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Fiddlers and Whores (Paperback)

The Candid Memoirs of a Surgeon in Nelson's Fleet

Chatham: Maritime All Chatham Books

By James Lowry
Chatham Publishing
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781861762689
Published: 15th March 2006
Last Released: 14th September 2008

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• Entertaining insight into aspects of naval life normally hidden • Explanatory notes put Lowry's world in context • Never previously published Never intended for publication, these frank and revealing memoirs were written by an adventurous Irish surgeon, and describe his life afloat and ashore in Nelson's Mediterranean Fleet during the years 1797 to 1804. 'A country of fiddlers and poets, whores and scoundrels' - Nelson's famous description of Naples - was a world eagerly embraced by a James Lowry, who was driven to sea, apparently, by a sheer sense of adventure and a desire for exotic travel. Sent out to join Nelson's victorious fleet after the battle of the Nile, he was to experience plenty of naval action, and to see more foreign climes than perhaps he had anticipated. Taking part in the successful British campaign against the remnant of Napoleon's army in Egypt brought him into contact with an entirely different culture, but perhaps not as strange as the 'wooden world' of the Navy, which he chronicles with the detached and slightly bemused eye of an outsider. However, what really engaged his interest (and enthusiasm) was the relaxed sexual mores of Italian society. His memoirs were written at the request of his younger brother, so, untrammelled by any thought of publication, he was able to recount his adventures with relish - and in rather more medical detail than is proper. Many of the seemingly unlikely events can be confirmed from other sources - notably the corpse of the executed rebel Caracciolo surfacing alongside Nelson's flagship to terrify the Neapolitan King who was on board at the time. The original manuscript has been in the hands of Lowry's descendants for two centuries, but this entertaining and enlightening account is here published for the first time.

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