The unsung story of superb naval ingenuity and heroism that came close to making the battle of Trafalgar unnecessary. If it hadn’t been for a drunken naval officer and a minor earthquake history would have been forever changed.
1803 and the Royal Navy dominate the Caribbean. However, Commodore Samuel Hood is short of ships. Diamond Rock is a small volcanic plug in the sea south of Martinique. Despite his men’s misgivings and against almost insurmountable odds, he lands a garrison and places cannon on the top.
The Honourable Mathew Turner is in the Caribbean on a diplomatic mission and whilst in Martinique he falls in love with a local girl but they are forced apart. On reaching the neighbouring island of Saint Lucia, the Royal Navy ask him to document the occupation of the rock for the British press.
After eighteen months a French fleet finally arrives. Having not been re-supplied, the garrison is short of water and gunpowder. However, in a ferocious battle, a handful of British sailors hold them off until they are forced to negotiate an honourable surrender. For the rock’s Commander, James Maurice, it is seen as a triumph, for his friend Mathew Turner, it is not.
This story is based on real events. To this day there is still evidence of the British occupation. As the rock was never de-commissioned by the British, whenever a Royal Navy warship sails past, the ship’s company are required to salute HMS Diamond Rock.