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Quiberon Bay

By: Geoffrey Marcus (714/35912)
Publisher: Hollis & Carter
(From the John Laffin Library)

For two hundred years Englishmen have been stirred by Heart of Oak, the rousing song composed by David Garrick in commemoration of the battle of Quiberon Bay, one of the most complete and dramatic victories ever won by British seamen, ranking in importance with Trafalgar and the defeat of the Armada. This book tells for the first time how this victory was achieved.

Two centuries ago Great Britain and France were engaged in the desperate struggle for maritime, commercial and colonial supremacy known as the Seven Years’ War. The crisis of that struggle was reached with the British expedition against Quebec and a French counterstroke in the shape of a formidable invasion project. To stave off this threatened descent the War Minister, William Pitt, relied on the Channel Fleet commanded by Admiral Sir Edward Hawke.

Geoffrey Marcus tells the story of the invasion alarm in England, the great gales which repeatedly drove our squadron off its station, and Hawke’s dogged clinging to the vital post off Ushant month after month until late on a dark November afternoon in a raging sea and a rising north westerly gale, close in with one of the most hazardous lee shores in Europe, the French fleet was finally brought to action and defeated.

Such action, under such perilous conditions, had never been fought before and this, with Hawk’s blockade of Brest, initiated a revolution in naval strategy which is fully described by the author together with the far-reaching consequences: England freed from invasion, the British power in India established on a firm and durable foundation and North America secured once and for all for the English-speaking peoples.

August 2008


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