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Beamont, Roland Prosper (1920–2001), air force officer and aviator, was born on 10 August 1920 at 8 Private Road, Enfield, Middlesex, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Clement Beamont, a trade officer with the Foreign Office, and his wife, Dorothy Mary, née Haynes. Educated at ...

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Bird, Sir James (1883–1946), naval architect and aircraft manufacturer, was born in Hackney, London, on 19 March 1883, the second son of Samuel Bird, merchant, of Calcutta and East Cowes, Isle of Wight. No birth certificate has been found, and there is uncertainty about the identity of his mother, as his father’s first wife, ...

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Boothman, Sir John Nelson (1901–1957), air force officer and aviator, was born at Napier Road, Wembley, Middlesex, on 19 February 1901, the son of Thomas John Boothman, a railway clerk, and his wife, Mary, née Burgess. Educated at Harrow county school he was, in January 1918, too young to enlist in the British forces, so he joined the French ...

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Clifford, George, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605), courtier and privateer, was born on 8 August 1558 in Brougham Castle, Westmorland, the eldest son of Henry Clifford, second earl of Cumberland (1517–1570), and his second wife, Anne (c.1538–1581), daughter of William, third Baron Dacre...

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Duke, Neville Frederick (1922–2007), air force officer and aviator, was born on 11 January 1922 at 82 Hadlow Road, Tonbridge, Kent, the son of Frederick Herbert Duke (1881–1957), managing clerk for a corn merchant, and his wife, Jane, née Tarbit (1888–1971). Educated at ...

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Frobisher, Sir Martin (1535?–1594), privateer, explorer, and naval commander, was descended from John Frobisher (b. c.1260), a Scot settled in lands near Chirk in Denbighshire granted in recognition of his services to Edward I during the Welsh wars. In the mid-fourteenth century the family crossed the ...

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Garrett, George William Littler (1852–1902), clergyman and submarine designer, was born on 4 July 1852 at 45 Waterloo Road, Lambeth, London, the third son of John Garrett (d. 1893), an Irish curate, and his wife, Georgina. The Garretts moved to Manchester in the early 1860s, and ...

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J. K. Laughton

revised by Roger Morriss

Goodall, Thomas (1767–1832?), naval officer and privateer, was born at Bristol, educated by a Revd Mr Thomas, and was intended by his father to be a lawyer; but at thirteen he ran away from school, and shipped on board a privateer bound for the ...

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Hasler, Herbert George (1914–1987), inventor of sailing equipment and Royal Marines officer, was born in Dublin on 27 February 1914, the younger child and younger son of Lieutenant Arthur Thomas Hasler, quartermaster, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, and his wife, Annie Georgina Andrews...

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Morgan, Sir Henry (c. 1635–1688), privateer and colonial governor, was the eldest son of Robert Morgan of Llanrhymny, Glamorgan.

Nothing certain is known about Morgan's education, although he later claimed that it was limited, and that having left school young, he was '...

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Nicol, John (1755–1825), sailor, was born at Currie, near Edinburgh, the third of five children. His father was a cooper who died about 1780, and his mother died in childbirth when he was very young. Both his parents were Scottish. His father appears to have tried to give all his children a good education but ...

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Pett, Phineas (1570–1647), shipbuilder and naval administrator, was born at Deptford on 1 November 1570, the eldest son of Peter Pett (d. 1589), master shipwright, of Deptford and his second wife, Elizabeth Thornton (d. 1597). He attended school at Rochester and Greenwich...

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Rogers, Woodes (c. 1679–1732), privateer and colonial governor, was born in Bristol, the son of Woodes Rogers (bap. 1650, d. 1706), probably a sea captain, and his wife, Frances (probably née Eyre). His great-grandfather, John Rogers of Poole, had married Ann Woods...

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Russell, George Neville [Charles] (1899–1971), army officer and director of nationalized road transport, was born at 57 Tufnell Park Road, Islington, London, on 19 October 1899, the eldest of the three illegitimate sons of Emily Mary Russell (1870–1959) and Sir Edward George Jenkinson (1835–1919)...

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Thornycroft, Blanche Coules (1873–1950), naval architect, was born at 1 St Peter’s Terrace, Hammersmith, London, on 21 December 1873, the third of seven children (five daughters and two sons) of John Isaac Thornycroft (1843–1928), shipbuilder, who was knighted in 1902, and his wife ...

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Twiss, (Lionel) Peter (1921–2011), naval officer and test pilot, was born at Fardels, Lindfield, Sussex, on 23 July 1921, the son of Captain (later Colonel) Dudley Cyril Twiss (1890–1962), of the first battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, and his wife, Laura Georgina, née Chapman...