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Clouds over Cloudesley (Shovell's Memorial)

After yesterday's nautical look on the quest for longitude, here is the memorial of the man whose death triggered this. In late 1707, Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy, led a fleet back to England. Because of a navigational error they missed the entrance to the English Channel and instead hit the Isles of Scilly - seven ship sank, over 1.500 people died, including the admiral. This disaster triggered Parliament setting a price for the person solving the riddle to finding longitude at sea, which led to some of the amazing timekeepers at Greenwich (see yesterday's photo). I am a big fan of Sir Cloudesley whom I researched for my thesis - he has the most fantastic name and by all accounts he was also a good leader who looked after his man. "Lov'd by the Tars, by the Officers ador'd, / A Mars ashore, A Neptune when abroad!" When I visited the Isles of Scilly last year I had to find Sir Cloudesley's memorial; his remains are at Westminster Abbey though. "He was one of the greatest Sea-Commanders of our Age, or indeed that ever this Island produced; of undaunted Courage and Resolution, wonderful Presence of Mind in the hottest Engagement, and of consumate Skill and Experience: But more than all this he was a just, generous, honest and good Man. He made his own Fortune by his Personal Merit alone; and from the lowest raised himself to almost the highest Station in the Navy." (The Life and Glorious Actions of Sir Cloudesly Shovel, Kt. Admiral of the Confederate Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, who was unfortunately Drown'd upon the 22d of October, 1707. through his Ship the Association, splirting on the Rocks near Scilly, in her Passage from the Streights for England. London 1707, p. 2.)

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Taken on October 17, 2011