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The Endeavour set sail from Plymouth on 25th August 1768 bound for the South Pacific and immortality. It would be three years before Banks would see England again. Genius of Britain II: A Roomful of Brilliant Minds, Channel 4 2012
How will the ships navigate without stars? And then he remembered that the stars were dead, long dead, and the light they shed was not to be trusted, was false, if not an outright lie, and in any case was inadequate, unequal to its task, which was to illuminate the evil that men did. Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis
The problem was they intended to close the yards ... Us shop stewards we took a decision that we were going to fight to keep the shipyards on the Clyde. Sammy Barr, shop steward
The painter’s fascination with the sea and ships led him to paint more storm scenes and shipwrecks. J M W Turner, Sky Arts 2013
The Clydeside Shipyards ... Spencer turned out fourteen huge paintings ... Spencer’s shipyard paintings are works of political, social realism. The dignity of the humble ship worker in the fight against the enemy. Jon Snow, The Genius of British Art: War, Channel 4 2010
On a blustery November day four centuries ago the English were preparing themselves for one of the greatest national celebrations ever seen. Beneath the dome of St Paul’s they gathered to celebrate their tiny nation’s victory over the world’s greatest superpower: Spain. Dan Snow, Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World I, BBC 2010
The new world of the Americas offered wealth beyond imagining. ibid.
Hawkins and Drake ... they were slave traders. ibid.
[John] Hawkins produced the fastest ships of their kind anywhere in the world. The first was built in 1570 at the Queen’s dockyard in Deptford. ibid.
He laid the foundations for modern warfare. ibid.
The King’s [Charles I] failure to run a modern efficient navy sparked a constitutional crisis. ibid.
The Laws of War offered a blueprint for structure and discipline at sea; they would later be applied through all areas of government. ibid.
[Samuel] Pepys ... He was determined to professionalise every aspect of the Navy’s operations. ibid.
In 1665 came the inevitable clash with the Dutch. ibid.
A vast efficient Navy. This was England’s Heart of Oak. A Navy that now lay at the centre of the national project and its future. ibid.
English warships fleeing pell-mell across the horizon ... The French were coming. Dan Snow, Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World II: The Golden Ocean
Church bells rang out in panic. ibid.
On board was a year’s worth of trade ... The convoy was such a vital national interest that it was given an escort of 102 warships. ibid.
They found 93 French warships waiting for them. ibid.
English dockyards built over a hundred and fifty naval new ships. ibid.
Five tons of iron nails. ibid.
The navy was the single largest consumer of produce in the country. ibid.
It even captured Gibraltar and Minorca, two important bases in the Mediterranean. The English Navy was now a global weapon. ibid.
The slave trade was a lucrative sideline. ibid.
And then there were the pirates. ibid.
Voltaire saw instantly that commerce and naval power were linked. ibid.
Britannia really did rule the waves. ibid.
The most epic naval battle in British history – Trafalgar. The boy’s name was Horatio Nelson. Dan Snow, Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World III: High Tide
The Navy was a national enterprise. ibid.
20th April 1770 – the ship was called The Endeavour; the commander was James Cook. ibid.
Cook was going to claim undiscovered lands for the British. ibid.
By 1771 goods from her colonies were pouring into Britain. ibid.
Recruits as young as ten were sent to sea for months at a time. ibid.
Britain was naming and mapping the world. ibid.
Marine art had never been so popular. ibid.
Britain was now at war with her own subjects ... a transatlantic war. ibid.
Sheathing just one ship could require fifteen tons of copper. ibid.
The lucrative sugar trade powered the British economy. ibid.
Britain gave up her thirteen colonies in North America but retained key possessions all across the globe including her vital Caribbean colonies. ibid.
Across the channel in France the reign of terror was in full swing. ibid.
At the height of the war almost 40% of crews were pressed into service. ibid.
Nelson was front page news. ibid.
From 1799 every British subject earning more than £60 a year was charged income tax at a rate of 10%. ibid.
The Battle of Trafalgar has seared itself into the national psyche. ibid.
The Royal Navy was here to open up China for business. Dan Snow, Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World IV: Sea Change
Gunboat diplomacy – British interests secured down the barrel of a gun. ibid.
Europe was in the grip of Dreadnought-building fever. ibid.
There would be no more Jutlands. ibid.
On May 31st 1916 the British and German fleets clashed in what would be the biggest and bloodiest naval battle of the First World War, and in fact in the whole of navy history – the Battle of Jutland. This was the era of the Dreadnought … The was one battle that didn’t go to plan. Dan Snow, Battle of Jutland: The Navy’s Bloodiest Day, BBC 2016
Britain had lost more than 60,000 men. ibid.
The British had 151 ships; the Germans 99. And Britain expected an easy victory … The Royal Navy came off worse. ibid.
‘The greater number of injuries were caused by burns.’ ibid.
There were only 18 survivors of the Queen Mary. ibid.
A hastily cobbled together fleet carrying out a daring rescue mission. For many of those ships and their crews it would prove fatal but it would lead to what is now known as the Miracle of Dunkirk. Dan Snow, Little Ships: The Miracle of Dunkirk, BBC 2019
70 years ago they knew they were headed into a war zone. ibid.