There are plenty of books about the great naval actions of the many wars Britain fought between 1793 and 1815. Battles between fleets of massive line-of-battle ships and the exploits of dashing frigate Captains are well-documented. But there is very little written about the junior officers; those who commanded the smaller ships of war or who led the dangerous cutting out expeditions and attacked fortifications on enemy shores.
Young Heroes contains over forty true accounts and stories from the Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic War, and the War of 1812 between the USA and Britain. Many of the stories would be totally unbelievable if presented in works of fiction. Who would believe British seamen rowing thirty miles before attacking an enemy vessel? Who would accept a party of completely outnumbered men attacking well-armed defenders with just wooden staves, or the honour for a successful action going to a man who wasn’t even there? And what about a Royal Navy Captain who decided to maroon a young Cornishman on a real desert island and calmly sail away, or the surprising link between a United States’ schooner and a massacre at Dartmoor Prison? There’s also the tale of the bloodiest mutiny in British naval history and, arguably, the most daring cutting out. They are all here.
Those involved were real people – mostly well under thirty years of age – and they were incredibly brave and resourceful. But who, these days, has ever heard of men like Jeremiah Coghlan, Eaton Travers and Watkin Pell to name but three? But perhaps more importantly for modern readers who may have had ancestors fighting in those days, the names of many of the protagonists are listed.
The stories paint a vivid picture of their values and morals and – particularly – of their sense of honour and of how incredibly brave they could be in the face of the enemy.
Author: Keith C. Pye
Title: Young Heroes
First Published by:
Date: 29 May 2015