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The story of HMS London by Phil Leech

Phil Leech was asked to research the history of HMS London and write a story about the ship with "a poetic flow".

The story is all true and in 2009 was included as part of the Chatham Dockyard celebrations commemorating 25 years since its closure.

Says Phil: "Three members of the Friends of Medway Libraries have been helping with a Creativity Without Borders project which involved the whole group researching the history of Chatham Historic Dockyard. I was asked to write a brief story in poetic form that could be included in the Creativity Without Borders presentation at the dockyard on 13 June 2009.

"I was searching for information that would link Chatham Dockyard with the transportation of convicts to Australia. There wasn't a link, as convicts were transported in merchant ships, not naval ships.

"While searching the web, I came across a brief description of HMS London. Following it up, I discovered that HMS London had taken part in the abolition of the slave trade, a cruel trade that had continued in East Africa for several years after abolition across the British Empire.

"As the Royal Navy is, even now, patrolling off the coast of East Africa (Somalia), looking for pirates this time, not slave masters, it seemed appropriate that I should write my story about HMS London.

"I am grateful to the librarian at the Dockyard Library for allowing me to research the history and actions of HMS London. In that library I discovered enough facts to fill a book but I only need a story, so here it is."

Story of the HMS London (pdf 52KB)

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