Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Re^2: ‘What was the name of Sir Francis Drake's flagship in the battle against the Spanish Armada in 1588?’ . .


On Thu Sep 21, wombat wrote
>I have recently come across the French naval captain, Du Petit-Thouars. I met him in the memoir of a French exile in the United States*. She described him as "exceptionally witty and gay", especially at the expense of the snootier émigrés who showed contempt for the Americans but were unable to support themselves by farming and were reduced to eating robins and boiled tadpoles. But I digress. Here is Wikipedia on Du Petit-Thouars:

>... commander of the Tonnant at the Battle of the Nile, where he died on August 2, 1798. During the battle, he forced HMS Majestic to break off combat, with 50 killed, including Captain Westcott, and 143 wounded. After having lost both legs and an arm, he continued to command from a bucket filled with wheat, until he died.

>His last order was allegedly to nail the flag of the Tonnant to her mizzen-mast and never to surrender the ship. The Tonnant was eventually captured by the British.

>* the fascinating recollections of Mme De La Tour du Pin "one of the great monuments of French history" (New Yorker).

Du Petit-Thouars always reminds me of the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail":

I am sure that this is maligning a very brave man, but nonetheless I can't help making the connection.

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