Biography and bibliography: Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope (29 December 1925 – 25 April 1997)
The Black Ship, Introduction by Christopher McKee.
Dudley Pope, circa 1967.
Dudley Pope was born 29 December 1925 in Ashford, Kent. He joined the Merchant Navy as a midshipman in 1941 at age 16. His ship, the Silverwillow, sailing in Convoy SL 125, was torpedoed in 1942, and he suffered spinal injuries that affected him until his death in Marigot, French West Indies, 25 April 1997.
After being invalided out of the Merchant Navy, Pope started a career in journalism, very briefly with a Kent newspaper, then joining the London Evening News first as Naval Correspondent, then as a sub-editor, and later as deputy Foreign Editor.
His first book, Flag 4: the battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean, was published in London by William Kimber in 1954, followed by two further WWII naval histories (River Plate and 73 North), after which he turned to the Nelsonian period; he resigned from the Evening News after the first of these, England Expects (Decision at Trafalgar in the US), was published in 1959.
From 1953 onwards, Pope, and his wife Kay, lived on their yachts – Concerto, a Fife 8-metre, then Tokay, Golden Dragon, and finally Ramage in 1968. Geographically, they moved from the UK to Italy, the Virgin Islands, Barbados and, with Ramage, to Marigot.
While Pope will surely be remembered for his eighteen title Ramage series, which he used to introduce the public to the Nelsonian navy – with the encouragement of his friend C.S. Forester, the creator of Homblower – his legacy includes a considerable amount of genuine historical research leading to several books that broke new grounds in archival detail; perhaps The Great Gamble (Nelson at Copenhagen) and The Black Ship (the HMS Hermione mutiny) stand out for their originality. For a detailed account of Dudley Pope and his book The Black Ship, we recommend Dr Christopher McKee's (Emeritus, Grinnell College) introduction to the 1998 edition, published by Henry Holt in the ‘Heart of Oak Sea Classics’ series, reproduced here with the author's permission.
For those interested in a more personal perspective, Pope's widow, Kay, has written a three-part article "A voyage to Barbados with baby on board" narrating Golden Dragon's 1965 passage from Ramsgate to Bridgetown published by Sea Breezes in issues dated October, November and December 2014.
|Non fiction – Title:||Published:||Notes:|
|Flag 4: The Battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean||1954|
|The Battle of the River Plate||1956||["Graf Spee" in the US.]|
|73 North: The Battle of the Barents Sea 1942||1958|
|Decision at Trafalgar||1959|
|The Black Ship||1963||HMS Hermione|
|Harry Morgan's Way: Biography of Sir Henry Morgan 1635-1688||1977||First edition|
|The Buccaneer King : the biography of the notorious Sir Henry Morgan 1635-1688||1977||as above, 1st US ed.|
|The Great Gamble: Nelson at Copenhagen||1978|
|Life in Nelson's Navy||1981|
|The Devil Himself: The Mutiny of 1800||1988||HMS Danae|
|At 12 Mr Byng Was Shot||1962|
|Guns: from the invention of gunpowder to the twentieth century||1965|
|Ned Yorke (17th century) series: – Title:||Published:||Notes:|
|Nicholas Ramage (late 18th, early 19th century) series: – Title:||Published:||Notes:|
|Ramage||1965||set in 1796|
|Ramage and the Drumbeat||1967||["Drumbeat" in US], set in 1797|
|Ramage and the Freebooters||1969||[UK, 1st ed.], set in 1797|
|The Triton Brig||1969||[US title], set in 1797|
|Governor Ramage R.N.||1973||set in 1797|
|Ramage's Prize||1974||set in 1798|
|Ramage and the Guillotine||1975||set in 1798|
|Ramage's Diamond||1976||set in 1799|
|Ramage's Mutiny||1977||set in 1799|
|Ramage and the Rebels||1978||set in 1800|
|The Ramage Touch||1979||set in 1800|
|Ramage's Signal||1980||set in 1800|
|Ramage and the Renegades||1981||set in 1802|
|Ramage's Devil||1982||set in 1803|
|Ramage's Trial||1984||set in 1803|
|Ramage's Challenge||1985||set in 1803|
|Ramage at Trafalgar||1986||set in 1805|
|Ramage and the Saracens||1988||set in 1806|
|Ramage and the Dido||1989||set in 1806|
|Ned Yorke's descendants in World War Two: – Title:||Published:||Notes:|
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