Alan Villiers


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British master mariner and maritime author, born in Melbourne, Australia. He went to sea at the age of 15 in the barque Rothesay Bay and served altogether five years in square-rigged ships. He then tried his hand as a journalist in Australia and in 1931 became part-owner of the four-masted barque Parma which twice won the grain race from Australia to England. In 1934 he purchased the Danish sail training ship George Stage, renamed her Joseph Conrad, manned her with cadets, sailed round the world in her, logging 92,800 kilometres (58,000 mls.), and then wrote an account of his experiences in The Cruise of the Conrad (1937). Before the Second World War (1939–45) he sailed in Arab dhows on the Persian Gulf–Zanzibar run and during it, as an officer in the RNVR, commanded landing craft squadrons during the invasions of Italy and Normandy, and afterwards in the Far East. After the war, he commanded the Warspite, the training ship of the Outward Bound Sea School, Aberdovey; sailed with the Portuguese cod fishing fleet in the schooner Argus; commanded square-rigged ships in such films as Moby Dick and Billy Budd; and commanded a replica ship of the Mayflower in which he sailed to the USA in 1957 to commemorate the voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. His other publications included: Falmouth for Orders (1928), The Making of a Sailor (1938), The Coral Sea (1950), The Quest of the Schooner Argus (1951), The Way of a Ship (1954), The New Mayflower (1959), and The Battle of Trafalgar (1965).

Subjects: Maritime History — Literature.

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