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 of the burning ship in the British library. The captain’s son who was ten, fought with great distinction in the battle and then, along with everyone else, jumped into the sea before the ship exploded. He couldn’t swim  and clung to a piece of broken rigging. And then the ship exploded which, as the French eyewitness wrote, ‘ended all his hopes and fears’. More soon on THE BOY.