Journal

Brothers in Arms: General John Lawrenson, 17th Lancers (1802-83), and Colonel George Lawrenson, C.B., Bengal Horse Artillery (1803-56)

My account a few postings back of the military career of Captain Thomas Edward Gordon, 14th Light Dragoons (my great-great-great grandfather), has led me to look at the careers of two of his wife’s uncles, one an officer in the East India Company Army and the other in the British cavalry. Together the careers of these three men cover most of the big wars of the earlier part of Victoria's reign– the first Anglo-Sikh War of 1845-6 and the second of 1848-9, the Crimean War of 1854-6 and the Indian Mutiny of 1857-9. They encompass some of the most glorified moments of war in the Victorian age, epitomised in Crimea by the 'Thin Red Line' of the 93rd Highlanders and the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava ...

 

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A 5th century BC Greek shipwreck excavation off Turkey

I wrote this article for  the 2000 edition of the journal Antiquity, following the first season of excavation by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) of a classical Greek shipwreck off the west coast of Turkey at Tektas Burnu. I was very fortunate to participate in both the 1999 and the 2000 season at this site, carrying out more than a hundred dives to 45 metres and excavating some wonderful artefacts - including intact painted Greek vases of the 5th century BC ...

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The Rumpa Rebellion, India, 1879-80: jungle fever and the cause of malaria

The greatest challenge facing the regimental surgeons with the Rumpa Field Force in India in 1879 was jungle fever, ‘that severe sickness that paralyses every effort, disheartens the men, and fosters the preconceived belief of the superiority and valour of the insurgents.’ The Madras Military Proceedings for 1879 and 1880, the source of this quote and others below, reveals a stark picture ...

 

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THE SWORD OF ATTILA: military map-makers, Roman and Victorian

One of the characters I most enjoyed creating in my novel Total War Rome: The Sword of Attila was Gnaeus Uago Alentius, a senior tribune of the fabri – the Roman equivalent of the Corps of Engineers – who oversees a military mapping unit in Rome. I'd imagined that by the 5th century AD, Roman proficiency in field survey and road-tracing might have led to a kind of topographical department in the army, with the fabri close to creating detailed maps akin to the early British Ordnance Survey series - something that would have been halted by the collapse of the Roman army in the west shortly afterwards, leaving us no evidence of their work ...

 

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