Since Tudor times the ships of the Royal Navy have dropped anchor in Dorset’s waters. The English fleet first attacked the Spanish Armada off Portland. The county’s ports and harbours provided seamen for Nelson’s navy, including 4 captains who saw action at Trafalgar. As sail gave way to steam and the first ironclads, Portland’s harbour was transformed into one of Britain’s mightiest naval bases. It was here that the torpedo was developed, early submarines made their maiden dives, an aeroplane first took off from a moving ship. The ill-fated Royal Naval Division was based at Blandford, high explosives were made in the Royal Naval Cordite Factory near Poole, much of the D-Day fleet set sail from Dorset. The battleships have now departed, Portland is no longer a training and helicopter base, but Poole still remains a home of the Royal Marines and Special Boat Squadron.
Paperback, with nearly 100 black and white illustrations