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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rare naval uniform found in attic

A boon for naval historians and writers of historical fiction

Describing naval uniform in both nonfiction and fiction can be quite a problem, as I have found out for myself. In Tupaia, my biography of the Polynesian genius who sailed with Captain Cook on the Endeavour, I wanted to picture John Gore after he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, as he would have looked as he strode up the gangway. I faced a similar challenge when George Rochester, a major character in the Wiki Coffin mystery series, was promoted to the same rank in the United States navy.  In both cases, I had to resort to portraits of lieutenants at the time.

Now, it is possible to go the the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, and study a real uniform from the era of Nelson, because of a serendipitous discovery in an attic.

A rare Royal Naval uniform worn by a British survivor of the Battle of  Trafalgar has been unearthed after spending decades in the attic of one of the sailor's descendants, Hicks's great granddaughter Carolyn Hammond.  Luckily, it was in a plastic bag.
Dating from around 1812, is an important find for military historians as it is believed no other lieutenant uniform of that era is left in existence.
Read more at the Daily Mail




2 comments:

Shayne Parkinson said...

What a wonderful find! Yes, there's nothing quite like seeing the real thing.

Joan Druett said...

And as a historical novelist who does real research, you know it well!