Hats off to Sim!

Sim Comfort’s eclectic treasure trove of coins, medals, paintings, swords and other naval items has been built up over many decades. An American by birth, Sim joined the US Navy at age 18. The US Naval Security Group sent him to Guam and later to London, where the National Maritime Museum sparked a life-long love affair with British naval history. His interest in collecting named Davison’s Nile, Boulton’s Trafalgar and Earl St Vincent’s Medal of Approbation medals began in 1970 when he purchased a bronze-gilt Davison Nile medal, awarded to George Thompson, HMS Defence, 1798. Sim had to know who made these marvellous medals, who received them, who designed them, who paid for them, how were they distributed, what were they like. Matthew Boulton’s Naval Medals answers all these questions.

simThe book is an in-depth study of Boulton’s seven medals which include the Otaheite (Resolution & Adventure), St Eustatia, Glorious First of June, Davidson’s Nile, Ferdinand IV, East St Vincent’s and Boulton’s Trafalgar medals.

Matthew Boulton was a prominent Birmingham industrialist. His first medal was the Otaheite medal conceived by Sir Joseph Banks, which was to be presented to peoples yet discovered on Captain Cook’s second and third voyages.

Later, Boulton had mastered the power of steam in producing medals with remarkable results. Working with the talented die maker and designer of medals, Conrad Heinrich Kuchler, new levels of excellence were achieved. Five medals owe much to Kuchler: Earl Howe’s, the Davison Nile, Ferdinand IV, Earl St Vincent’s and the Boulton Trafalgar medal, arguably the finest British naval medal ever struck.

sim-and-jsAs well as a wealth of information on the actual medals, this book recounts the life stories of the men who received them, along with battle details of both the Nile and Trafalgar. Included for the Nile are the accounts by the American-born Captain Ralph Miller who commanded Theseus and the French artist and author Vivant Denon, who witnessed the battle.

Matthew Boulton’s Naval Medals is a work that makes an important contribution to naval scholarship and is commended as a superb addition to the library of any serious student of the Napoleonic period. Most handsomely presented, the book is offered as a limited edition of 500 copies; it is available for £125.00 plus postage from Sim Comfort Associates


Sim has published a number of fine reprints on naval subjects, including David Steel’s ‘Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship.‘ He has also authored three other important books based on his collection, ‘Forget Me Not‘ (a study of naval and maritime engraved coins and plate), ‘Naval Swords and Dirks‘ (British, French and American weapons, 1730-1830) and ‘Lord Nelson’s Swords‘.

Sim’s guest blog is on the naval medals of England

Discovering Kydd: What’s Your Story?

I recently posted this on Facebook – ‘One of my readers told me: “I stumbled upon Kydd by luck and subsequently devoured the rest in the series in just under 3 weeks.” I’m curious as to how others discovered my Kydd tales…’

The response was overwhelming, with great variety in how readers came across my books, ranging from a hotel library in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, to a gift from a loving American mother to a homesick son in Japan, to a recommendation from an external auditor!

Here’s a small selection :

discover
Anchor bulletHer Lioness mentioned to me she’d read a book with the title Kydd and enjoyed it. As she usually runs a long sea mile from naval fiction, my curiosity was piqued – and now I’m hooked!
My step son put me onto the series knowing I enjoyed naval novels and history of being in the Royal Navy. Never looked back.

Anchor bulletSomehow the Historic Vessel Vega showed up in my Facebook page. They posted a picture of you with HMS Victory in the background. I had read all of Patrick O’Brian’s books and the accompanying comments comparing your books to the Aubrey/Maturin series piqued my interest. I thoroughly enjoy both, I have to give Kydd the edge over Aubrey.

Anchor bulletFound Kydd in a bag on the street. Took it home and read a few pages and knew I must keep reading. Returned the lost book to the library and from there on I have enjoyed.

