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Thread: Battle of Lissa (1811)

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    Default Battle of Lissa (1811)

    I decided to include this battle as a tribute to Captain Duff's magnificent recent enactment at Doncaster.
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    Battle of Lissa, 13 March 1811
    painting by Nicholas Pocock
    Date 13 March 1811
    Location off Northern coastline of Lissa island, Adriatic Sea.
    (Vis in present-day Croatia)
    Result Decisive British victory
    Strength
    3 frigates,
    1 post ship
    6 frigates,
    1 brig,
    4 smaller craft
    Casualties and losses
    45 killed,
    145 wounded
    200 killed,
    500 wounded and captured,
    2 ships captured,
    1 ship sunk

    The Battle of Lissa (sometimes called the Battle of Vis; French: Bataille de Lissa; Italian: Battaglia di Lissa; Croatian: Viška bitka) was a naval action fought between a British frigate squadron and a larger squadron of French and Italian frigates and smaller ships on 13 March 1811 during the Adriatic campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. The engagement was fought in the Adriatic Sea for possession of the strategically important island of Lissa (also known as Vis), from which the British squadron had been disrupting French shipping in the Adriatic. The French needed to control the Adriatic to supply a growing army in the Illyrian Provinces, and consequently dispatched an invasion force in March 1811 consisting of six frigates, numerous smaller craft and a battalion of Italian soldiers.
    The French invasion force under Bernard Dubourdieu was met by Captain William Hoste and his four ships based on the island. In the subsequent battle, Hoste sank the French flagship, captured two others, and scattered the remainder of the Franco-Venetian squadron. The battle has been hailed as an important British victory, due to both the disparity between the forces and the signal raised by Hoste, a former subordinate of Horatio Nelson. Hoste had raised the message "Remember Nelson" as the French bore down, and had then manoeuvred to drive Dubourdieu's flagship ashore and scatter his squadron in what has been described as "one of the most brilliant naval achievements of the war".
    .
    The Napoleonic Wars, the name for a succession of connected conflicts between the armies of the French Emperor Napoleon and his European opponents, were nine years old when the War of the Fifth Coalition ended in 1809. The Treaty of Schönbrunn that followed the war gave Napoleon possession of the final part of Adriatic coastline not under his control: the Illyrian Provinces. This formalised the control the French had exercised in Illyria since 1805 and over the whole Adriatic Sea since the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807. In the Treaty of Tilsit, Russia had granted France control over the Septinsular Republic and withdrawn their own forces from the region, allowing Napoleon freedom of action in the Adriatic. At Schönbrunn, Napoleon made the Illyrian Provinces part of metropolitan France and therefore under direct French rule, unlike the neighbouring Kingdom of Italy which was nominally independent but in reality came under his personal rule. Thus, the Treaty of Schönbrunn formalised Napoleon's control of almost the entire coastline of the Adriatic and, if unopposed, would allow him to transport troops and supplies to the Balkans. The French army forming in the Illyrian Provinces was possibly intended for an invasion of the Ottoman Empire in conjunction with the Russians; the two countries had signed an agreement to support one another against the Ottomans at Tilsit.
    To disrupt the preparations of this army, the British Royal Navy, which had controlled most of the Mediterranean since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, seized the Dalmatian Island of Lissa in 1807 and used it as a base for raiding the coastal shipping of Italy and Illyria. These operations captured dozens of ships and caused panic and disruption to French strategy in the region. To counter this, the French government started a major shipbuilding programme in the Italian seaports, particularly Venice, and despatched frigates of their own to protect their shipping. Commodore Bernard Dubourdieu's Franco-Venetian forces were unable to bring the smaller British force under William Hoste to a concerted action, where Dubourdieu's superior numbers might prove decisive. Instead, the British and French frigate squadrons engaged in a campaign of raids and counter-raids during 1810.


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    Captain Bernard Dubourdieu


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    Captain William Hoste

    In October 1810, Dubourdieu landed 700 Italian soldiers on Lissa while Hoste searched in vain for the French squadron in the Southern Adriatic. The island had been left in the command of two midshipmen, James Lew and Robert Kingston, who withdrew the entire population of the island into the central mountains along with their supplies. The Italian troops were left in possession of the deserted main town, Port St. George. The French and Italians burnt several vessels in the harbour and captured others, but remained on the island for no more than seven hours, retreating before Hoste returned. The remainder of the year was quiet, the British squadron gaining superiority after being reinforced by the third-rate ship of the line HMS Montagu.

    Early in 1811 the raiding campaigns began again, and British attacks along the Italian coast prompted Dubourdieu to mount a second invasion of Lissa. Taking advantage of the temporary absence of Montagu, Dubourdieu assembled six frigates and numerous smaller craft and embarked over 500 Italian soldiers under Colonel Alexander Gifflenga. The squadron amassed by Dubourdieu not only outnumbered the British in terms of men and ships, it was also twice as heavy in weight of shot. Dubourdieu planned to overwhelm Hoste's frigate squadron and then invade and capture the island, which would eradicate the British threat in the Adriatic for months to come.

    Battle.

