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Manxmen at Sea in the Age of Nelson, 1760-1815 (Hardback)

Maritime > Naval Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic > Nelson & Trafalgar P&S History > By Century > 18th Century P&S History > By Century > 19th Century World History > Europe

By Matthew Richardson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781399044493
Published: 14th February 2024


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The Isle of Man is predominantly a maritime nation. For many generations its menfolk have made their living from the sea, sometimes as fishermen, but often as crewmen aboard merchant vessels or warships. Indeed, such were their skills of seamanship that they were in great demand for the latter in time of war.

As smugglers, or as privateers they made their living on the waves, in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Pacific. Whether taken by a Press Gang, or enlisted voluntarily, the Manx saw action in some of the greatest naval events between 1760 and 1815. The Isle of Man had a high degree of literacy and education even among the poor at this time, and consequently a significant body of first-hand evidence has survived from those who served below decks, aboard merchant ships, privateers and warships.

Some, such as Peter Heywood, were eyewitness to the most famous event in naval history, the Mutiny on the Bounty. Others, such as John Quilliam climbed the naval career ladder, served with Nelson and gained distinction at the greatest sea battle in history, Trafalgar. One, Captain Hugh Crow, fought against the French, made his fortune in the slave trade, and commanded the last legal voyage.

In this book we meet them all, and their words echo to us across the waves and down the centuries.

"(The book) provides, a valuable perspective from one of our proudest and most independent offshore islands... A particular strength of this book is the author’s desire to give a voice to the lower deck, and to do so by drawing on local archive sources. Letters to home, wills and other records, bring vignettes of experiences of pressed men, victims of disease and battle wounds, and prisoners of war."

Read the full review here.

The Naval Review
 Matthew Richardson

About Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson is Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage. He has a long-term interest in military history and has published several outstanding books on the subject including 1914: Voices from the Battlefields, The Hunger War: Food, Rations and Rationing 1914-1918 and Eyewitness on the Somme 1916. He also has a keen interest in the history of the Isle of Man TT and, in addition to producing several acclaimed exhibitions on this subject, worked with Dave Molyneux on The Racer’s Edge: Memoirs of an Isle of Man TT Legend.

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