Anchor bulletI was being audited for ISO 9001 and was chatting to the external auditor and mentioned I loved the novels of Patrick O’Brian. The auditor (can’t remember his name) said he served with a chap called Julian Stockwin who was writing a series of novels that I might enjoy. The rest, as they say, is history.

Anchor bulletSeaflower. I was looking for a book in an airport departure lounge and was seduced by the superb Geoff Hunt cover illustration.

Anchor bulletI was in the new hotel in Atyrau, Kazakhstan in 2002, it was also the office with a small library for expats, there was only about 20 books but this one stood out as it had been read thoroughly and looked extremely dog eared. I took it out and thought after reading the blurb about Kydd that it reminded me a little of Hornblower which I enjoyed as a young man. However I think I read Kydd in two or three nights and that was the beginning of a long and fruitful association with this character from Guildford.

Anchor bulletIt was during a deployment of the South Atlantic and West Indies in 2002 on-board HMS Newcastle (The Geordie Gunboat). Perusing the ship’s library when Kydd jumped out at me, was a little bit roughers off the Falklands. Read every single one since.

Anchor bulletI think it was when Kydd was reviewed on the Historic Naval Fiction forum, back in 2001. I went out and found a hardback copy, first edition, and from then on I was hooked. I lent the book to a friend, who shortly after got himself a job working in Saudi Arabia, and I lost touch with him, but really missed my book, so I went out and bought another first edition. Subsequently he came back to the UK and returned my book, so now I’m the proud possessor of two mint first editions of Kydd.

Anchor bulletI was a homesick Nova Scotian in Japan and my Mum brought me over a copy of Tenacious as the novel began in my home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I then began to collect the series, and with the Maritime Miscellany, I was able to use it for my MA research. It’s also inspired me to become a Navy League of Canada Civilian instructor.

Anchor bulletLuckily I accidentally picked up the wrong book. I’d just finish the last Patrick O’Brian and saw a book that I thought was about Captain Kydd so I grabbed it and haven’t looked back.


If you’d like to share your first encounter with Tom Kydd do get in touch via julian@julianstockwin.com or leave a message via this blog post. I’ll draw one comment at random for a mystery thank-you prize this Friday.

Chatham: World’s Most Complete Age of Sail Dockyard

Over the years I’ve toured over the Chatham Historic Dockyard quite a number of times. Shortly to reopen after its winter closure the dockyard is well worth a visit. There are seven main attractions – Command of the Ocean exhibition; Three Historic Warships (HMS Cavalier, HMS Garnet and HM Submarine Ocelot); the Victorian Ropery; RNLI historic lifeboat Collection; Steam; Steel and Submarines; No. 1 Smithery; No. 3 Slip — something for everyone!

Given my particular maritime interests one attraction stands out – the Command of the Ocean Exhibit. It features the dockyard story with fascinating examples of innovation and craftsmanship. Of note are two internationally significant maritime archaeological discoveries – the timbers of the Namur (1756), intriguingly laid to rest beneath the floor of the old Wheelwrights’ workshop, and a treasure trove of objects recovered from the sea bed from HMS Invincible (1747) which sank off Selsey Bill en route to Canada in 1758.

Recently I was pleased to learn that the long-term future of Chatham’s Historic Dockyard was secured thanks to a lottery grant of £4.8 million for the refurbishment and conversion of the Fitted Rigging House, a Grade 1 listed building.

This provided accommodation for yard workers to make warships’ standing rigging and a storehouse for new equipment. The Fitted Rigging House is one of 100 historic buildings and structures at the dockyard, making it the world’s most complete such complex of the age of sail.


A number of books celebrate the Chatham story, here are two I particularly enjoyed:
Chatham in the Great War by Stephen Wynn
chathamaChatham played a very important part in the United Kingdom’s Great War effort. It was one of the Royal Navy’s three ‘Manning Ports’, with more than a third of the town’s ships manned by men allocated to the Chatham Division. The war was only 6 weeks old when Chatham felt the affects of war for the first time. On 22 September 1914, three Royal Naval vessels from the Chatham Division, HMS Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue, were sunk in quick succession by a German submarine, U-9. A total of 1,459 men lost their lives that day, 1,260 of whom were from the Chatham Division. Two months later, on 26 November, the battleship HMS Bulwark exploded and sunk whilst at anchor off of Sheerness on the Kent coast. There was a loss of 736 men, many of whom were from the Chatham area. By the end of the war, Chatham and the men who were stationed there had truly played their part in ensuring a historic Allied victory.