    Dubourdieu (as commodore) led a squadron consisting of six frigates (four of 40 guns and two of 32 guns), a 16-gun brig, two schooners, one xebec, and two gunboats. Three of his ships were from the French Navy, and the others from the Navy of the Kingdom of Italy. In addition the squadron carried 500 Italian soldiers. In the absence of Montagu, Hoste's squadron consisted of three frigates (one of 38 guns and two of 32 guns) and one 22-gun post ship. The island of Lissa itself was defended by a small number of local troops under the command of two midshipmen.
    Dubourdieu's squadron was spotted approaching the island of Lissa at 03:00 on 12 March 1811 by Captain Gordon in HMS Active, which had led the British squadron from Port St George on a cruise off Ancona. Turning west, the British squadron awaited the French approach in line ahead, sailing along the north coast of the island within half a mile of the shoreline. By 06:00, Dubourdieu was approaching the British line from the north-east in two divisions, leading in Favorite at the head of the windward or western division. Dubourdieu hoped to pass ahead of Active at the head of the British line and cross it further east with Danaé, which led the leeward division. Dubourdieu intended to break the British line in two places and destroy the British squadron in the crossfire.


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    The opening stages of the battle

    Over the next three hours the squadrons continued to close, light winds restricting them to a little over three knots. A protege of Nelson, Hoste recalled the inspirational effect of Nelson's signal before the Battle of Trafalgar and raised his own: "Remember Nelson", which was greeted with wild cheering from the squadron. As he closed with Hoste's force, Dubourdieu realised that he would be unable to successfully cross Active's bow due to the British ship's speed, and would also be unable to break through their line due to the British ships' close proximity to one another. He instead sought to attack the second ship in the British line, Hoste's flagship HMS Amphion. Dubourdieu possessed not only a significant advantage in ships but also in men, the Italian soldiers aboard giving him the opportunity to overwhelm the British crews if he could board their frigates successfully. The first shots of the battle were fired at 09:00, as the British used their wider field of fire to attack the leading French ships, Favorite and Danaé, unopposed for several minutes. The French squadron held their fire, Dubourdieu gathering his troops and sailors into Favorite's bow in order to maximise the effect of his initial attack once his flagship came into contact with Amphion.

    Hoste was aware of Dubourdieu's intentions and the French advantage in numbers, and consequently ordered a large 5.5-inch (140 mm) howitzer on Amphion's deck triple-shotted until the cannon contained over 750 musket balls[19] Once Favorite was within a few yards of Amphion's stern, Hoste gave permission for the gun to be fired and the cannon's discharge instantly swept the bow of Favorite clear of the French and Italian boarding party. Among the dozens killed and wounded were Dubourdieu and all the frigate's officers, leaving Colonel Gifflenga in command of Favorite. As Favorite and Amphion closed with one another, firing continued between the British rear and the French leeward division, led by Danaé. Several of the French ships came at an angle at which they could bring their guns to bear on HMS Cerberus, the rearmost British ship, and both sides were firing regular broadsides at one another.

    Hoste's manoeuvre.

    Following the death of Dubourdieu, Captain Péridier on Flore ordered the French and Venetian ships to attack the British line directly. The battered Favorite led with an attempt to round Amphion and rake her before catching her in crossfire, as had been Dubourdieu's original intention. The remainder of the Franco-Venetian squadron followed this lead and attempted to bring their superior numbers to bear on the British squadron. Hoste was prepared for this eventuality and immediately ordered his ships to wear, turning south and then east to reverse direction. This movement threw the Franco-Venetian squadron into confusion and as a result the squadron's formation became disorganised. Favorite, which had lost almost its entire complement of officers, was unable to respond quickly enough to the manoeuvre and drove onto the rocky coastline in confusion, becoming a total wreck.
    Thrown into further confusion by the loss of Favorite, the French and Venetian formation began to break up and the British squadron was able to pull ahead of their opponents; the leading French ships Flore and Bellona succeeded in only reaching Amphion, which was now at the rear of the British line. Amphion found herself caught between the two frigates and this slowed the British line enough that the French eastern division, led by Danaé, was able to strike at HMS Volage, now the leading British ship after overtaking Cerberus during the turn. Volage was much smaller than her opponent but was armed with 32-pounder carronades, short range guns that caused such damage to Danaé that the French ship was forced to haul off and reengage from a longer range. The strain of combat at this greater distance ruptured Volage's short-ranged carronades and left the ship much weakened, with only a single gun with which to engage the enemy.

    Chase.


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    Battle of Lissa, 13 March 1811
    Engraved by Henri Merke after a painting by George Webster, 1812

    Behind Volage and Danaé, the Venetian Corona had engaged Cerberus in a close range duel, during which Cerberus took heavy damage but inflicted similar injuries on the Italian ship. This exchange continued until the arrival of Active caused the Danaé, Corona and Carolina to sheer off and retreat to the east. To the rear, Amphion succeeded in closing with and raking Flore, and caused such damage that within five minutes the French ship's officers threw the French colours overboard in surrender. Captain Péridier had been seriously wounded in the action, and took no part in Flore's later movements. Amphion then attacked Bellona and in an engagement that lasted until 12:00, forced the Italian ship's surrender. During this combat, the small ship Principessa Augusta fired on Amphion from a distance, until the frigate was able to turn a gun on them and drive them off. Hoste sent a punt to take possession of Bellona but due to the damage suffered was unable to launch a boat to seize Flore. Realising Amphion's difficulty, the officers of Flore, who had made hasty repairs during the conflict between Amphion and Bellona, immediately set sail for the French harbour on Lesina (Hvar), despite having already surrendered.

