BookPick: Mary Rose and Billy Ruffian

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Some ships capture our hearts and minds. Mary Rose and HMS Bellerophon are two such celebrated in this double helping of Book Pick. One ship has been saved for the nation, the other sadly not, but both are deservedly especially honoured, part of Britain’s rich seafaring heritage.

SHIPS2  M RoseThe raising of Mary Rose in 1982, 450 years since she sank, made headlines around the world. The ship served Henry VIII’s Navy Royal for thirty-six years, many of which she spent as the flagship on active service. She took part in three wars against the French and one against the Scottish.

This new paperback edition brings the history of this famous warship up to date with new chapters on the stunning presentation of the hull and the 19,000 salvaged artefacts in the new museum in Portsmouth. The book also tells the story of her eventful career, placing it firmly within the colourful context of Tudor politics, court life and the developing administration of a permanent navy. Beautifully illustrated.

The Warship Mary Rose by David Childs, Published by Seaforth. ISBN 978 1 84832 211 0

400-SHIPS1  BellepheronKnown as ‘Billy Ruffian’ to Jack Tar, Bellerophon’s story spans the dramatic years of the Napoleonic wars, 1793 – 1815. She took part in the first great fleet action of the War and was involved in the last moments of the struggle with the surrender of Napoleon. Bellerophon was one of the most distinguished of the 74-gun ships. Having fought at The Glorious First of June, the Battle of the Nile and Trafalgar she saw more than her share of fierce ship-to-ship encounters. In between there were the varying duties of blockade and escort carried out with service in the Channel, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, the Baltic and the West Indies. Author Pengelly covers the many and various aspects of the ship’s life from construction through maintenance and refits, action against the enemy, to her final disposal.

This book was first published in 1966 and reprinted this year.

HMS Bellerophon by Colin Pengelly, Published by Pen and Sword. ISBN 1783 462 40X

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