HMS Cavalier by Richard Johnstone-Bryden
chathamb

HMS Cavalier is a C Class destroyer, one of 96 War Emergency Programme destroyers that were ordered between 1940 and 1942. She saw action on convoy duty off Russia, and later, in 1945, was sent to the Far East where she provided naval gunfire support during the battle of Surabaya. She continued with the British Pacific Fleet until May 1946 and is now designated as a war memorial to the 142 RN destroyers and 11,000 men lost during WWII. Containing more than 200 specially commissioned photographs, this book takes the reader on a superlatively detailed illustrated tour of the ship, from bow to stern and deck by deck. Richard Johnstone-Bryden is a professional marine author, historian and photographer. He is to be commended on this publication which brings the ship so vividly to life, and in a way that I’ve seen seldom matched.

chatham-dickens

And who knew that Charles Dickens wrote about the Dockyard? In his book The Uncommercial Traveller you will find Chapter XXVI devoted to his visit to what was seen as one of the wonders of the Victorian Age…

This Year’s Kydd Series Collectors Sets

There will be two Collectors Set Offers this year — for Persephone, the next title in the Kydd Series (out in May) and for The Baltic Prize, the following book, published in November. As usual, the Collectors Sets comprise a signed, embossed and numbered UK First Edition of the book plus a signed cover postcard. The Sets are strictly limited to 500 in number. First come, first served!

PERSEPHONE Collectors Set

persephone-coverThere will be a Collectors Set Offer for Persephone, the next title in the Kydd Series, out in May.
PERSEPHONE Collectors Set
For UK and Europe £29.99 incl shipping:
PayPal with Credit Cards
PERSEPHONE Collectors Set
For Rest of World £39.99 incl shipping:
PayPal with Credit Cards

THE BALTIC PRIZE Collectors Set

There will be a Collectors Set Offer for The Baltic Prize, the following title in the Kydd Series. This book will be published in November.
THE BALTIC PRIZE Collectors Set
For UK and Europe £29.99 incl shipping:
PayPal with Credit Cards
THE BALTIC PRIZE Collectors Set
For Rest of World £39.99 incl shipping:
PayPal with Credit Cards

(Note: it is not necessary to have a PayPal account to use these links. You can pay with your credit card using the ‘Pay Without a Paypal Account’ button in your Shopping Cart. We cannot accept credit card details for processing this end.)

Reservations without payment may be made to this address. Please include your full postal address and write ‘Persephone Collectors Set’ in the subject line. We will contact you about payment at a later date.

Standing Orders

A number of readers have asked whether they could have a Standing Order for all future Collectors Sets. Just email with your postal details and ‘Sign Me Up for All Future Collectors Sets’ in the subject line.

KyddFest-13:- Conquest

conquest2Over the previous months I’ve been celebrating the earlier titles in the Kydd Series, it’s Conquest for this blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book, either as a first-time reader or if you’re a re-reader and have read it more than once! It’s very gratifying for an author to be told that his work has inspired people to go back and read it again. And some of you have told me you have done this more than twice! Either reply to this blog or email me with your thoughts on Conquest. Every respondent goes into the hat for a chance to win a mystery prize.

    ‘Stockwin assembles an exciting and suspenseful historical loaded with action, intrigue, treachery, and the bloody gore of 1805 warfare. Captain Thomas Kydd returns to sea after the cataclysmic Battle of Trafalgar in command of L’Aurore
    for a joint army-navy expedition to capture Cape Town, South Africa, from the Dutch and expand the British Empire. But in a puzzling move, the Dutch surrender, leaving the British with a restive and reluctant overseas colony while hidden enemy forces prepare to attack. As the threat grows, Kydd tumbles into bed with a beautiful and dangerous French expatriate royalist.