    Active, the only British ship still in fighting condition, took up pursuit of the retreating enemy and at 12:30 caught the Corona in the channel between Lissa and the small island of Spalmadon. The frigates manoeuvred around one another for the next hour; captains Gordon and Pasqualigo each seeking the best position from which to engage. The frigates engaged in combat at 13.45, Active forcing Corona's surrender 45 minutes later after a fire broke out aboard the Italian ship. Active too had suffered severely and as the British squadron was not strong enough to continue the action by attacking the remaining squadron in its protected harbour on Lesina, the battle came to an end. The survivors of the Franco-Venetian squadron had all reached safety; Carolina and Danaé had used the conflict between Active and Corona to cover their escape while Flore had indicated to each British ship she passed that she had surrendered and was in British possession despite the absence of a British officer on board. Once Flore was clear of the British squadron she headed for safety, reaching the batteries of Lesina shortly after her Carolina and Danaé and ahead of the limping British pursuit. The smaller craft of the Franco-Venetian squadron scattered during the battle's final stages and reached Lesina independently.

    Conclusion.


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    The latter stages of the battle. The burning Favorite can be seen in the background.
    Engraving by Henri Merke after a painting by George Webster, 1812

    Although Favorite was wrecked, over 200 of her crew and soldier-passengers had reached the land and, having set fire to their ship, prepared to march on Port St. George under the leadership of Colonel Gifflenga. Two British midshipmen left in command of the town organised the British and indigenous population into a defensive force and marched to meet Gifflenga. The junior British officers informed Gifflenga that the return of the British squadron would bring overwhelming numbers of sailors, marines and naval artillery to bear on his small force and that if he surrendered immediately he could expect better terms. Gifflenga recognised that his position was untenable and capitulated. At Port St. George, the Venetian gunboat Lodola sneaked unnoticed into the harbour and almost captured a Sicilian privateer, Vincitore. The raider was driven off by the remaining garrison of the town without the prize, while attempting to manoeuvre her out of the bay.

    In the seas off Lissa, British prize crews were making strenuous efforts to protect their captures; Corona was heavily on fire in consequence of her engagement with Active and the British prize crew fought the blaze alongside their Italian prisoners. The fire was eventually brought under control, but not without the death of five men and several more seriously burnt when the blazing mainmast collapsed. Problems were also experienced aboard Bellona, where Captain Duodo planned to ignite the powder magazine and destroy the ship following its surrender. Duodo had been mortally wounded in the action, and so ordered his second in command to light the fuse. The officer promised to do so, but instead handed control of the magazine to the British prize crew when they arrived. Duodo died still believing that the fuse had been lit.

    Hoste also remained at sea, cruising in the battered Amphion beyond the range of the shore batteries on Lesina. Hoste was furious at the behaviour of Flore's officers and sent a note into Lesina demanding that they give up the ship as indicated by its earlier surrender. In surrendering and then escaping, the officers of Flore had breached an informal rule of naval conflict under which a ship that voluntarily struck its flag submitted to an opponent in order to prevent continued loss of life among its crew. Flore had been able to pass unmolested through the British squadron only because she was recognised to have surrendered, and to abuse this custom in this way was considered, in the Royal Navy especially, to be a dishonourable act. The French at Lesina did not respond to Hoste's note, and the British squadron was eventually forced to return to Lissa to effect repairs.

    Aftermath.

    Casualties of the action were heavy on both sides. The British ships suffered 190 killed or wounded in the battle and a number lost afterwards in the fire aboard Corona. Captains Hoste and Hornby were both badly wounded and the entire British squadron was in need of urgent repair before resuming the campaign. In the French and Italian squadron the situation was even worse, although precise losses are not known. At least 150 had been killed aboard Favorite either in the action or the wreck, and the 200 survivors of her crew and passengers were all made prisoner. Bellona had suffered at least 70 casualties and Corona's losses were also severe. Among the ships that escaped less is known of their casualties, but all required repair and reinforcement before the campaign could resume. Total French and Italian losses are estimated at no less than 700. Losses among the officers of the combined squadron were especially high, with Commodore Dubourdieu and captains Meillerie and Duodo killed and Péridier seriously wounded.

    The immediate aftermath saw renewed efforts by Hoste to induce the French to hand over Flore, efforts that were rebuffed by the captain of the Danaé, who had assumed command of the French squadron. The surviving French and Venetian ships were initially laid up in Ragusa (Dubrovnik) awaiting supplies to continue the campaign, but a separate British squadron discovered and sank the supply ship at Parenzo (Poreč), necessitating a full French withdrawal from the area.] In Britain, Hoste's action was widely praised; the squadron's first lieutenants were all promoted to commander and the captains all presented with a commemorative medal. Nearly four decades later the battle was also recognized in the issue of the clasp Lissa to the Naval General Service Medal, awarded to all British participants still living in 1847.] On their arrival in Britain, Corona and Bellone were repaired and later purchased for service in the Royal Navy, the newly built Corona being named HMS Daedalus and Bellone becoming the troopship HMS Dover. Daedalus was commissioned in 1812 under Captain Murray Maxwell, but served less than a year; wrecked off Ceylon in July 1813. British numerical superiority in the region was assured; when French reinforcements for the Adriatic departed Toulon on 25 March they were hunted down and driven back to France by Captain Robert Otway in HMS Ajax before they had even passed Corsica. Throughout the remainder of 1811 however, British and French frigate squadrons continued to spar across the Adriatic, the most significant engagement being the action of 29 November 1811, in which a second French squadron was destroyed. The action had significant long-term effects; the destruction of one of the best-trained and best-led squadrons in the French Navy and the death of the aggressive Dubourdieu ended the French ability to strike into the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire.
    Last edited by Bligh; 11-19-2017 at 05:50.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Order of battle.

