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Biography and bibliography: Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope (29 December 1925 – 25 April 1997)

Catalogue holdings.
The Black Ship, Introduction by Christopher McKee.

Dudley Pope

Dudley Pope, circa 1967.

Brief Biography:

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 fictionTitle:Published:Notes:
Flag 4: The Battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean1954
The Battle of the River Plate1956["Graf Spee" in the US.]
73 North: The Battle of the Barents Sea 19421958
Decision at Trafalgar1959
England Expects1959
The Black Ship1963HMS Hermione
Harry Morgan's Way: Biography of Sir Henry Morgan 1635-16881977First edition
The Buccaneer King : the biography of the notorious Sir Henry Morgan 1635-16881977as above, 1st US ed.
The Great Gamble: Nelson at Copenhagen1978
Life in Nelson's Navy1981
The Devil Himself: The Mutiny of 18001988HMS Danae
At 12 Mr Byng Was Shot1962
Guns: from the invention of gunpowder to the twentieth century1965
Ned Yorke (17th century) series:Title:Published:Notes:
Nicholas Ramage (late 18th, early 19th century) series:Title:Published:Notes:
Ramage1965set in 1796
Ramage and the Drumbeat1967["Drumbeat" in US], set in 1797
Ramage and the Freebooters1969[UK, 1st ed.], set in 1797
The Triton Brig1969[US title], set in 1797
Governor Ramage R.N.1973set in 1797
Ramage's Prize1974set in 1798
Ramage and the Guillotine1975set in 1798
Ramage's Diamond1976set in 1799
Ramage's Mutiny1977set in 1799
Ramage and the Rebels1978set in 1800
The Ramage Touch1979set in 1800
Ramage's Signal1980set in 1800
Ramage and the Renegades1981set in 1802
Ramage's Devil1982set in 1803
Ramage's Trial1984set in 1803
Ramage's Challenge1985set in 1803
Ramage at Trafalgar1986set in 1805
Ramage and the Saracens1988set in 1806
Ramage and the Dido1989set in 1806
Ned Yorke's descendants in World War Two:Title:Published:Notes:
Decoy1983Enigma coding

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