Filled with the promise of adventure and glory, the Royal Navy of the Napoleonic era enticed hundreds of young men to enlist as officers in its bitter struggle against the French fleet. With some as young as nine, these boys were confronted with the harsh realities of warfare at sea: cramped conditions, ruthless storms and fierce combat. In spite of their youth, these sailors showed enormous courage and valour in the face of battle, their bravery immortalised in the literary works of Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester and Alexander Kent. Drawing from letters, poems and personal accounts, this book uncovers the remarkable story of those boys who fought aboard His Majesty's mighty ships-of-the-line to defend their kingdom against the French.
Read an extract of Nelson’s Officers and Midshipmen