Author Topic: Nelsons Navy.  (Read 2345 times)

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Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2020, 09:45:06 PM »
!847- Cochrane was amazed to receive a letter from Lord Aukland, First Lord of the Admiralty. Cochrane at the age of seventy two was made Commander-in Chief for the North American and West Indian Station. It seems that Cochrane was very pleased indeed. There was no war going on in that part of the world, so it was unlikely that Cochrane  was going to lead any boarding parties on cutting out ventures.
  However Cochrane had not been idle during his enforced years ashore. Thomas had struck up a friendship with Marc Isambard Brunel. Brunel had come up with some very plausible plans to build steam tugs that could be used to tow warships. Cochrane had always claimed that steam driven war ships would and should be developed, if Britain wished to keep control of the seas. Predictably the Admiralty poured scorn on the idea, but again Cochrane saw steam development making sailing ships redundant. Cochrane also produced a compressed air device that made a tunnel under the Thames at Blackwall viable. Cochrane also worked with Brunel to produce a steam engine that would drive propellers on a ship.
   Cochrane however, being obsessed with inventions, poured much of his own money into the schemes, often to the detriment of his wife and family, his wife reportedly said in a letter to Cochrane,
" I hate the inventive faculty", it seems that he did not spend much time at home.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 09:35:47 AM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2020, 05:31:52 PM »
 An Epitaph For a Hero. In the central part of the nave of Westminster Abbey where Cochrane was buried is a stone bearing the following statement.

  Here rests in his 85th year Thomas Cochrane tenth Earl of Dundonald Baron Cochrane of Dundonald of Paisley and of Ochiltree in the Peerage of Scotland Marquess of Maranham in the Empire of Brazil G.C.B. and Admiral of the Fleet who by the confidence which his genius his science and extraordinary daring inspired, by his heroic exertions in the cause of freedom and his splendid
services alike to his own country Greece Brazil Chile and Peru achieved a name illustrious throughout the the world for courage patriotism and chivalry.

  Born Dec.14th 1775. Died Oct.31st 1860.
 At the top of the stone is his coat of arms, crest and motto  "Virtute et Labore" and at each corner are the shields of Chile, Brazil, Peru and Greece.

 No paint or graffiti here. Each year a dignified remembrance service takes place by representatives of the above nations who see Cochrane as their original liberator.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 11:02:30 AM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2020, 09:53:44 PM »
   Admiral Sir James Gordon GCB.
     In 1937, the author C.S.Forester published his first Hornblower novel. It went on sale in U.K. with the title "The Happy Return "and in the U.S.A as "Beat to Quarters". On both sides of the Atlantic, it was  a great success, and it seems that the public were very keen to hear more about the middle aged Royal Naval Captain who became a hero overcoming impossible odds.
Forester was a professional author with an in-depth knowledge of Nelson's navy, he purchased 3 Volumes of The Naval Chronicle, a magazine written by serving naval offices for naval officers,
and obtained the issues published between1790 and !820. The Chronicles travelled with Forester when he undertook a long sea voyage from California to England ,visiting many Central American ports and passing through the Panama Canal. The ship was no luxury cruise liner, and Forester reportedly said that he read every line in the magazines several times over.
 There has, for a number of years now been disputes in some literally circles as to who the Hornblower character  is based upon, and Forester never seems to have really identified the real life fighting captain on who he based his Hornblower. However the period in which Forester's Hornblower sailor is set, is awash with heroes, many now forgotten.
  When Collins brought out the first of Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander novels in 1970, a similar flutter went through the ranks of particular readers, who wished to know on who or what were O'Brian's sources, and how do they compare with Forester's work. Bryan Perrett has produced an excellent book to delve into the issue. For myself, I think the court is still out on the matter, and I am just about to start a second read of O'Brian's superb  "The Yellow Admiral" 18th book of the Aubrey/ Maturin series... Pandemic ?? what's that all about. To Be continued.
 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 04:32:51 PM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2020, 05:43:43 PM »
Forester, would be very familiar with the exploits of Thomas Cochrane, and it seems highly likely that the various battles, particularly the single ship actions fought by him were picked over in detail
for his Hornblower to fight. However, I am not sure that I could ever define much of the detail sufficiently well to pontificate on the matter. Cochrane was often in the news, and some times for the wrong reasons, for me this does not detract from the man as a Fighting Captain, and he well deserves his place as among the Royal Naval Hero's.
  I had heard about Cochrane, and read the fictional stories of his exploits,(and am still reading them). However, Admiral Sir James Gordon, for some reason seems to have sunk down into the annals of history, yet his exploits and career almost run parallel to Cochran's. Gordon died in January 1869 and his Times Obituary, reads as follows.
   Sir   J.A.Gordon was Admiral of the Fleet and had served in the Royal Navy for the extraordinary period of 75 and 3/4 years and was, we believe,
                 the last survivor of Nelsons noble band of Captains.

