The Trafalgar Chronicle, the yearbook of The 1805 Club, has established itself as a prime source of information and the publication of choice for new research about the Georgian navy, sometimes also loosely called Nelson's navy. This year's edition points its spotlight on women at sea and reveals many fascinating stories.
Women have for various reasons left a light footprint in the sands of history, and historians have unfairly overlooked women and their importance in the tide of events. To redress this oversight, this year the focus of The Trafalgar Chronicle in the long eighteenth century is on women and the sea. Even when the sources are available, women's roles at sea and ashore have been either neglected or sensationalised. This edition of The Trafalgar Chronicle presents a set of objective, well-researched and authoritative articles by both well-known authors and some carefully refereed first-time writers.
Two dozen articles illuminate the theme. The enduring myth of Mary Ann Taylor, who disguised herself as a man to go to sea, is examined forensically; the story of Lady Bentinck, who dressed as a Royal Marine officer to visit North Africa is told for the first time in English; readers can find out about Cuba Cornwallis, the black nurse who saved the life of the young Horatio Nelson and of many others in the West Indies; and be startled at how life mirrored art in Jane Austen's Persuasion and the love story of Captain Wentworth; admire the tenacity of Widow Martin and how she survived mutiny and rape in The Black Ship, HMS Hermione; and be surprised by many other stories of women and the sea in the age of sail, including a Swedish pirate queen.
Like earlier editions of The Trafalgar Chronicle, this journal is sumptuously illustrated with some seldom-seen pictures, and will appeal to naval and social historians whether they are academics, antiquarians or amateurs or simply the reader curious to learn about an important but often overlooked aspect of naval history.
CAPTAIN PETER HORE, RN, now retired, is a former Head of Defence Studies for the Royal Navy. He is the author of numerous books, and is currently Associate Editor of Warships: International Fleet Review. He is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Vice President of the Royal Naval Museum. He recently edited Nelson's Band of Brothers.