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Ipswich: Conference at UCS Waterfront celebrates an Ipswich naval hero

11:33 18 October 2013

Contributors at the Broke Symposium, naval history event at UCS, Ipswich on Saturday October 12

Contributors at the Broke Symposium, naval history event at UCS, Ipswich on Saturday October 12

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International conference at the Waterfront

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More 200 delegates gathered at University Campus Suffolk at the Waterfront on Saturday October 12 for an international symposium to mark the bi-centenary of one of the most celebrated naval actions of the 1812 American War when HMS Shannon defeated and captured the USS Chesapeake off the coast of Massachusetts.

The Shannon was commanded by Philip Broke of Broke Hall, Nacton, nears Ipswich.

Wounds incurred during the battle precluded further active service for Broke, but in the aftermath of the capture of the Chesapeake he was elevated to the baronetcy and later promoted to Rear Admiral.

Although little known today, Broke’s successful naval action caused a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic at the time and made him a household name comparable to Nelson.

Speakers at the symposium included Dr John B Hattendorf (Professor of History at the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, USA), Dr Chris Madsen (Professor in Defence Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, Toronto) and Dr Andrew Lambert (Professor in War Studies at Kings College, London).

Visitors included MP Ben Gummer as well as current members of the Broke family.

Other contributors at the event, organised in conjunction with the Ipswich Maritime Trust, included gunnery expert Martin Bibbings, principal historical advisor on the film Master and Commander (2003) directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe.

Stuart Grimwade of Ipswich Maritime Trust said: “It went extremely well.

“It put Ipswich on the international conference map really.

“It was a great success and was a sell-out. We were delighted.

“We had a lot of visitors, including people from abroad, and people connected with the Greenwich Maritime Musuem.

“It is something we must think about doing again, we worked very well with UCS.

“The Ipswich School concert on the Sunday at Nacton Church also went extremely well.”

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