    When Kydd’s sidekick, Nicholas Renzi, stumbles into a deadly plot, Kydd risks his ship, career, and life committing an offence for which he may well hang. Even his own crew disapproves of his actions and questions his motives. Stockwin, a retired lieutenant commander of the British navy, fills this tale with the colourful history of British imperialism, as well as vivid and lush descriptions of colonial South Africa, professional seamanship, bold leadership, and the friendship of two men who share the perils of life at sea in the Royal Navy.’ — Publishers Weekly

Baird on his wife…

conquestvictoryDavid Baird, one of the real-life personages who appears in the book, was born in Scotland and entered the army in 1772. He was a major-general when he commanded the expedition to take the Cape of Good Hope. He liked to wear a curved blade taken from the body of Tippoo Sahib after he stormed Seringapatam during the Anglo-Mysore wars. His left arm was amputated after he was wounded by grapeshot at Corunna in 1809. He married the following year. A devoted husband he liked to jest: ‘I could command 10,000 men, yet I cannot command one woman.’

Capetown

The Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias mentioned the area in 1486. Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497. In the late 16th century, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch and English ships regularly stopped over in Table Bay en route to the Indies. They traded tobacco, copper and iron with the Khoi-khoi in exchange for fresh meat.

Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was first developed by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.

Table Mountain

conquest3The views from Table Mountain are spectacular. Although you can walk up, when Kathy and I were there on location research for the book we cheated and took the cable car. At its highest point Table Mountain is 3563 feet. When the wind is in the southeast Table Mountain has its own cloud cover that spills down the sides of the mountain, ‘the tablecloth’.


Previous blog on Conquest : CONQUEST – The race to empire begins!
CONQUEST has been published in the UK/US in English, in translated editions and in ebook, large print and audiobook.
Buy on Amazon or The Book Depository (free postage worldwide!) Also available at most bookstores.
Detailed list

Copyright notices
Conquest aboard
Victory by Paul Waite
Every effort is made to honour copyright but if we have inadvertently published an image with missing or incorrect attribution, on being informed of this, we undertake to delete the image or add a correct credit notice

Books – and prints – for Santa’s Sack 2016

I’m a bit of a bah humbug man when it comes to the commercialisation of Christmas – but there’s one thing that I fervently believe: a book is a present that, if well chosen for the recipient, will give hours of pleasure and be a lasting reminder in itself of someone putting thought, not just money, into a Yuletide gift. So do consider adding some of these fine books – all with a maritime or military link – to your present-buying list. Hopefully, there’s something for everyone in this somewhat eclectic selection. And for those looking for some fine maritime art prints there’s a special offer from Art Marine – see the end of this blog for details.

— ♥ —

Pepys’s Navy by J D Davies

sack3This gorgeously illustrated book describes the English navy in the second half of the seventeenth century, from the time when the Fleet Royal was taken into Parliamentary control after the defeat of Charles I, until the accession of William and Mary in 1689. This crucial era witnessed the creation of a permanent naval service, in essence the birth of the Royal Navy. Davies’s coverage is comprehensive – naval administration, ship types & shipbuilding, naval recruitment & crews, seamanship & gunnery, shipboard life, dockyards & bases, the foreign navies of the period, and the three major wars which were fought against the Dutch in the Channel and the North Sea.

