Balchen's Victory

The Loss and Rediscovery of an Admiral and His Ship

  • Subject: Spring 2022 Catalog | General Military & Naval History
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    16 color and 10 b/w illustrations
  • Published:
    March 15, 2022
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.25 × 6.125 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    18 oz
Hardcover $52.95
Member Price $42.36 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


This is the story of Admiral Sir John Balchen, his life and career, and HMS Victory, the largest, finest ship-of-the-line in the Royal Navy at the time, which he commanded when both were lost, along with more than 1,000 crew, in an October storm in the English Channel in 1744. Admiral John Balchen was a courageous, if not heroic, naval officer who saw major engagements and his legacy in naval development deserves greater recognition. Indeed, the story of both the ship and her commander, their individual and remarkably parallel lives, can now be revealed as fundamental catalysts to the revolutionary reforms in naval shipbuilding, design and dockyard administration that transformed the Royal Navy after 1745. The exciting discovery of the wreck of HMS Victory in 2008, the subsequent and continuing public and political wrangling over possible salvage, and the 2019 display at Portsmouth of a mighty 42-pounder bronze gun retrieved from the wreck, have been the catalyst for this history of the admiral and his ship.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Smith does not simply relate the stories of an admiral and a ship. He places both in context with what was happening within the Royal Navy and in the world at large. His goal is to provide readers with an understanding of who Admiral Balchen was and why he should be remembered for more than just a shipwreck. In this, Smith achieves what he set out to do in a manner that is straightforward and enlightening.” —Pirates and Privateers