Close to the Wind
Close to the Wind


Close to the Wind

The early memoirs (1866-1879) of Admiral Sir William Creswell K.C.M.G., K.B.E.

edited by

Paul Thompson


First published in 1965 by William Heinemann Limited, London, Melbourne, Toronto, Cape Town Auckland



A black cloth covered book with gilt lettering to the spine in an unclipped dust wrapper. Some scuffing to dust wrapper and a repaired blind tear white part of wrapper spine sunned. A very small hole towards the bottom of the front board spine seam stops it being near fine.

210 pages 145 mm. x 205 mm. x 22 mm.


In 1866 when the author joined the Royal Navy at l3„ sail was still preferred to steam. These lively memoirs of his first twelve years at sea by the man who was later the founder of the Royal Australian Navy reveal how close a midshipman's life then was to the days of Nelson. Masts, canvas, storms and personalities bounded his young days, and hard conditions were no deterrent to his enthusiasm. He sailed the world: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Africa, America were all in his orbit. Later as a lieutenant on anti-piracy patrol in the vicinity of Zanzibar he had a plentiful share of action and excitement.

At 26 he resigned from the Service for lack of private means and emigrated to Australia. Civilian life as a settler proved disappointing but after a few years there he was persuaded to rejoin the Navy. From then onwards he was the unwavering and increasingly respected advocate of an independent Australian naval force; in 1905 he became its first Director.

The Memoirs were begun after his retirement in 1919 and were finished in 1931, two years before his death. They were then consigned to the vaults of a bank and have only recently been brought to light. The editor, Mr Paul Thompson, has done a considerable service in making them available to the public.



  1. Early Entry
  2. Admiral Pincher
  3. The Phoebe
  4. North Atlantic
  5. To Bermuda and Port Royal
  6. Spanish Main
  7. Antics, Animals, and Accounts
  8. Ocean Sailing
  9. Australia and New Zealand
  10. Pacific Pleasures
  11. Junk Chasing with the Midge
  12. an Overboard
  13. Hunting the Slave Traders
  14. More Prizes
  15. Rough Justice
  16. Australian Epilogue

    General Notes


The way about the rigging

The Foredeck of H.M.S. Minotaur

H.M.S. Phoebe

Lieutenant W. R. Creswell

British pinnace chasing a slave dhow

The London

Senior Officers of H.M.A.S. Protector

Admiral Sir William Creswell


Zanzibar and Pembax

Close to the Wind Cover


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