That Hamilton Woman by Barry Gough

sack2Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson fell in love with Emma Hamilton in the years before Trafalgar. This romance, together with his quest for glory and victory, made him the talk of the age. The author explores the evolving scandal, the high political stakes that were involved, and the love affair itself – which influenced not just their lives, but England’s destiny. Gough draws on the letters between the protagonists and in particular the findings of the historian of the Royal Navy Arthur Marder

Tracing Your Seafaring Ancestors by Simon Wills

sack1Tracing one’s ancestors is certainly a pastime gaining in popularity. And it’s not just paper records that are helping us build up the family tree. Photographs of seafaring ancestors can tell a great deal about their lives, and Simon Wills’s helpful and practical guide shows how to identify evidence caught on camera and interpret the photographic clues to an individual’s career. Who knows – do you have a Jellicoe or salty able seaman in your family’s past?

Fighting for the News by Brian Best

sack4When Kathy and I lived in Hong Kong in the 80s she was a member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club where we met war correspondents from around the world. This book focuses on the adventures of the first War Correspondents, from Bonaparte to the Boers. It is some 200 years since a newspaper conceived the idea of sending a reporter overseas to observe, gather information and write about war – in 1807 The Times dispatched Henry Crabbe Robinson to Germany to follow and report on the movements of Napoleon’s Grande Armee. ‘Old Crabby’ was a gregarious bachelor with a gift for languages who could fit into any company. In many ways he was the archetypal foreign correspondent. Robinson was followed by William Russell in the Crimean War and perhaps most famously of all, Winston Churchill, who reported from many fronts.

The Lost Story of William and Mary by Gill Hoffs

sack5The loss of the emigrant ship William & Mary made news around the world, not once, but twice in 1853. First, when her American captain reported the vessel lost in the shark-infested waters of the Bahamas and the death of over 200 left on board, then again when the truth emerged a tale of abandonment, desperation, and the incredible heroism of a wrecker and his crew. This book shines light on some of the people involved in this maritime disaster, including: Captain Timothy Stinson, the callous mariner who attempted mass murder; Susannah Dimond, the English 19-year-old hoping for a new life in St. Louis with her family; and Izaak Roorda, one of a group of 87 Dutch emigrants seeking to settle in Wisconsin, who found the lifeboat more perilous than the sinking ship.


Still looking for bookish inspiration? Here are my earlier BookPicks this year
BookPick 1
BookPick 2
BookPick 3
BookPick 4
BookPick 5
And I have a very limited number of Signed First Editions, which I’m happy to inscribe with a personal message

Maritime Art
Fine Limited Edition Maritime Prints Offer
Art Marine are offering a 10% discount on all Geoff Hunt prints, including the Kydd Collection – just enter JSXMAS at the checkout. The offer is valid between now and 15th December.

Still time for overseas orders to arrive in time for Christmas!


Finally, Kathy and I would like to extend our best wishes to you for the Festive Season!
The BigJules Blog will be back in the New Year.

Collectors Sets 2017

There will be a Collectors Set Offer for Persephone the next title in the Kydd Series (out May 2017). As usual, the Collectors Sets comprise a signed, embossed and numbered UK First Edition of the book plus a signed cover postcard. The Sets are strictly limited to 500 in number. First come, first served!

Persephone Collectors Set

persephone-cover


We are accepting pre-payment now and every paid order received before December 31 this year will go into a draw for a full refund of the price of the Collectors Set!

(Note: it is not necessary to have a PayPal account to use these links. You can pay with your credit card using the ‘Pay Without a Paypal Account’ button in your Shopping Cart. We cannot accept credit card details for processing this end.)

Reservations without payment may be made to this address. Please include your full postal address and write ‘Persephone Collectors Set’ in the subject line. We will contact you about payment at a later date.

Standing Orders

A number of readers have asked whether they could have a Standing Order for all future Collectors Sets. Just email with your postal details and ‘Sign Me Up for All Future Collectors Sets’ in the subject line.
(Note: There will be two Collectors Sets in 2017 and thereafter!)

You and Your Kydd!

reader-redden
Over the years readers have sent me some great pix of themselves taken with one or more of the Kydd books – like this photo from Canadian Rod Redden with Tyger, which he posted a few days ago. I’m compiling an online album of these and if you’d like to be included email me a .jpg – or reply to this blog with your photo! There’ll be special prizes for six of the photographs featured, the winners drawn at random.

