Navy Days Book Signing

Date Posted: 02/08/2010

I was lucky enough to do a book signing at the Royal Naval base in Portsmouth last weekend and witnessed the extraordinary popularity of the annual Navy Days celebration. Some 25,000 came through the gates and there were lengthy queues to see the new Type 45 destroyers Daring and Dauntless. A much earlier version of the Dauntless was taken by the French in 1807 so let’s hope this fares a little better. It was also great to have a look at the ‘floating hospital’ Argus, fresh from a recent makeover. John Benbow could have done with the Argusin 1701 when his squadron was devastated by illness in the Caribbean. He had taken some medicine with him from a Dr Cockburn, which didn’t work. Which is not entirely surprising bearing in mind that he favoured powdered crabs’ eyes to treat influenza and whole powdered toad for asthma. I didn’t see any of that on Argus.