After a somewhat uneven time at the Mill at Gordleton, we drove across to Buckler’s Hard for several days, staying at the Master Builder’s Hotel. The extraordinary history of the Hard left me slightly dizzy.
The fact that among many other ships built on the slipways here were HMS Euryalus, HMS Switftsure and HMS Agamemnon, all of which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is remarkable.
As often seems to be the way of such things, the master builder, Henry Adams, died shortly before news of Admiral Nelson’s victory came in. Intriguingly, the foreshore is now to be the subject of an archaeological dig. Would love to have watched, even mucked in.
Enjoyed the Museum. Moved again by the story of the SS Persia, sunk without warning by the U-38 in 1915, which I had read about years ago. Particularly captivated, again, by the story of Eleanor Thornton. She was thought to have been the model for the Rolls-Royce emblem, the Spirit of Ecstasy.
But another object that will live on in my memory is the replica of a Puckle Gun. This primitive machine gun came in two editions. The first firing round bullets, designed to kill Christians, the other firing square bullets, designed to kill Muslims. The patent claimed that the effect would be to “convince the Turks of the benefits of Christian civilization”.
Good luck there.
In the context of the Chilcot Inquiry report into the Bush/Blair adventure in Iraq, published while we were staying at Buckler’s Hard, this extraordinary weapon – never used in anger, apparently – had particular resonance.