Olla-Podrida: Julian Stockwin Newsletter, August 2012


O L L A – P O D R I D A

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

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


August 2012

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


Broadly Boats News

Nighthhawk News

Firetrench Directory

+ Fabulous print prize this month!
The print contest in the December issue was one of most popular ever! Tessa Makepeace, John Chancellor’s daughter, has generously donated another print of one of her father’s paintings for a contest prize this month. SEE CONTESTS

And for a limited period Tessa is offering an exclusive 20% discount on +any+ of the twelve Chancellor prints featured – just enter JRC20 at the checkout. The discount runs August 1 to September 30.

+ Money Back Draw!
Up to the end of August Kydd Club Members will be eligible for a special offer on any STOCKWIN TO GO purchases from the website – automatic entry into a draw for a full refund of the purchase price. If you’re not a Kydd Club member you can sign up via the link below, a nominal fee applies. Each time you buy something from STOCKWIN TO GO you’ll go into the hat! The winner will be drawn on August 31 and notified by email.

+ Facebook Pages
In addition to Julian’s two main Facebook pages
<http://www.facebook.com/julian.stockwin> (Do send a Friend Request…)

Here are individual pages for each of his books. Why not take a look? We welcome comments on your favourite titles:

The Thomas Kydd books

Stockwin’s Maritime Miscellany

Of all the ships that swam during the Age of Sail, frigates are perhaps the most iconic. They often operated independently, roaming the seas for prey and prize, or were tasked as the “eyes” of a fleet, sent out ahead of the main body of ships. Frigate captains such as Pellew and Cochrane became national heroes and a number went on to build great estates based on wealth from prize money.

Admiral Smyth in his 1867 “Sailor’s Word-Book” has this to say on the subject of the frigate:

“In the Royal Navy the next class vessel to a ship-of-the-line; formerly a light nimble ship built for the purpose of sailing swiftly. The name was early known in the Mediterranean and applied to a long kind of vessel, navigated in that sea, with sails and oars. The English were the first who appeared on the ocean with these ships, and equipped them for war as well as for commerce. These vessels mounted from 28 to 60 guns, and made excellent cruisers. Frigate is now apocryphal, being carried up to 7000 tons. The ‘donkey-frigate’ was a late invention to serve patronage, and sprigs of certain houses were educated in them. They carried 28 guns, carronades, and were about 600 tons burden, commanded by captains who sometimes found a commander in a sloop which could blow him out of the water.”

Nelson famously bemoaned: “Was I to die this moment, ‘Want of Frigates’ would be found stamped on my heart.”

Tom Kydd to date has sailed in two frigates,”Artemis” and “L’Aurore”, the latter a French prize, and his second command after “Teazer”.
Some interesting sites:

“Unicorn” is a unique survivor from the brief transitional period between the traditional wooden sailing ship and the revolutionary iron steamship, and is now one of the six oldest ships left in the world.

Preserved for posterity in Hartlepool, HMS “Trincomalee” is a Leda class, one of the most successful of the frigate designs.

“Old Ironsides” is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, one of the heavy frigates built for the nation’s fledgling navy, proudly still flying Old Glory for the United States Navy.

After fifteen years of work, the replica of the frigate “L’Hermione” has been launched into the Charente River in Rochefort, France. This is one to watch!

THE ADMIRAL’S DAUGHTER has just been published in Japanese. And there’s interesting links to Julian’s wife Kathy and one of Japan’s most popular foodstuffs, seaweed!

In the book Julian makes mention of a real character from history, John Stackhouse.

Stackhouse was a contemporary of Sir Joseph Banks and an early member of the Linnean Society, elected in 1795. In Cornwall Stackhouse developed his interest in seaweeds, building Acton Castle, near Prussia Cove, with special tanks for the study of seaweeds.

In 1802 Stackhouse sold Acton Castle to Captain Bulkeley Praed, previously Nelson’s navigator at the Battle of the Nile.

Julian says he took special pleasure in including reference to John Stackhouse in THE ADMIRAL’S DAUGHTER as this is his wife’s maiden name and she is his direct descendant.

Starting this month – an occasional quiz to test your knowledge of some of England’s most important fleet actions. This month, 214 years ago, the Battle of the Nile was fought.

See how you go in this quiz – answers at the end of the newsletter.

1. How many French ships-of-line survived the battle?
2. Where was the French fleet anchored?
3. Which city did Nelson visit after the victory?
4. Which French ship ablaze did Geoff Hunt so dramatically portray on the cover of TENACIOUS?
5. Name the poem written commemorating the battle by Dorothy Hemans.
6. What did Nelson famously say after surveying the scene on the morning of August 2?
7. Captain Hallowell retrieved the mainmast from “L’Orient” – to what unusual use did he put this?
8. What injury did Nelson sustain in the engagement?
9. Name the French commander.
10. What was the butcher’s bill?

And we have a hardback of MUTINY (in which Julian places Tom Kydd in the heart of this battle) up for grabs. Just send your name and address with “Nile” in the subject line to <admin@julianstockwin.com> Deadline: August 20

Two VICTORY connections…

Mary-Jane Barker, who lives in Yorkshire, got in touch to tell Julian how much she enjoyed his book VICTORY. She also has a fascinating connection with the famous ship.

Her father was almost born in the ship! Mary-Jane’s grandmother had gone on board to see the captain and went into premature labour. There was some concern that she would have to deliver the baby in “Victory”! However, with great care she was helped into the captain’s launch and rowed to the quay-side in time to get her to the hospital where a short time later Mary-Jane’s father was born safely.

