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NRS VOLUMES, 2019-2020

NRS VOLUMES, 2019-2020


Hilary L. Rubinstein, Selections from the Papers of Admiral Sir Philip Durham, 1763-1845.

Admiral Sir Philip Durham (1763-1845) was one of the most distinguished and colourful officers of the late Georgian Navy. His lucky and sometimes controversial career included surviving the sinking of HMS Royal George in 1782, making the first conquest of the tricolour flag in 1793 and the last in 1815, and having two enemy ships surrender to him at Trafalgar. A Scot distantly related to Lord Barham, Durham entered the Navy in 1777, serving initially on the American and West Indies stations.  He was Kempenfelt’s signal officer on HMS Victory during the second battle of Ushant in 1781 and on the Royal George.  Making his reputation initially as the daring young master and commander of HMS Spitfire early in the French Revolutionary War, he became a crack frigate captain with a fortune in prize money, and commanded HMS Defiance at Trafalgar, where he was wounded. 
He ended his war service as Commander-in-Chief, Leeward Islands.  En voyage he artfully captured two brand-new French frigates which were subsequently taken into the service of Britain, and during his tenure he won the heartfelt gratitude of local merchants by ridding the surrounding seas of American privateers preying on British trading vessels.  True to form, he clashed with the judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court on Antigua and with the general with whom he led a combined naval and military assault on Martinique and Guadeloupe following Napoleon’s escape from Elba.  He later served as commander-in-chief, Portsmouth having resigned his parliamentary seat to do so.  
Married first to the sister of the Earl of Elgin of ‘Marbles’ fame, and secondly to a cousin of ‘sea wolf’ Lord Cochrane, he was well-known to George III, who as a result of Durham’s amusing yet improbable anecdotes, dubbed any tall tale he heard ‘a Durham’.  This collection of his papers consists mainly of letters and despatches relating to his service in the Channel Fleet, the Mediterranean, and the Leeward Islands. Correspondence with his parents during 1789-90 reflects his anxieties relating to employment and prospects for promotion when he was a young lieutenant with an illegitimate child to support. The collection, featuring items from and to him, comprises a fascinating and informative set of documents.



Marianne Czisnik, Nelson’s Letters to Lady Hamilton and Related Documents.

The aim of this critical edition of Admiral Nelson’s letters to Lady Hamilton is to bring together the important letters of Nelson to Lady Hamilton that have only been published in parts over the last 200 years. Only by bringing the letters of Nelson to Lady Hamilton together is it possible to assess their relationship and to present certain insights into Nelson’s personality that are not revealed in his official correspondence. Thorough research into this side of Nelson’s personality and into the nature of his notorious and unconventional relationship with Lady Hamilton has been hampered in the past by a desire not to look too closely at Nelson’s personal morality. 
To a considerable extent their relationship was regarded as a challenge to traditional gender roles and it indeed did not conform to stereotypes that are usually attributed to men and women in a heterosexual relationship. Lady Hamilton was so obviously lacking in the subservience and passivity expected from women in that era that authors over the course of time started to exclude her in their accounts of the public sphere by reducing her to a private weakness of Nelson’s, who could be successful at sea, where he was far away from the enthralling influence of a manipulating woman. 
The letters in this edition testify how Admiral Nelson’s life at sea was not exclusively public nor was Lady Hamilton’s life ashore solely private. It also shows how the two supposedly separate spheres of male and female lives were connected. A fresh approach and a thorough discussion of this important and neglected aspect not only of Nelson’s life, but of gender history, demands this exact and scholarly edition of the primary material, which consists of about 400 letters that Nelson wrote to Lady Hamilton over the course of the last seven years of his life and about a dozen letters of her to him that have survived.

Normandy 75


The Navy Records Society is a joint sponsor for this major international conference marking the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Campaign, in association with Global War Studies, Brécourt Academic, the University of Portsmouth Business School and The D-Day Story.

Normandy 75 will bring together scholars, students, and the general public to explore this seminal event in detail, and will endeavor to promote an interdisciplinary and international study of the Normandy Campaign by means of drawing upon the latest scholarship from a variety of disciplines. The conference will also serve as a forum for Second World War historians to discuss and debate the wide-ranging, international implications of the campaign and how it impacted other theaters – and aspects – of the conflict.