 

My Publication Dates Around the World

us-final-inferno-coverPowder_of_DeathThis year The Powder of Death, my second historical standalone in the GameChangers Series was published in the UK on August 18, and will shortly be released in the States, followed by Canada and Australia. My latest Kydd title, Inferno, was launched in the UK/US in hardback and ebook in early October. All seventeen titles to date in the Kydd Series can be purchased online or at selected bookstores. Here’s a summary of availability of my books around the world

UK
Infernohardback, ebook and audio download
Tygerpaperback, hardback, ebook and audio download
The Powder of Deathhardback, ebook and audio download
The Silk Treehardback, paperback, ebook, audio download
US
Infernohardback and ebook
(The audiobook is not yet available in the US; I’ll issue an update when it is.)
Tygerhardback, paperback and ebook
(The audiobook is not yet available in the US; I’ll issue an update when it is.)
The Powder of Deathout October 27 in hardback
(already available in ebook and audiobook)
The Silk Treeout in hardback, ebook and audiobook now; paperback out tomorrow!
Canada
Infernoout December 6
Tygerout in hardback, paperback and ebook
The Powder of Deathout November 14 in hardback and ebook
The Silk Treeout in hardback and ebook now; paperback October 26
Australia
The Powder of Death and The Silk Tree, as well as my Kydd Series, are available from retailers such as Angus & Robertson

By the way, my little non-fiction tome, Stockwin’s Maritime Miscellany is still in print and Wordery will ship it free of postage charges anywhere in the world

And starting next year, 2017, there’ll be two Kydd titles a year! The first of these, Persephone, will be out in the UK in May and in the US a few months later. I’ll be offering Collectors Sets, as usual, and will announce more details of these early in the New Year. You can email me now, however, if you want to go on the list to secure your Collectors Set of Persephone!

The Nelson Quiz

This day two hundred and eleven years ago Lord Horatio Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar. By request, I’m posting a Nelson quiz I devised a few years ago. Test your knowledge of Nelson lore with these twenty questions. (Answers at the end of the blog.)

And there’s a copy of Victory, up for grabs. Just email me with the name of the the plucky little vessel that brought the news of the battle back to England. Please put ‘Victory’ in the subject line and don’t forget to include your full postal address.

Deadline: October 31


Questions

1. Where is purportedly the largest collection of Nelson memorabilia in the New World?
2. How many siblings did Nelson have?
3. In what year was Nelson’s Column erected in Trafalgar Square?
4. Which French admiral attended Nelson’s funeral?
5. What was the origin of Nelson’s famous term ‘Band of Brothers’?
6. At which first recorded public event was the toast ‘The Immortal Memory’ first used?
7. What wound did Nelson receive on 12 July 1794?
8. What was unusual about Nelson’s coat of arms?
9. In which English county was Nelson born?
10. From which English county were the greatest number of sailors in Nelson’s Trafalgar fleet?
11. How tall was Nelson?
12. What was Nelson’s nickname as a child?
13. How many men and officers served in HMS Victory at Trafalgar?
14. Name Nelson’s first command in the Royal Navy.
15. Who was Josiah Nisbet?
16. How was Nelson’s body preserved after his mortal wounding at Trafalgar?
17. How did the inn called ‘The Wrestler’s Arms’ find a place in Nelson lore?
18. Which of Nelson’s captains was the only one killed at the Battle of the Nile?
19. Who is Anna Tribe?
20. During his lifetime Nelson was a prolific letter writer. Approximately how many do we know of that have survived?