Many years later, as a Navy wife herself, Mary-Jane had the chance to go on board “Victory” for a tour. During the tour she was telling her friend the story of her father’s birth and a short time later she was approached by a leading hand who asked me if she would follow him. He took her to Admiral Nelson’s state room, where she was introduced to Captain Charles Poland and over a sherry she told him all about her father’s interesting arrival.

Mary-Jane made several more visits to the ship and told Julian: “It was fascinating and I began to feel a great affection for Lord Nelson…The passage in your book that describes the death of Nelson had me in tears, you describe it so movingly and with such tender detail that I felt the loss and grief of all those aboard the flotilla.

Just in closing, years ago when at a party a volunteer for a hypnotism experiment was called for. I was chosen and I was regressed to the time of Trafalgar. I became gun captain Thomas L’Arby aboard HMS ‘Polyphemus’. I described my uniform right down to the silver buttons and buckles!”

p.s. Mary-Jane’s husband served in HMS “Ark Royal” and her son Alexander was the last baby christened in her, but as she was such an illustrious ship they were not given the ship’s bell. (Traditionally, if a ship is decommissioned the last child baptised aboard is given the bell.) Mary-Jane’s son carried on the family tradition and joined the Navy.

And in quite another VICTORY connection, Julian was recently bowled over to be sent a photograph of Commander Gabriel Catolino of the Argentine Navy holding a copy of his book, with his destroyer squadron in the background.

We know many fans of Julian’s sea tales also enjoy reading about other aspects of the Napoleonic era. Gareth Glover is a former Royal Navy officer who has written extensively on the period, mainly from a land perspective.

“The Waterloo Archive” published by Frontline Books is the fourth in his Waterloo Archive series.

This engaging book contains actual letters and journals written largely in the immediate aftermath of the campaign of 1815, both from frontline troops and the support services. Among the highlights is an account by Frederick Ponsonby of his experience on the battlefield.

Ponsonby was wounded in both arms, knocked off his horse by another sabre cut, and finally stabbed in the back by a French lancer and lay wounded in the field. A French skirmisher robbed him as he lay helpless on the ground. Luckily for Ponsonby, a Major de Laussat of the Imperial Guard Dragoons found him and treated him kindly, giving him some brandy and promising to send help. Later, another French skirmisher used Ponsonby as a shield as he fired over him. Toward the end of the battle, he was ridden over by Prussian cavalry and roughed up by a Prussian looking for plunder. At last, Ponsonby was discovered by a soldier of the 40th Foot who stood guard over him during the night. He was carried away in a cart to a surgeon who tended to his seven major wounds and managed to stop the bleeding. He convalesced under the supervision of his sister Lady Caroline Lamb who nursed him back to health.

“The Frigate Patrol”
A stunning limited edition print from an oil painting by John Chancellor.

Julian is a great fan of the work of Chancellor, whose sea reality, meticulous attention to detail and artistic skills are showcased in this work.

The background to the painting: In 1796 the western approaches were effectively patrolled by two powerful frigate squadrons. One of these was commanded by Sir Edward Pellew in “Indefatigable”, which he had joined in 1794. She is seen in this print, having rounded Ushant. “Indefatigable” was originally a 64 but was cut down by one deck and re-rated as a 44-gun frigate. These ships were fast and powerful and could be readily distinguished from other frigates of the period, having one or two unusual features. Sir Edward Pellew commanded for her over four years, during which time she distinguished herself in a number of celebrated actions.

To go into the hat for a chance to win this print, list three other types of vessels mentioned in the painting descriptions. Emails to <admin@julianstockwin.com> Please include your name and full postal address. Deadline: August 20.

Congratulations to Shaun Beckham, winner of last month’s contest.


1. How many French ships-of-the line survived the battle?
A. Two; two were destroyed, eleven captured.
2. Where was the French fleet anchored?
A. Aboukir Bay
3. Which city did Nelson visit after the victory?
A. Naples
4. Which French ship ablaze did Geoff Hunt so dramatically portray on the cover of Julian’s TENACIOUS?
A. “L’Orient”
5. Name the poem written by Dorothy Heman commemorating the battle.
A. “Casabianca”, written in 1826. According to legend, Luc, the young son of Commodore Casa Bianca, the captain of “L’Orient”, obediently stayed at his post waiting for his father’s order to leave the ship – an order than never came.

“The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle’s wreck
Shone round him o’er the dead…”

6. What did Nelson famously say after surveying the devastation on the morning of August 2?
A. “Victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene.”
7. Captain Hallowell retrieved some of the timbers from “L’Orient” – to what unusual use did he put this?
A. He had a coffin made, which he later presented to Nelson. When he died of his injuries at the Battle of Trafalgar Nelson’s body was returned to England and was buried in Hallowell’s coffin.
8. What injury did Nelson sustain?
A. Nelson, standing on his quarter-deck, was struck on the head by a piece of flying langridge – the scrap shot much used by the French for the destruction of British sails. The fragment cut his brow to the bone, above his old wound, and a flap of flesh, falling down over his good eye, accompanied by profuse haemorrhage, blinded him temporarily.
9. Name the French commander.
A. Admiral Francois-Paul Brueys d’Aigalliers. He was killed in the battle, saved the final ignominy of seeing his flagship destroyed when a roundshot took off his head.
10. What was the butcher’s bill?
A. Sources vary but it is thought that the British suffered in the region of 200 killed and close to 680 wounded, the French lost around 1400 killed and 600 wounded. The French figures are less certain, and various sources have estimated between 2000 and 5000 killed and wounded.

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Coming next month: September/October will combine in a +bumper issue+ in the lead-up to the launch of BETRAYAL.

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