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2020, 02:07:00 PM »
 
  Excellent books have been written about both fighting captains, and biographies of both men run to lengthy detailed works, and it is not unreasonable to say that for me the truth of their
histories, is definitely stranger than fiction. Cochrane was widely written about in the popular press, often for the wrong reasons. I would suggest that his fictional character is a pleasanter person
than the original, and his battles with authorities and the Admiralty probably made his life difficult to say the least. However, history has tended to show that much of what he attempted to change,
did change, he had great insight, but not a lot patience. He still ended up as an Admiral of the Fleet.
   Gordon seems to have dealt well with the ups and downs of the Royal Navy systems. Gordon had by March 1796, served three years in the service, the minimum period needed before he could be considered for the position of midshipman. It seems that Captain Cole, the captain of the ship he had been serving in, did not see the young James Gordon as a future naval officer, and gave him leave to go home and see if his family could find him a more suitable job. However, Gordons family must have had have some influence at the Admiralty, because Gordon though quite quite shaken by the event buckled down, learned his lessons and stayed in the service. He climbed up the promotional ladder, and from all accounts he was recognised as a first rate officer, who does not seemed to have dabbled in either politics of the stock market, not antagonised senior officers too much. Gordons fighting actions, victory's, and prize money was probably a match with Cochran's, and as fighting officers it was often mentioned that both officers led from the front in any action.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 08:42:03 PM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2020, 05:15:11 PM »
 !808, found James Gordon now a very well respected Post Captain with numerous victories to his credit,  well recognized by the public at large. He had command of a 38 gun frigate, HMS Active,(which in later life he said, was the best ship he ever served on). The main English Naval base at this time was Malta, and Gordon was detached and instructed to join a flotilla in the Adriatic, which was creating chaos for Napoleon's navy. It was said the Adriatic was seen as a French lake, but in practice it was proving a great hunting ground for very active English frigate captains. The senior captain, was a very active and experienced officer, Captain William Hoste.
   Hoste also in a 38 gun frigate, had been party to the capture or destroying of 218 vessels of varying size, and had already accumulated prize money of over £60,000.
 A major drive by the English ships involving both cutting out operations, very successfully and profitable, landing shore parties to destroy shore side guns and stores, was probably the final straw for the French, and the senior French officer by the name of  Dubordieu, was reinforced with decent ships and crews, and ordered to clear the English out of the region, once and for all.
                                                 At about 0300 on 13th of March Gordon's lookout, spotted a French fleet approaching the English ships.
Single ship duels between frigates were commonplace, but a battle between opposing frigate squadrons was almost unheard of. The subsequent action became known as the "Battle of Lisa".
  The French line comprised of 7 major units against Hoste's four. The odds very much in favour of the French. Hoste, hoisted the signal. REMEMBER NELSON .. AND ENGAGED
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 10:17:24 AM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2020, 03:37:52 PM »
       The Battle of Lissa.
  Dubordieus fleet comprised of 7 well armed vessels, Hoste had four frigates. The combined weight of shot carried by the French was over doubled that of of the English.
The actual battle followed the traditional start of fleet actions of this time. The English ships formed a line, and the French having the weather gauge attempted to smash through the line, after the style of Nelson at Trafalgar. Unfortunately for the French, the plan did not work for them, and the battle broke down into a series of single ship actions. The French seemed to unable to
use their superior numbers, effectively, and in the end, two ships broke off and ran for the protection in the harbour, (covered by heavy shore based batteries), one taken and repaired(Corona)
and put into RN service named Daedalus ( a name that may ring a bell for a few members) a second ship taken Bellona, later converted by the navy into a Troopship named Dover.  Another French ship Favourite was run ashore where she struck rocks and eventually caught fire. To add insult to injury, Gordon had landed a shore party headed by two young Midshipmen who were to take charge of the prize captures The crew from the burning Favorite who made it ashore surrendered to the two young midshipmen, and were made prisoners of war.
English Casualties.45 killed --145 wounded.  French loses.500 killed or wounded. Approx 500 prisoners taken
 Four Captains received Naval Gold medal. First Lieutenants promoted to Commanders. 