[ Answers below ]

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Answers

1. The Horatio Nelson Museum, Nevis. Nelson had a number of associations with the Caribbean, especially in his early naval career, and married a young Nevis widow, Frances Nisbet, there in 1787.
2. Nelson’s parents had eleven children, of whom three girls and five boys survived. Nelson was the third boy.
3. 1843. Almost forty years after Nelson’s death!
4. Villeneuve. After the Battle of Trafalgar he was taken on board Euryalus. In England he was placed in open confinement in Bishop’s Waltham in Hampshire, but was given leave to attend Nelson’s funeral. Later that year he was returned to France following a formal exchange of prisoners, but only a few days after his arrival he was found dead in his hotel room in Rennes, stabbed through the heart. The official story was that he committed suicide, but rumour has it that he was murdered on Napoleon’s orders.
5. The famous Agincourt speech in Shakespeare’s King Henry V. Nelson used this phrase to describe the close relationship that existed between himself and his captains at the Battle of the Nile. By extension it has come to encompass all those officers who were particularly close to Nelson.
6. Each year Nelson is remembered with a special toast, ‘The Immortal Memory’, at Royal Navy Trafalgar Night dinners. Although the word ‘immortal’ was often applied to Nelson even when he was alive, the first recorded public event at which it occurred was at a dinner held on Trafalgar Day in 1811, at the Green Man public house near Greenwich. The toast was slightly longer than today: ‘The immortal memory of Nelson and those who fell with him.’
7. While directing his ship’s guns set up in a shore battery during the siege of Calvi a French shot struck the battery rampart in front of him and he was struck in the face with a shower of gravel. Nelson subsequently lost the sight in his right eye; the eye itself remained intact and he never wore an eyepatch.
8. Nelson’s family already had a coat of arms but Nelson’s knighthood entitled him to supporters on either side of the shield. Nelson insisted on having Jack Tar as a supporter – this was a heraldic innovation and set a precedent, which has been followed by a number of naval knights and peers since.
9. Norfolk. He was born at Burnham Thorpe, close to the coastal town of Great Yarmouth on 29 September, 1758, the very year a new first-rate, HMS Victory, was ordered by the Admiralty. His father was rector of the parish and the Nelson family lived in the parsonage, now no longer standing.
10. Devon, where I now live. Nelson’s men at Trafalgar included over 1,100 men born in Devon.
11. The popular image of Nelson is that he was quite a small man. However, modern research has established that he was about five feet, six inches (around the average male height in the eighteenth century).
12. Horace.
13. Her full complement was 850, however at Trafalgar it was only 820.
14. The sloop Badger; he took command in January 1779.
15. Nelson’s step-son. In 1793 Nelson took Josiah to sea with him in HMS Agamemnon but their relationship deteriorated with Nelson’s infatuation with Emma Hamilton. Despite this, Nelson used his influence to have Josiah made a post captain at the early age of twenty. He was not fit for this responsibility, however, and left the sea shortly thereafter. He became a successful businessman and after the war ended moved to Paris. Nisbet died in 1830 and was buried in the churchyard at Littleham in Devon, where, just eleven months later, his mother was laid beside him.
16. Brandy and spirits of wine – not rum! Nelson’s body was placed in a large cask that was filled with brandy and lashed to Victory‘s mainmast, guarded by a sentry night and day. The popular nickname for rum, ‘Nelson’s blood’, originates from the sailors’ tall tale that Nelson’s body was preserved in rum, and then after the body had been removed, the alcohol was issued to all of Victory‘s Jack Tars!
17. When the landlady asked Nelson if she might change the inn’s name to ‘The Nelson’s Arms’ he delightedly told her that the name would be absurd, as he only had one.
18. Captain George Westcott, a Devon man, and like Kydd from humble origins as a common seaman to post captain and command. After Westcott’s death Nelson made a special visit to his widow and presented her with his own Nile medal.
19. Nelson’s closest living relative today. She is Nelson’s (and Emma Hamilton’s) great-great-great granddaughter. Mrs Tribe is also Life Vice President of the Nelson Society.
20. Well over 5000! Nelson’s letters were often characterised by an eager and somewhat unpolished style, almost as if speaking – like the diaries of Samuel Pepys, with which they have sometimes been compared.


How did you go? If you managed twelve or more correct answers award yourself an oragious tot of rum!
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