Two hundred years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte dominated Europe and threatened Britain with invasion. Against him stood the Royal Navy and the already legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson.
On 21 October 1805, a massive naval battle off the coast of Spain decided mastery of the seas. Then, over the following days and nights, the battleships and their exhausted crews endured a gale of awesome fury. As Captain Charles Tyler wrote to his wife Margaret, 'the wind blew a perfect storm'.
The authors tell this story not only through the diaries, letters and memoirs of the men who wrestled with the enemy and the elements, but also through the eyes of their wives and children. These dramatic personal accounts are supported by extensive original research from logs, muster books and personal files discovered in France, Spain and Britain.
Glimpses of intriguing individuals enrich the narrative: Jeanne Caunant, wife of a Flemish 'maintopman'; Louis Infernet, a hard-drinking sailor who rose to captain thanks to the French Revolution; James Martin, a seaman from Colchester who wrote about the battle; Dioniso Galiano, Spanish officer and explorer of the New World, are just a few. The demands of life at sea - and what this mix of people had suffered and achieved in the turbulent years that led up to the battle - make compelling reading.
Whether you are already familiar with this period of history or are coming to it for the first time, Trafalgar is a book that will enthral as it illuminates an event whose repercussions still echo today.
Author: Tim Clayton & Phil Craig
Title: Trafalgar: The Men, the Battle, the Storm
First Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Date: 11 October 2004