Black Night off Finisterre

The Tragic Tale of an Early British Ironclad

Hardcover $12.28
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HMS Captain was the first sea-going turret warship built to provide all-round firepower. This definitive account of the loss of the Captain details the decade-long public controversy in parliament and the press that led to the building of the ship in unprecedented circumstances. The lengthy controversy involved a disagreement between the Captain's designer and inventor of the turntable turret gun for warships and the Admiralty Constructor, who regarded the design of the vessel as potentially dangerous.

Each had his supporters, but eventually the Admiralty gave in. Its compromise proved to be fatal in September 1870. Only four months after being commissioned, the Captain capsized and immediately sank in a gale off Finisterre, with a death toll greater than at the Battle of Trafalgar. Using newly discovered information regarding the loss of the ship—information that appears to have been suppressed at the court martial of the eighteen survivors—Arthur Hawkey rewrites history. It is a tale that will fascinate ship buffs and serious historians alike.

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