    Captain Hoste's squadron.

    Ship Rate Guns Commander Casualties Notes
    Killed Wounded Total
    HMS Active Fifth rate 38 Captain James Alexander Gordon 4 24 28
    HMS Amphion Fifth rate 32 Captain William Hoste 15 47 62
    HMS Volage Sixth rate 22 Captain Phipps Hornby 13 33 46
    HMS Cerberus Fifth rate 32 Captain Henry Whitby 13 41 54

    Casualties: 45 killed, 145 wounded, 190 total.


    Commodore Dubourdieu's squadron.

    Ship Rate Guns Commander Casualties Notes

    Windward division.
    Favorite Fifth rate 40
    Commodore Bernard Dubourdieu
    Captain Antonie-Francois-Zavier La Marre-la-Meillerie
    ~150 Driven ashore and destroyed.
    Flore Fifth rate 40 Captain Jean-Alexandre Péridier unknown Surrendered but later escaped to safety.
    Bellona Fifth rate 32 Captain Giuseppe Duodo ~70 Captured and later commissioned into the Royal Navy as troopship HMS Dover.

    Leeward division.
    Danaé Fifth rate 40 Captain Villon unknown
    Corona Fifth rate 40 Captain Nicolò Pasqualigo unknown Captured and later commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Daedalus.
    Carolina Fifth rate 32 Captain Giovanni Palicuccia or Palincucchia unknown
    Dubordieu's squadron was accompanied by the 16-gun brig Mercure, two small schooners Principessa Augusta and Principessa di Bologna, the xebec Eugenio and two gunboats (one named Lodola), none of which were heavily engaged. The squadron carried approximately 500 soldiers of the Italian Army under Colonel Alessandro Gifflenga.

    Casualties: approximately 700 killed, wounded or captured.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain James Alexander Gordon.

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    Born the eldest son of Charles Gordon of Wardhouse, Aberdeenshire, and his wife, a daughter of Major James Mercer, of Auchnacant, Aberdeenshire, Gordon joined the Royal Navy in November 1793. He was assigned to the 74-gun HMS Arrogant in the Channel Squadron and took part in the blockade of Brest. He spent time on harbour duty in the 74-gun HMS Invincible, in the 74-gun HMS Ramillies, the 74-gun HMS Defence and finally the 24-gun HMS Eurydice during 1794. He transferred to the frigate HMS Révolutionnaire in 1795 and served under Admiral Lord Bridport at the Battle of Groix in June 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars.

    Gordon moved to the 90-gun ship-of-the-line HMS Namur in 1796 and served under Lord Howe at the Battle of the Glorious First of June in June 1794. He transferred to the 74-gun HMS Goliath and served under Sir John Jervis at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797 and, having been promoted to midshipman, he served under Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798 when a crushing defeat was inflicted on the French fleet commanded by François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers. He became second lieutenant of the sloop Bordelais in January 1800 and, while escorting a convoy to the West Indies, fought an action with three French brigs, capturing one in January 1801. In the Caribbean later that year Gordon, on an independent mission, was captured by the Haitian government of Toussaint Louverture and spent four months in prison before being released by cartel. He was made first lieutenant of the 18-gun brig HMS Racoon in 1802 and returned to the West Indies. Racoon's capture of the French corvette Lodi in July 1803 led to Gordon's appointment as commanding officer of HMS Raccoon in October 1803 and his promotion to commander on 2 March 1804.

    Frigate captain.

    Gordon was promoted to post-captain on 16 May 1805 and assigned command of the 28-gun frigate HMS Ligaera but shortly after his arrival in England was taken seriously ill and had to resign his command. He was without a command until 1807, when he took over the 28-gun frigate HMS Mercury, engaged in blockade duties off Cádiz, and took part of a hard-fought action between three British ships and the combined forces of a Spanish convoy, 20 gunboats and land artillery off the town of Rota in April 1808. He became captain of the 38-gun frigate HMS Active at Gibraltar in June 1808 and spent the next three years in operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Adriatic Sea. Active was one of the four ships under the command of William Hoste that successfully defeated a much larger French squadron at the first Battle of Lissa in March 1811 and she was one of three that defeated three more powerful French frigates off Palagruža in November 1811. In this latter action Gordon’s left knee was shattered by a cannonball and his leg had to be amputated; he used a wooden leg for the remainder of his life. He recuperated in Malta and was able to take Active back to England in June 1812. He took command of the frigate HMS Seahorse in September 1812, escorting convoys for the West Indies and enforcing the blockade of France. In 1814 she transferred to the American station, where the War of 1812 was still under way. Gordon, with Charles Napier as his second in command, distinguished himself as commodore leading the successful raid on Alexandria on the Potomac in August 1814 and also taking part in the less successful attack on Fort McHenry and the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. He went on to provide logistic support during the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 29 June 1815.

    Gordon continued to hold seagoing commands after the cessation of hostilities, becoming commanding officer of the frigate HMS Madagascar on the Home Station in November 1815 and then of the frigate HMS Maeander in October 1816. He rejoined his old command, HMS Active, in 1819 and was again her commanding officer until 1821. After this he held no further seagoing command. He was appointed Superintendent of the Naval Hospital at Plymouth in 1828 and moved on to become Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard in July 1832.

