. Friday. In the words of the old saying: “Friday sail, Friday fail.”

3. Where was Magellan killed?
A. In the Philippines. He became embroiled in a dispute with local tribes and met his death at the hands of the native chieftain Lapu Lapu.

4. Who was “Old Grogram” – and what is his claim to fame?
A. This was the nickname of Admiral Vernon because of the boat cloak he wore made out of that material. In 1740 ordered the rum ration diluted 1:4 and thereafter the drink was called grog.

5. What was called “The Shippe Swallerer”?
A. This was Chaucer writing about the Goodwin Sands, off the coast of the town of Deal in Kent. More than 2000 ships have been wrecked there.

6. Who was the English navigator whose life story inspired the character of John Blackthorne in James Clavell’s “Shogun”?
A. William Adams. He was one of the most influential foreigners during Japan’s first period of opening to he West.

7. In January 1804 the Royal Navy took possession of a rock and declared it a warship. Can you name it, and its location.
A. Diamond Rock, off the island of Martinique in the Caribbean.

6. Which pirate city was swallowed by the sea in 1692?
A. Port Royal, in Jamaica. It was devastated by a massive earthquake on 7 June, followed by an enormous tidal wave.

8. Who won The Great Tea Race of 1866?
A. It was a nail-biting event from start to finish but “Taeping” took the honours by a whisker over “Ariel”. The captains shared the prize.

9. Which year became known as “The Year of Victories”?
A. 1759. Among other achievements – Admiral Boscawen bested the French off the coast of Portugal, Quebec was captured and Hawke achieved a decisive victory at Quiberon Bay.

10. Frederick Marryat has been called the father of modern nautical fiction. What other important contribution did he make, for the merchant marine?
A. He devised a simplified signalling system which was adopted by the merchant marine, and others. So popular was it that it was in use unchanged until 1879.

There are many more fascinating salty snippets to enjoy in the book <http://www.julianstockwin.com/Miscellany.htm>

How did you go? Award yourself a tot if you could eight or more correct!

Browse Julian’s website at <http://www.julianstockwin.com/>

Connect with Julian on Facebook and Twitter at :

We’ll be back in November!

Leave a Reply