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The Essex 'Master & Commander'

 The 2003 Russell Crowe movie 'Master & Commander' was a great film, but surely some scenes were a little hard to believe? After some research, maybe this seafaring epic based upon the Napoleonic Wars, did have some truth to it?

   In the film, the crew of 'HMS Surprise' lash a ships lantern to a raft and set it adrift at night.The Captain of the French ship 'Acheron' which was pursuing them, is duly tricked into following behind. Meanwhile, 'HMS Surprise' slips away safely.

   About 100 years earlier, in 1712, Captain Matthew Martin of the Eastindiamen 'Marlborough' was being attacked by three French warships in the East Indies. He used this same tactic, and safely

landed in Port St George, India with a cargo valued at £200,000.

He became a national celebrity and was awarded a diamond medal and £1000 by the grateful East India Company. In 1716 'Marlborough' was in Canton, China and along with merchadise, probably transported the Chinese armorial service, a few pieces of which I am offering for sale.

   Captain Martin lived at Wivenhoe Park, Essex on the banks of the river Colne, near Colchester. The house and estate was painted by the artist, John Constable. In fact, Flatford Mill his birthplace, is only 6 miles away. 

Other References

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