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Bentinck, John Albert (1737–1775), naval officer and inventor of mechanical devices, was born on 29 December 1737, the second son of William, Count Bentinck (1704–1774) and Countess Charlotte Sophie of Aldenburg (1715–1800), and grandson of Hans Willem Bentinck, first earl of Portland. His parents separated when he was about a year old and he never knew his mother. He went to sea at the age of fourteen in the ...

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John Albert Bentinck (1737–1775) by Mason Chamberlin, 1775 [left, with his son William Bentinck] © National Maritime Museum, London

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Cowper Phipps Coles (1819–1870) by J. Harris © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Coles, Cowper Phipps (1819–1870), naval officer and inventor of a gun turret, was born on 9 July 1819, the third son of the Revd John Coles (1787–1865) of Ditcham Park, Hampshire, rector of Silchester, and his first wife, Marianne Goodhead, née Rogers (...

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Herbert George Hasler (1914–1987) by Eileen Ramsay, c.1960 © Eileen Ramsay / PPL

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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...