New post on Julian Stockwin
Hornblowers Historical Shipmates by Heather Noel-Smith and Lorna M Campbell
The book sets out the lives of seventeen ‘young gentlemen’ who were midshipmen under Pellew. Together, aboard the frigate HMS Indefatigable, they fought the celebrated action in 1797 against the French ship of the line Les Droits de l’Homme. C. S. Forester placed Horatio Hornblower aboard Pellew’s ship as a midshipman – this book tells the actual stories of Hornblower’s shipmates in real-life and provides a fascinating and absorbing snapshot of the later eighteenth-century sailing navy in microcosm.
From diverse backgrounds, aristocratic and humble, they bonded closely with Pellew, learned their naval leadership skills from him, and benefited from his patronage and his friendship in their subsequent, very varied careers. Besides tracing the men’s naval lives, the book shows how they adapted to peace after 1815, presenting details of their subsequent civilian careers. The colourful lives recounted include those of the Honourable George Cadogan, son of an earl, who survived three courts martial and a duel to retire with honour as an admiral in 1813; Thomas Groube, of a Falmouth merchant family, who commanded a fleet of boats which destroyed the Dutch shipping at Batavia, capital of the Dutch East Indies, in 1806; and James Bray, of Irish Catholic descent, who was killed commanding a sloop during the American war of 1812.
An Appendix, of a remarkable exchange of letters between Pellew and Lord Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Bibliography of primary and secondary sources, are offered for those wishing to delve deeper into the lives of Hornblower’s historical shipmates and their gallant commander.
Much enjoyed and recommended, and until October 3 you can take advantage of a 40% discount on this book and other titles.