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Author looks at maratime heroes

PUBLISHED: 14:11 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:48 07 July 2010

A bird's eye view of historic Cromer with its proud maritime connections was a perfect place to launch a new book about the legends of Norfolk's coastal waters.

A bird's eye view of historic Cromer with its proud maritime connections was a perfect place to launch a new book about the legends of Norfolk's coastal waters.

Author Mark Nicholls from Toftwood, a journalist with the Times sister paper the EDP and its associated magazines, was on hand at the town's Rocket House Café to meet and greet visitors and sign copies of his new book.

Norfolk Maritime Heroes and Legends charts across 26 chapters the stories of 25 individuals and also a group of men who served with Nelson at Trafalgar.

The book was inspired by Mr Nicholls' reporting of the Trafalgar centenary in 2005, but one of its key aims is to demonstrate that there are many more Norfolk maritime heroes apart from Nelson.

“Maritime discussions in Norfolk do not often get beyond the hero of Trafalgar, such is his dominance,” said Mr Nicholls.

“Yet there are many courageous, selfless, skilled and innovative figures from the county who fought, sailed and served their country on the oceans of the world.”

In the book's foreword, Andrew Lambert, a professor of naval history at King's College, London, wrote: “Mark Nicholls has brought these brave men back to life, reconnecting the 21st century with a heroic past.”

The three fighting admirals of north Norfolk - Myngs, Narborough and Shovell - are among the seafarers featured in the new book of the county's maritime heroes and legends.

From a time parallel with Nelson, he recounts the adventures of explorers such as Vancouver of King's Lynn and less familiar figures such as James Burney who was with Captain Cook in Hawaii and Samuel Cresswell who battled his way through the north west passage.

From more recent times he recalls legends such as coxswain Henry Blogg of Cromer, coxswain William Fleming of Gorleston and Tom Crisp V.C. of Lowestoft.

With a front cover of the Cotman painting HMS Mars off Cromer and the inclusion of the splendid portrait of Christopher Myngs from the set called The Flagmen of Lowestoft, it's richly illustrated with sailors, their ships, maps and the locations in Norfolk where their memorials can be found.

Norfolk Maritime Heroes and Legends is published by Cromer-based Poppyland Publishing, and sells for £13.95.

More details on the Poppyland website www.poppyland.co.uk.

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