THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM SIDNEY SMITH, G.C.B.

Barrow, John.


£300.00




2 Vols., Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, 1st.ed., 1848. Vol. I : xvi + 447 pp., engrvd. port. frontis., engrvd. armorial title, + 2 charts & 2 plans (both fldg.). Vol. II : viii + 499 pp., engrvd. frontis., & engrvd. armorial title. Both volumes in original blue blind-decorated cloth ; gilt lettering to spines ; edges uncut. Head & tails of spines worn & some general shelf wear ; frontispieces foxed ; o/w V.G. Contemporary signature (1849) & in Vol. I the signature of A. B. Sainsbury in 1975. (Captain A. B. Sainsbury, R.N.R., 1925-2010, served as a volunteer in the Liverpool Fire Brigade during the blitz on the port,1940-1942 ; became a Bevin Boy down Northumberland coal mines 1943-1945 ; graduated from Trinity College, Oxford 1947 ; entered Tyne Division RNVR 1950 ; transferred from HMS CALLIOPE to London Division HMS PRESIDENT 1954 ; later Head of Supply Branch, RNR ; first Staff Captain to Admiral Commanding Reserves and a member of the Mitchell Committee reporting on the future of naval reserves. Retired in 1974, Captain Tony Sainsbury was an ADC to the Queen and as a naval historian he had an extensive knowledge of naval history from his favourite admiral, Duckworth, to the ‘Secret War’ of 1939-1945). This was Sir John Barrow’s final work as he died in the year of publication, 1848. The publisher, Richard Bentley, had been responsible for Admiral Smith’s Memoirs, also in two volumes, compiled by Edward Howard and published in 1839. Bentley purchased a large mass of Smith’s papers and correspondence and approached Barrow with the proposal that he should write a biography based on these documents. After examining them, Barrow came to the conclusion that there was insufficient material but on the suggestion of his father he contacted an old friend of Admiral Smith, Captain Arabin, then living in Paris. Arabin had valuable papers in his possession which he placed at Barrow’s disposal and this important 1848 study is the result. Sidney Smith (1764-1840) was one of the great naval figures of the Nelson era. He entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in Rodney’s flagship SANDWICH and took part in the 1780 battle off Cape St. Vincent, as well as three engagements against de Guichen later that year. He also took part in the action of the Chesapeake (1781) ; and Dominica (1782) ; and later served in the navies of Sweden and Russia, being recalled to the British Navy on the outbreak of war with France in 1793. Smith was captured at Le Havre in 1796 and after two years as a French prisoner-of-war he escaped and made his way back to England. His greatest moment came in 1799 with his epic defence of Acre against Napoleon’s Army of Egypt which had been stranded ashore thanks to Nelson destroying their fleet at the Battle of the Nile a year earlier. Nelson and Smith didn’t always see eye-to-eye as their characters were poles apart. Sir John Barrow provides an important biography of this remarkable seaman.


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