The City of Portsmouth, and the adjacent areas of Gosport and Southsea, have a close association with the Normandy Campaign. In 1944, Portsmouth lay at the heart of a vast marshalling area for around 30,000 British and Canadian troops involved in the invasion. Many of these personnel embarked on the vessels that would carry them to Normandy at Portsmouth and nearby loading points, while hundreds of warships, landing craft, and other elements of the amphibious assault force gathered there before setting sail for France in early June.

The massive Portsmouth naval dockyard provided critical construction, repair, and supply facilities for the maritime elements of the invasion force, and also played a significant role in the construction of components of the famous ‘Mulberry Harbours’. Portsmouth was also close to the command and control centre for Operation Neptune, located at Southwick House, a few miles north-east of the city.

In short, there is no place within the United Kingdom more suited as a venue for this important conference on one of the most significant events in 20th century military history.



The conference proceedings will be published as an edited volume. There will also be a special issue of Global War Studies featuring papers from the conference.



Online registration for Normandy 75 will open in early September 2018 via the online store. The conference registration fee will include all keynote, plenary, and panel sessions as well as the conference dinner, a drinks reception, and daily breakfasts and lunches. The conference fee schedule is as follows:

£325.00 – General Delegates (non-presenters)
£285.00 – Presenters/Students

Please note that there are no one – or two-day registration fee options.

Online registration will close 5 July 2019.

The University of Portsmouth will offer on-campus accommodations for interested delegates at the rate of £75.00 per night. Advance reservations will be required via the conference online store.


Immediately following the Normandy 75 Conference there will be a series of special events at The D-Day Story. Presenters from the Normandy 75 Conference are invited to contribute to these events by bringing their knowledge of the Normandy Campaign to the general public. Additional details will be forthcoming.



Please contact Dr. Jason Banner for additional information:

Tel: 202 875 1436 (US number) or Email:

THE ROBLEY BROWNE DIARIES, PART V ‘A Ship’s surgeon in peacetime’, 1919.

This final article in this series on Robley Browne focuses on his life as a ship’s surgeon following his retirement in 1919, at the age of fifty five, after a thirty year career in the Royal Navy.  These extracts from his diaries and photograph albums demonstrate the striking similarity between the job of a surgeon in the Royal Navy and surgeon on the largest trans Atlantic ocean liners of their day.  There were also major differences, which tested the capabilities and character of the most versatile of medical practitioners.   His diaries provide insight into many aspects of the 1920’s, including mass immigration to North America, Prohibition, communications and travel, sociology, and also the lives of many of the “rich and famous” of the time.


Part I: Declaration of War off Montevideo, June-August 1914

Part II: Battle off Chile, 1 NOV 1914

Part III: The Sinking of the Dresden, March 1915

Part IV: Well Done Glasgow: A poem.


An account by Captain Edmund Lyons of the frigate Blonde of an ambassadorial ball held for Turkish officials during the Greek war of independence.


The 22-year-old Victor ‘Dick’ Hutley records his voyage as part of the Royal Tour of West Africa, South Africa and South America from the sick berth of the battlecruiser, HMS Repulse.

Part 1: Departure. A voyage from Portsmouth to Tenerife.

Part II: Accra: ceremony, music, plague and sharks

Part III: Crossing the Line

Part IV: Simonstown Hospital

Part V: Treating the Prince.


A translated Dutch account of the capture of the Rose cutter, 13 October 1800. The Rose was the first ship to be captured by the Dutch after the inception in 1795 of the Batavian Republic, a client state of the French Republic

Magazine Article: Surgeon Captain Robley Browne’s Diaries

img803_rhjb-1900We will soon be publishing a five-part article based on the remarkable diaries of Surgeon Captain Robley Browne. Robley Browne was born in London on August 4, 1863. After six years of medical training at Guy’s Hospital, in London, from 1882 to 1888, he joined the Royal Navy, where he spent his first two years on board training ships. For the next thirty years, Robley led an extraordinary life in the service of his country, as surgeon on board a number of ships.

The posts will be themed on the taking of the Taku Forts in 1900, Robley’s fascinating experiences of naval sporting events, Robley’s service on the Royal Yacht, his travels in Kroea, China and Japan and finally on his post-war life as a surgeon on Ocean Liners. His diaries are rich with important historical detail and are a joy to read, and they are all illustrated with images, maps, sketches and photographs.

The Navy Records Society