Category: New Discoveries

Boston and New York

Date Posted: 03/06/2012

Those of you who have been following me on Twitter @navalhistoryguy will know that I am in the middle of a research/lecturing tour of America. It began a fortnight ago in Boston, from where I visited Salem and Marblehead in Massachusetts, and then the Naval War College in .... Read More


Date Posted: 15/05/2012

I have just re-discovered some great snaps from the filming of Channel4’s feature-length documentary Shackleton. The photographs are taken in the Denmark Strait a narrow body of water between Iceland and Greenland. The sequence of .... Read More

NBC America’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’

Date Posted: 08/01/2012

Exciting stuff! I have just agreed to do some work for Season Three of NBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, an adaptation of the award-winning hit British television documentary series that leads celebrities on a journey of self-discovery as they unearth their .... Read More

The Kraaken, Giant Sea Worms and a Whirlpool

Date Posted: 22/11/2011

I have just found the following description by the Royal Naval Officer Captain Charles Douglas (the future Rear Admiral) of his search for sea monsters and whirlpools off the coast of Lapland in 1769.This comes from a paper he gave at the Royal Society – after which he .... Read More

A hidden pattern?

Date Posted: 08/11/2011

I was doing some work on Jutland this morning when I realised that it was fought on the 122 anniversary of the Glorious First of June (1794) and also on the 250th anniversary of the start of the Four Days Battle of 1666. And then it became clear that a really surprising .... Read More

Britain’s Oldest Naval Sword

Date Posted: 30/10/2011

Something rather exciting entirely slipped my mind until last night when I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered that, last week, in a quiet house in a leafy Wimbledon avenue, I enjoyed the privilege of wielding (yes wielding) Britain’s oldest known naval .... Read More

More Images from John Pitt’s Sketchbook

Date Posted: 20/09/2011

 John Pitt has kindly allowed me to post some more images from his unpublished sketchbook, made between 1801 and 1807. Some scenes are certainly made in the Caribbean while other locations are uncertain. The identity of the artist is also uncertain, though there is some .... Read More

Rules of the Road (revised)

Date Posted: 06/04/2011

As occasionally happens, I was very lucky today to be sent a previously unpublished – and very little read, I suspect – naval diary. This one was written on board the armed merchant cruiser HMS Virginian in the new year of 1915 cruising out of Liverpool up .... Read More

The Boy Who Stood on the Burning Deck

Date Posted: 19/09/2010

Was the son of the captain of the French flagship L’Orient at the battle of the Nile (1798). The captain’s surname was Casabianca, which is why the famous poem that begins ‘The boy stood on the burning deck’ is called Casabianca. I have just found a great eye-witness report .... Read More