    Senior command.

    Promoted to rear-admiral on 10 January 1837, Gordon became Lieutenant-Governor of the Greenwich Hospital at Greenwich in July 1840. Promoted to vice-admiral on 8 January 1848, he succeeded Sir Charles Adam as Governor of Greenwich Hospital in October 1853. He was promoted to full admiral on 21 January 1854] and, having been advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 5 July 1855, he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 30 January 1868.

    Death.

    Gordon died at Greenwich Hospital on 8 January 1869 and was buried in the hospital grounds. The grave lies within an enclosed area of surviving graves within the generally cleared graveyard, now forming a pocket park immediately west of the entrance to National Maritime Museum.

    An obituary in Macmillan’s Magazine hailed him as "The Last of Nelson’s Captains" and a biography by Brian Perrett argued that his career was the principal model for that of C. S. Forester’s hero Horatio Hornblower.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain William Hoste.

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    Hoste was educated for a time at King's Lynn and later at the Paston School in North Walsham, where Horatio Nelson himself had been to school some years previously. Dixon Hoste had arranged for Hoste's name to be entered in the books of HMS Europa as a Captain's servant when he was just 5 years old, although he would not actually go to sea until he reached the age of 12 or 13.
    That time coincided with the outbreak of war with France in February 1793. Lacking any influence or naval contacts himself, Dixon Hoste asked his landlord, Thomas Coke, for assistance and was introduced to Nelson, then living nearby in Burnham Thorpe and who had recently been appointed as Captain of HMS Agamemnon a 64-gun third-rate, which was being fitted out at Chatham Dockyard.

    Early career.

    HMS Agamemnon.
    Nelson accepted Hoste to join him as a captain's servant on HMS Agamemnon, which he boarded at Portsmouth at the end of April 1793. The ship joined the Mediterranean Fleet under Lord Hood, and it was in the Mediterranean and Adriatic that Hoste saw most of his naval service. Extracts from Nelson's letters to his wife mention Hoste frequently; for example: ‘without exception one of the finest boys I ever met with’ and ‘his gallantry never can be exceeded, and each day rivets him stronger to my heart’. Another captain's servant on Agamemnon was Josiah Nisbet, Nelson's stepson, but the letters suggest that Hoste quickly became a favourite and that Josiah compared badly with him in many respects. Hoste was promoted to midshipman by Nelson on 1 February 1794 and served with him during the blockade of and subsequent assault on Corsica on 7 February.
    HMS Captain and the battle of Cape St Vincent.

    Hoste moved with Nelson to HMS Captain in 1796 and was with him at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, When a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a Spanish fleet almost twice its size. Captain was heavily involved in the fighting and captured the larger San Josef and San Nicolas of 112 and 80 guns, respectively.
    Captain started the battle towards the rear of the British line.[3] Instead of continuing to follow the line, Nelson disobeyed orders and wore ship, and made for the Spanish van, which consisted of the 112-gun San Josef, the 80-gun San Nicolas and the 130-gun Santísima Trinidad. Captain engaged all three, assisted by HMS Culloden which had come to her aid. After an hour of exchanging broadsides which left both Captain and Culloden heavily damaged, Nelson found himself alongside the San Nicolas which he boarded and forced her surrender.
    San Josef attempted to come to the San Nicolas’s aid, but became entangled with her compatriot and was left immobile. Nelson led his party from the deck of the San Nicolas onto the San Josef and captured her as well.

    HMS Theseus.

    In June 1797, he transferred to HMS Theseus a 74-gun third-rate. Theseus was a 'troubled' ship, and Nelson and a few handpicked officers, including Hoste, Captain Ralph Willett Miller and Lieutenant John Weatherhead, were sent aboard to restore order. The tactic was successful and Nelson received a letter from the would-be mutineers which stated, "We thank the Admiral (Nelson) for the Officers he has placed over us".
    In July, Theseus was present at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, although Hoste remained aboard and took no part in the assault. Following the death of a Lieutenant Weatherhead in the battle, Nelson promoted Hoste to lieutenant to fill the vacancy, his position being confirmed, thanks to his 'book time' in Europa, in February 1798.

    The battle of the Nile.

    Later that year, Hoste, still aboard HMS Theseus, was at the Battle of the Nile. The Royal Navy fleet was outnumbered, at least in firepower, by the French fleet, which boasted the 118-gun ship-of-the-line L'Orient, three 80-gun warships and nine of the popular 74-gun ships. The Royal Navy fleet in comparison had just thirteen 74-gun ships and one 50-gun fourth-rate. Nevertheless, the battle was a decisive victory for the British.
    Following the battle, Nelson sent his report to London, taking the precaution of sending a duplicate in the brig HMS Mutine, commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Capel. At Naples, Capel was to carry on with the dispatch, handing command of Mutine to Hoste. Upon taking command, Hoste became an acting-captain at the age of 18. Hoste, carrying news of the victory, first sailed to Gibraltar, before rejoining the fleet, under St Vincent, off Cadiz. His promotion was confirmed in December 1798.

    Command.