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2020, 11:55:35 PM »
 
 PELAGOSA !! Following the victory at Lissa, there seemed little activity from the French. and Hoste returned home to get major repairs done to his ship. The two other frigates in the Lissa battle went back to the dockyards at Malta for their repairs. Gordon, still in Active, for a period was a free agent,. But he used his free time constructively, and when hearing of a convoy of 28 French supply ships loaded with grain passing through the region, he hunted it down, and followed it until the convoy reached, what they thought was a safe anchorage, in an area too shallow for a frigate to enter. Gordon waited for nightfall, and sent in two ships boats ,they successfully took out all 28 craft, either setting them on fire, or taking them them as prizes if they appeared to have some value.
    Late November found Gordon still patrolling the Adriatic  serving now under the command of Captain Maxwell. Maxwell received intelligence that the French may be mustering a force to to retake Lissa or to attack somewhere along the Adriatic coast. A vast area of sea to cover. On the 27th November Maxwell's squadron was sheltering from heavy weather in Port St. George, when a telegraph station began blinking a message to Maxwell, that three suspicious sails had been sighted off shore, Maxwell got his ships to sea despite foul weather, and got further information from a passing neutral ship. Maxwell made sail to intercept and he found them. Two 40 gun frigates and a 26 gun frigate, French. It was later found that French 26 gun vessel was transporting a cargo of iron and brass gun barrels ,(more guns than Napoleon would later deploy at Waterloo),the 40 gun ships were there to protect it. Maxwell's three ships were well out gunned, but in the tradition of the time, he attacked, first raising a signal   
            "REMEMBER LISSA"          do not think Gordon would have forgotten it ?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 02:18:35 PM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2020, 03:34:07 PM »
  Maxwell was aware of the potential fire power of the two new French frigates, but fully believed from past experience, that whilst the French would put up a gallant battle, they would be beaten by the much superior rate of fire that the English ships regularly achieved,(it had often been the case that Captains like Maxwell and Gordon had drilled their gun crews to the level of two shots to a decent French crews, one). Maxwell took the lead, aiming to engage the nearest enemy ship,( Pauline, captained by Commodore Montfort),he signalled HMS Unite to chase and engage the smaller French transport, that was making sail obviously having been signalled to run, and Gordon to follow in with his Active to engage the second French Frigate when able.
Maxwell in full sail was rapidly closing with the French ships, his plan was to overtake the first ship, and engage the second vessel, content that Gordon would take it. The French ships had still not broken their colours as Maxwell drew near he fired a shot at the enemy, which struck home and  sent splinters flying from its stern. The French ship  (Pomone) immediately ran up its flags and fired a brilliantly placed shot back at Maxwell's HMS Alcestis,  shattering her main topmast and bringing down a mass of sails and rigging, which hung dangerously over the starboard side. Whilst the tangle was being cut free, the ship lost way, and she found herself in danger of being sandwiched between two competent heavily armed French Frigates.
     Gordon, seeing the potentially fatal position Maxwell was facing, crammed on all sailed, and forced his Active between Maxwell and the Frenchman. Maxwell, and Gordon's gunners poured a relentless series of broadsides into the enemy, and slowly forced the enemy ship to break off and move away.  The action continued from 1100 hrs. through to 1505 often in virtually hand to hand battle. One enemy frigate sunk, one very valuably transport full of guns captured.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 09:52:37 AM by stokerstan »

Offline stokerstan

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Re: Nelsons Navy.
« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2020, 04:04:15 PM »
Captain Gordon was experienced enough to recognise that the two French ships could and probably would put up a hard fight. Gordon had spoken to his officers and advised them to expect tough resistance. The fighting was done at close range, and Gordons prediction was true, the French ship stood and exchanged broadsides, both ships taking great punishment.
  At about 1430,Gordon was fighting Active from his usual position, standing on a shot rack beside the capstan. A 36 pound ball smashed through a gun port grazed a carronade carriage, and took off
 the leg of a sailor, and struck Gordons left knee joint, taking his leg clean off. Gordon retained consciousness, and as he was carried down to the surgeon, he was able to pass a message to his First Lieutenant to take command, and to ensure that the second lieutenant was aware of the situation and should be ready to step up, should the First officer be unlucky. Dashwood, the first officer, was not lucky, minutes later he had his right arm shot off, and the second officer (Lt Haye) although also wounded continued to fight the ship for the rest of the action. Lt. Haye who commanded the main deck was faced with a French attempt at boarding Active, he led the crew with such vigor, they not only drove off the French boarders, but so damaged the French frigate that sheshortly struck her colours. The French frigate(Pomone) lost over fifty men killed or wounded, Active lost a midshipman, five seamen one officer five  marines killed, three marines and twenty seamen wounded. Lt. Haye survived, and Captain Gordon arrived alive at a Malta hospital. He discharged himself one week later, rejoined his ship and took command for the voyage home to England. He had a wooden leg made and made it all the way up to Admiral of the Fleet.