Bound for the East Indies: Halsewell – A Shipwreck that Gripped the Nation

Author(s): Andrew Norman 

ISBN: 9781781557532
£11.20 £16.00
The loss of East Indiaman HCS Halsewell in January 1786 touched the very heart of the British nation.
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  • A vivid account of the loss East Indiaman HCS Halsewell in January 1786

  • The heroic deeds of her crew and of local quarrymen in mounting a rescue

  • How writer Charles Dickins and painter J. M. W. Turner were moved to record the event

  • How the King and Queen no less visited the site of the shipwreck

The loss of East Indiaman HCS Halsewell on the coast of Dorset in southern England in January 1786 touched the very heart of the British nation.

Halsewell was just one of many hundreds of vessels, which had been in the service of the Honourable East India Company since its foundation in 1600. In the normal course of events, Halsewell would have been expected to serve out her working life before passing unnoticed into the history books; however, this was not to be.

Halsewell’s loss was an event of such pathos as to inspire the greatest writer of the age, Charles Dickens, to put pen to paper; the greatest painter of the age, J. M. W. Turner, to apply brush to canvas; and the King and Queen to pay homage at the very place where the catastrophe occurred.

Artefacts from the wreck continue to be recovered to this very day, which – and for variety, interest, curiosity and exoticism – rival those recovered from Spanish armada galleons wrecked off the west coast of Ireland two centuries previously. Such artefacts shed further light both on Halsewell herself, and on the extraordinary lives of those who sailed in her.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557532
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 160 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 10 September 2020
ILLUSTRATIONS 54 black-and-white and 47 colour photographs



Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1943. Having been educated at Thornhill High School, Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, he qualified in medicine at the Radcliffe Infirmary. From 1972–83, Norman worked as a general practitioner in Poole, Dorset, before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer whose published works include biographies of Thomas Hardy, T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, and Adolf Hitler.