    Hoste continued in command of the Mutine for the next three years, campaigning in Italy under Nelson, where in the autumn of 1799, he took part in the capture of Rome. He later served under Lord Keith, who knew little of him and his career appeared to have stalled until, possibly at Nelson's prompting, he was promoted post-captain by Lord St Vincent, First Lord of the Admiralty, in January 1802. At this time, Hoste was in Alexandria, where he contracted malaria and then a lung infection, which were to have a lasting effect on his health. He convalesced with Lord and Lady Elgin in Athens, where he began an education in classical antiquity, completed following his appointment to the frigate HMS Greyhound in Florence, when his ship was cruising on the Italian coast.
    Hoste served almost continuously throughout the Peace of Amiens, returning to England briefly in April 1803 before being given command of HMS Eurydice in October.

    Notable actions.

    Nelson summoned him to Cadiz in September 1805 and gave him command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Amphion. Sent on a diplomatic mission to Algiers, he missed the Battle of Trafalgar by a matter of days, and only learned of Nelson's death on his return in November. He wrote to his father - 'Not to have been in it is enough to make one mad, but to have lost such a friend besides is really sufficient to almost overwhelm me.’
    A number of successes while engaged on active service in the Mediterranean over the following 18 months brought Hoste to the attention of Lord Collingwood, who sent him into the Adriatic Sea. Here he single-handedly conducted an aggressive campaign against enemy shipping and coastal installations, bringing coastal trade with the enemy more or less to a halt. By the end of 1809, Hoste and his crew had captured or sunk over 200 enemy ships. His endeavours were rewarded with command, as commodore, of a small detachment of frigates, comprising HMS Amphion, HMS Active (36 guns), HMS Volage (22 guns) and HMS Cerberus (32 guns), operations continued and by establishing a base at Lissa, now known as Vis, Hoste was able to dominate the Adriatic with just four ships. In March and April 1810 alone, they took or destroyed 46 vessels. The French and their allies became so frustrated by the disruption to their shipping that a Franco-Venetian squadron, under the command of an aggressive frigate commander named Bernard Dubourdieu, was dispatched and on 13 March 1811 they attacked Hoste's small force in what became known as the Battle of Lissa.

    Battle of Lissa.

    Dubourdieu's squadron of seven frigates and four smaller warships possessing a total of 276 guns and nearly 2,000 men significantly outnumbered Hoste with his 4 frigates mounting only 124 guns and manned by less than 900 men. The French officer imitated Nelson's attack at Trafalgar by sailing down on the English line from windward with his ships in two lines. However, signalling 'Remember Nelson' to rally his men, Hoste used his superior seamanship and gunnery overcame the larger enemy force, with the loss of 50 men killed and 132 wounded. Dubourdieu was killed, one of the French frigates was driven on shore another captured, and two of the Venetian frigates were taken.
    Hoste's signal had a profound effect on his men. It was universally greeted with loud cheers and Captain Hornby of the Volage wrote of it later: "Never again so long as I live shall I see so interesting or so glorious moment".

    Cattaro, Spalato and Ragusa.

    Amphion was so badly damaged that she was obliged to return to England, where Hoste was given the command of HMS Bacchante (38 guns), although he did not return to the Adriatic in her until 1812. Hoste continued to demonstrate the same kind of initiative and aggression as before. He helped capture Spalato (Split) in November 1813 with the assistance from the 35th regiment of foot. Then working with Montenegran forces, he attacked the mountain fortress of Cattaro, hauling ships' cannon and mortars to positions above the fort using block and tackle. The French garrison had no alternative but to surrender, which it did on 5 January 1814. Hoste immediately repeated these tactics at Ragusa (now Dubrovnik), which also surrendered later on the 27th.

    Later life.

    Hoste's health, compromised by his malaria and earlier lung infection, worsened and he was forced to return to England. In 1814, he was made a baronet, and in 1815 he was knighted KCB. In 1817, he married Lady Harriet Walpole, with whom he had three sons and three daughters. In 1825, he was appointed to the royal yacht Royal Sovereign.
    In January 1828, he developed a cold which affected his already weakened lungs, and he died of tuberculosis in London on 6 December 1828. He was buried in St John's Chapel, London.

    Legacy.

    Hoste's actions at Cattaro and Ragusa were later immortalised in fiction, where they are attributed to Captain Jack Aubrey, the principal character in Patrick O'Brian's 20 novels of the Aubrey–Maturin series.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  5. #5
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    Captain Phipps Hornby.

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    Hornby was born in 1785, the son of Geoffrey Hornby, rector of Winwick, and his wife Lucy Stanley. Hornby's mother was a daughter of James Smith-Stanley, Lord Strange and sister to Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby. Hornby's sister Charlotte Margaret later married her cousin Edward Smith-Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby, and the close association between the Earls of Derby and the Hornby family would play a significant role in Phipps Hornby's career and politics. Hornby received education at Sunbury-on-Thames and joined the Navy as a midshipman in 1797 aged 12.

    In 1797, Britain was embroiled in the French Revolutionary Wars, and Hornby's ship HMS Latona became caught up in the Nore Mutiny just weeks after he joined her. Latona's captain, John Bligh, took Hornby with him when he moved ships, and Hornby saw service on HMS Romney, HMS Agincourt and HMS Theseus, mainly serving in the Americas.

    Napoleonic Wars.

    In 1804 following the Peace of Amiens, Hornby joined Horatio Nelson's flagship HMS Victory in the Mediterranean briefly before being posted to HMS Excellent with the admiral's recommendation. Excellent was detached from Nelson's fleet soon afterwards and in 1805 and 1806 participated in numerous operations on the Italian coast, particularly at Gaeta. Excellent was also present at the capture of Capri. Hornby was granted his first independent command in 1806, the small armed vessel HMS Duchess of Bedfordshire and in her fought off two large Spanish privateers. In 1807 he was promoted to commander and took over the sloop HMS Minorca in which he fought numerous engagements with Spanish gunboats off Cadiz.

