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January 14, 2005

Thomas, Lord Cochrane.

News today that the Catalan town of Roses is to honour Thomas, Lord Cochrane. Who I hear you ask?  While Nelson gets the glamour vote Cochrane was arguably the greater hero (except that he did not die gloriously at sea) and was the inspiration for both Hornblower and Aubrey in the O’Brien novels. Yes, that Russell Crowe character in Master and Commander.

Several of the key episodes  in the series of novels are taken directly from Cochrane’s life, the original capture of the Spanish frigate, the later Stock Exchange scandal. A brief of his life is here.
If you enjoyed either set of novels (Hornblower or Aubrey) or the other series set in the same timespan (Richard Bolitho is the main character), the Sharpe novels (which are quite obviously a land based version of the same) or the movie, Master and Commander, then I strongly recommend that you go here, to the Gutenberg Project. There you can download one of the most gung-ho, enjoyable autobiographies, that of Thomas Cochrane. I’ll admit it’s a few years since I read it but I think that at one point he served before the mast (ie as a seaman, not an officer), was flogged for some offense, and in the end, after commanding the Chilean, Brazilian and Greek navies, was Admiral of the Fleet. Quite a life and worth the reading.

Oh, and he was a redhead, which makes it all the better.

January 14, 2005 in History | Permalink


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I like this. Tim Worstall brings news of a ceremony in the Catalan town of Roses honoring Thomas, Lord Cochrane, the real-life inspiration for both Horatio Hornblower and Lucky Jack Aubrey. I happen to have a copy of Cochrane's autobiography... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 14, 2005 5:21:18 PM


Cochrane actually turns up in person in one of the Sharpe Novels (Sharpe's Devil). He is instrumental in kicking the Spanish out of Chile by his capture of the port of Valdivia.

Posted by: David Gillies | Jan 14, 2005 11:16:11 PM

So he does, yes, I’d forgotten that.

Posted by: Tim Worstall | Jan 15, 2005 1:15:15 PM