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Lecture | A fair prospect of another Nelson

The life and career of Captain William Dawson RN
4th March - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Speaker: Philip Abbott, Archives and Records Manager, Royal Armouries

Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey … William Dawson! The truth may not be stranger than fiction, but sometimes it is just as interesting.

Discover the true-life story of a young man who joined the navy at the age of 13 in 1795, served in the Caribbean, off the Atlantic coast of France, and in the Indian Ocean, where he fought one of the most famous single ship actions in naval history.

Find out what life was like in the navy during the long war with France.

Philip’s lecture will examine the life of a typical young gentleman who joined the Royal Navy at the beginning of the war with Revolutionary France in the hope of achieving fame, fortune and promotion.

Following his career from 1st Class Volunteer at the age of 13 to his successful examination for Lieutenant and his promotion to Captain, and revealing the importance of family ties and the patronage of senior naval officers.

It discusses various aspects of life at sea, including ship’s rations and luxuries, discipline and the press gang, pay and prize money.

The presentation is liberally illustrated with some of William’s adventures including a court martial, escaped convicts, and a reconstruction of the famous single ship action between the frigates St Fiorenzo and Piedmontaise.

Philip’s research features archives in the Royal Armouries collection, supplemented by research at the National Archives and other record offices.

Registration is now open
Please register your interest and we will send you a link to the online presentation a few days before the event.

This is a free lecture and we would be grateful for donations to support our work as guardians of the UK’s national collection of arms and armour.

Image: (c) Charles Miller Ltd