    In 1809, Minorca operated briefly with the squadron in the Adriatic Sea and the following year Hornby was promoted to post captain, becoming temporary commander of HMS Fame before moving to the small sixth rate HMS Volage to serve in the Adriatic squadron under William Hoste. Hornby was wounded in March 1811 during the Battle of Lissa, at which his ship fought a much larger French vessel and despite losing all but one gun, remained in combat throughout. Recovering from his injuries, Hornby took command of HMS Stag off the Cape of Good Hope the next year and later moved to HMS Spartan in the Mediterranean. While commander of Spartan, Hornby participated in the capture of Elba from the French, for which he was invested with the Austrian order of St Joseph of Würzburg.

    Later service.

    In 1814, Hornby married Sophia Maria Burgoyne, daughter of General John Burgoyne. The couple had five daughters and three sons. The eldest son, John, died in service with the Royal Engineers in 1848 aged 27, while his younger sons Geoffrey Hornby and James John Hornby had lengthy and successful careers in the Royal Navy and education respectively. Hornby was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 4 June 1815 and the following year paid off Spartan and entered semi-retirement. During his retirement, Hornby dabbled in politics, a supporter of the Earls of Derby.

    In 1832, Hornby returned to service to promote his son's career through preferment, initially becoming superintendent of Plymouth Naval Hospital and in 1838 moving to become superintendent of the Woolwich Dockyard. In 1841 he became comptroller-general of the Coast Guard until 1846 when he was promoted to rear admiral. In order to further his son's career, Hornby then accepted the position of commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, raising his flag in HMS Asia in 1847. In 1852 Hornby returned to Europe to serve as a Second Naval Lord under the Duke of Northumberland and remained in post until his final retirement in 1853, shortly after the fall of Lord Derby's government.

    In retirement Hornby continued to receive honours, eventually being promoted full admiral in 1858 and becoming a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1861. He died a widower at his estate in the village of Little Green near Petersfield in Hampshire in March 1867.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  6. #6
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    Captain Henry Whitby.

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    Henry Whitby was a captain in the Royal Navy. He fought during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He joined the navy in 1794 as a Midshipman. He was in command of the HMS Leander (1780) and HMS Centaur (1797). He married the second daughter of John Nicholson Inglefield.
    Nationality British
    Roles Sailor
    First Known Service1794
    Last Known Service1812
    Date of Death1812

    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    1799/06/04 Lieutenant
    1801/09 1801/09/04 Proselyte (32), as Commanding Officer
    1802/04/28 Commander
    1802/04/28 1804/02/06 Pelican (18), as Commanding Officer
    1802/08 Aeolus (32), as Commanding Officer
    1803 1804 Santa Margarita (36), as Commanding Officer
    1804/02/06 Captain
    1804/02/06 1805 Desiree (36), as Commanding Officer
    1805 Centaur (74), as Commanding Officer
    1805/01 1806/05 Leander (52), as Commanding Officer
    1809/03 1811/06 Cerberus (32), as Commanding Officer
    1811/03/13 Battle of Lissa
    1812/04 1812/05 Briton (38), as Commanding Officer
    1812/07 1812/08 Belle Poule (38), as Commanding Officer
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  7. #7
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    Commodore Bernard Dubourdieu

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    Bernard Dubourdieu (28 April 1773 – 13 March 1811) was a French rear-admiral who led the allied French-Venetian forces at the Battle of Lissa in 1811, during which he was killed.

    A native of Bayonne, Dubourdieu started sailing on a merchantman at 16, before joining the Navy in 1792. He quickly rose to ensign aboard the Entreprenant. He transferred to the frigate Topaze the next year in Latouche-Tréville's squadron.

    Captured at Toulon by the British and transferred to Gibraltar, he escaped to Lorient. Promoted to enseigne de vaisseau, Dubourdieu sailed on the corvette Gaieté. Gaieté was captured and Dubourdieu was imprisoned again until 1799.

    Captured a third time in Alexandria in 1800, he was exchanged and promoted to lieutenant de vaisseau. In 1805, he was made a Frigate Captain. In 1807, he took command of the frigate Pénélope and captured 13 British merchantmen. In the Action of 27 February 1809, along with the frigate Pauline, he captured HMS Proserpine blockading Toulon.

    On 23 October 1810, he raided Lissa and captured 6 ships in the harbour. He was then tasked to capture the island and establish a base there. Promoted to contre-amiral, Dubourdieu set sail with 6 frigates. In the ensuing Battle of Lissa, the French were routed and Dubourdieu was killed.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Jean-Alexandre Péridier.



    Born: 12 September 1767.
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1783.
    Captain de fregate: 24 September 1803.
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804.
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 12 July 1808.
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 16 August 1811.
    Chevalier of the Couronne de Fer: 13 April 1811.
    Wounds received while in the service of France: 1798, 1811.
    Died: 13 December 1826.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  9. #9
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    All the information that I have on this officer is as follows.


    Captain Giuseppe Duodo







    After the action of Lissa.

    Aboard Bellona, Captain Duodo planned to ignite the powder magazine and destroy the ship following its surrender. Duodo had been mortally wounded in the action, and so ordered his second in command to light the fuse. The officer promised to do so, but instead handed control of the magazine to the British prize crew when they arrived. Duodo died still believing that the fuse had been lit.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  10. #10
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    Captain Eugene-Sebastien-Camille Villon.



