the revived interest in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic
Wars - courtesy of the Horatio Hornblower
TV series and the movie Master
and Commander - fans of naval fiction and other things
nautical may want to cast an eye over the documentary Sea Warriors.
60-minute film explores the age of fighting sail through the eyes
and words of naval historians and several world-renown authors.
They include Douglas "Alexander Kent" Reeman, creator
of the Bolitho novels and Julian Stockwin (Thomas Kydd).
is presented by Captain Richard Woodman, who writes the Nathaniel
Drinkwater series, and is an excellent introduction to the fighting
force that ended Napoleon Bonaparte's hopes of dominating the world.
key parts to Sea Warriors include how the British navy was
organised, its tactics and what life was like for the various levels
of seafarers - from independent captains down to the unfortunate
victims of press gangs.
experts also take a bit of time in shooting down the generally accepted
view - passed on to us by those severely repessed Victorians - that
life in the navy was harsh, brutal and beset by "rum, sodomy
and the lash."
to Woodman et al, life was difficult in the navy, but the
tars ate well, had plenty to drink, and went about their work professionally
and with a good spirit. Mind you, almost to a man they did agree
that once the ships hit port then morals did tend to fly out the
window as the sailors "let off steam".
mine the first thing that grabbed my attention was the wonderful
Admiralty building where an ornate weather marker within the meeting
room kept the admirals aware of the wind direction at all times
and a signal tower system that could relay a message to the main
naval bases around England within 20 minutes and from there via
fast frigate around the world.
second was the information on the building of ships. A ship of the
line, or battleship, took up to 2000 oak trees to build. Those trees
were between 200-300 years old, and you see an example of how a
fork in a branch was fashioned into a deck support.
course there is a huge amount of other information and it is all
nicely presented and packaged.
were a couple of quality blips in the video I looked at with a repeat
of one expert's comments and then a bit of distortion, however,
overall the standard is good with interesting location shots and
good re-enactment footage. I look forward to seeing Sea Warriors
in digital format on DVD.
Warriors' producer and director Chip Richie and his crew has
done well with this effort and it is highly recommended for nautical