Monday, 11 August 2014

A Fortuitous Find!

While buying books in a Country Auction this weekend, I was fortunate to find no less that that very rare volume Memoirs of the Eventful Life in the Service of Four Navies of Admiral Sir Henry Fearless, GCB, KH, FRS, Cmdr of the Order of the Tower and Sword, Order of Merit of Chile, Etc, etc.

As naval historians will know Sir Henry's autobiography is extremely hard to find, only one print-run having been made in 1854 before the Anglo-French fleet under his command was surprised by the Russians and annihilated.  The undeniable fact that the nonagaenarian admiral had, in the heat of battle, forgotten that the French were allies and rammed his second-in-command - all the time screaming that the Russian steam frigates were "The Devil's ships, come to take us to Hades!" -  led to scandal and a re-assessment of his heroic status.  Most copies of his autobiography were pulped.

Interestingly, from my point of view, Sir Henry devotes some space to his version of the 1803 clash out of El Puerto de Santiago.  I have now included extracts in my own account of the encounter.

Sir Henry Fearless


  1. Very interesting. That seems like a top find. Thanks for sharing this. That must be a very neat piece of history to get your hands on.

  2. What a great find! I suspect there maybe similar screaming from one or more admirals in a few turns time.

  3. I think it helps that you know what you are looking for to begin with, I would probably have blundered straight over it! A great find nonetheless and surely a great source of inspiration for your ongoing campaign.

  4. I have to say that Sir Henry, while he wasn't the best admiral to sail the seas, has the best name and titles, EVER.
    Congratulations on your find, it goes to show, as Michael A, says, that it helps to know what you are looking for.

  5. Can it be? Are my otherwise Intelligent readership taken in by this rubbish?

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that his favorite nephew Henry "Harry" Flashman was named after him?

    1. Although I spotted that there was no such animal, in a world where Admiral Sir Manley Power existed, I wouldn't be *too* surprised if there were a Fearless.

  6. Nice one Edwin... Ha...pass it along to Admiral The Lord Sandbagger in charge of HMS Badger...he needs all the tips he can get.

  7. Egads, have I been, as the young folk saw, pawned?


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