    Born: 10 June 1773
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1785
    Captain de fregate: 12 July 1808
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd Class: 19 May 1811
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 1 April 1811
    Wounds received while in the service of France: None
    Died: 5 September 1812 (Killed in action)
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Captain Nicolò Pasqualigo.



    (27 July 1770 - 13 January 1821) Pasquaiigo was an Italian navy officer and a Venetian patrician who served in the navies of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire.

    A son of Venice.

    He started his service on board of the galleys of the Venetian Navy as nobile di nave (a rank roughly equal to Midshipman in the contemporary Royal Navy), when almost all the young men of his social class tried the best they could to avoid the perils of the military career, both on land or at the sea. Shortly after, he asked and obtained to be transferred on board of the Armada Grossa, the sailing warships' Division of Venice, and distinguished himself under the command of Angelo Emo in 1788, during the victorious campaign against the Bey of Tunis.
    Subsequently, he was awarded with the rank of sopra-comito (commander of a galley) in Dalmatia. In this position he was surprised by the surrender of Venice in 1797.

    The Italian Kingdom.

    In 1810 he distinguished himself in the first Franco-Italian attempt to conquer the island of Lissa. In the following year he was the commander, with the rank of Corvette Captain, of the Italian frigate Corona, a fifth rate ship of 40 guns. During the battle he engaged the HMS Cerberus in a short-range duel, inflicting heavy damage to the enemy but receiving equal; the wreck of the French frigate Favorite with the death of Commodore Dubourdieu and the arrival of the HMS Active forced him to follow in the retreat to the east the frigates Danaé and Carolina. The Active, the only British ship still in fighting condition, quickly reached the Corona at 12.30 in the small channel between Lissa and the little island of Spalmadon. At 14.30, after a 45 minutes fight resulting in a fire that broke up aboard of his ship, he was forced to struck his colour in surrender.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  12. #12
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    Hello

    I have just bought enough ships to re-fight Lissa. Has anybody already done this and if so have you any advice? For a game with 10 frigates do I need an additional counter set?

    Thanks

    Garry

  13. #13
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    Hi Garry.

    Great to hear from you again after all this time.For Lissa you can't go better than Chris "Captain Duff" who did Lissa at Doncaster a couple of years ago in 2017.
    For my synopsis of the actual battle you can go here.

    https://sailsofglory.org/showthread....ight=doncaster

    I will have a look to see if I have any photos.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  14. #14
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    Sorry Gary.
    Had a scout around and it looks as if I took no pictures of Lissa.It will be all down to Chris.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Sorry Gary.
    Had a scout around and it looks as if I took no pictures of Lissa.It will be all down to Chris.
    Rob.
    Thanks Rob,

    I have been hosting the odd game of SoG at my local club, but have decided to expand to do this action. Not sure how I am going to re-balance the forces. Do you think I will get away with playing with 10 frigates with only 1 counter set - the Ares website suggests that 1 set will do 10 to 12 ships? Do you guys play the advanced rules with 10 ships on the table?

    Garry

  16. #16
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    Hi Garry.

    When playing the larger engagements we usually tailor the rules for quicker action. Pick and mix from the rules. You don't have to play every rule. use the ones that suit you best. I for instance allow ships with over half the crew left to play crew actions automatically without having to manipulate loads of chits. We also use the simplified ship
    mats you can find in the Files here. Sealed in plastic thet can be marked with a board marker pen to indicate damage etc. This takes up less room on the tables and allows you to return all damage chits to the bags after recording your damage so you never run out and have an even chance for each players draw throughout the battle.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  17. #17
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    Been off for a while due to circumstances and just seen this.
    I have the Ship logs, base inserts and ship cards for Lissa if you want them, send me a pm with your email and .i can send you the files in a word doc ready to print out.
    For fighting this battle you need a special rule for the British mounting a howitzer on HMS Amphion, plus in game terms the British frigates are at a disadvantage having only a burden of 2. So either increase the burden by one or use the optional rules for untrained gunners and untrained crew for the Franco /Venetian fleet.
    If I can help in any way dont hesitate to ask

  18. #18
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    Thanks Chris.
    I knew you would come to the rescue. Is the Frigate you borrowed any good for your designs on doing the Indefatigable?
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  19. #19
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    Garry:

    I have run the Battle of Lissa at both the club and show level. I have used SoG and another rules set using the SoG ships. TBF I borrowed laminated ship logs to use from another member who also posted an AAR in that forum section. I generally try to get one player per ship and use most rules but not the crew actions. You must use carronade rules as the British 6th rates main battery is 32 lb carronades. reviewing my materials I did give the Franco-Venetian fleet the poor gunners rule. Also the French flagship had a battalion of Italian infantry onboard so I gave an extra musketry damage chit and increased her burden for boarding actions. With the models that are out now you can use the approximately correct ship sizes (I used the Swan model for the 6th rate). Here is the link to my AAR:


    https://sailsofglory.org/showthread....a-at-Cold-Wars

  20. #20
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    Thanks very much for this - very useful

    Garry

  21. #21
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    Gary mailed you the cards, hope ok for you, if not let me know

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capn Duff View Post
    Gary mailed you the cards, hope ok for you, if not let me know
    Chris - thanks -its great work. Thanks for being so generous with it.

    All the best

    Garry

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