Click Here  P-38 Lightning   Click Here  Richard Henry Dana    Click Here  Capt. James Cook  
Click Here  Dudley Pope    Click Here  Henderson Island   Click Here  Major John Pitcairn   

Dec. 29, 1925 - April 25, 1997

The Sunday Times wrote: The best of Hornblower's Successors'

DOUGLAS REEMAN (Alexander Kent) recently wrote:

Too often writers are called upon to relate real life events, but fail to satisfy the memories and the expectations of those who served in that ship or campaign.

Dudley Pope once wrote a book about the battles and deeds of our Light Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean, a fast-moving war of motor gunboats and motor torpedo boats. Records were few; research must have been difficult. But it was my war too, and when I read that book its authenticity was such that I felt he was right beside me.

Dudley Pope came from an old Cornish family. His great-great-grandfather was a Plymouth shipowner in Nelson's time. Born in Ashford in Kent, he joined the Merchant Navy as a midshipman in 1941 at age 16. He was torpedoed in 1942, and suffered spinal injuries that plagued him until the day he died.

Pope's novel Decoy, set during WW2, is dedicated: "In memory of my shipmates killed or wounded when Convoy SL 125 was caught in the 'Great Blackout'."

He joined a local newspaper in Kent and, in 1944, became naval and defence correspondent for the London Evening News.

His first book was Flag 4, in 1954, a carefully researched account of Coastal Forces’ operations in the Mediterranean. Next was Battle of the River Plate, 73 North and, in 1959, England Expects, his account of the Battle of Trafalgar.

C.S. Forester, the author of the Hornblower naval-historical novels set in Lord Nelson's age, encouraged Pope to write fiction. In 1965, Pope wrote Ramage, the first in a series of 18 novels about Lord Ramage, also set in Nelson's time during the Napoleonic wars. Nicholas Ramage first appears in 1796, and by the last published novel. Ramage and the Dido only eleven years has elapsed.

Dudley Pope also wrote the Yorke series which spans 280 years:

Ned Yorke: Corsair, Buccaneer, Admiral and Galleon are about privateer Ned Yorke in Jamaica in 1600s;

Lt. Ned Yorke: Convoy and Decoy are about the privateer Ned Yorke’s descendants in WW II.

His books are" based on his own wartime experiences in the navy and peacetime exploits as a yachtsman as well as immense research into the naval history of the eighteenth century."

As a historian Pope could flavour his books with a lot of facts about shipboard life and practices and naval warfare experiences and techniques. Specifically Pope's non fiction work often has it's counterpart in his fiction, either by example, or by the fictional character re-enacting historic events.

Pope lived aboard boats whenever he could. In 1959, he and his wife, Kay, lived aboard and cruised in a 42-ft ketch in Italy. In 1963, he bought a 21-ton cutter and sailed to Barbados in search of a warmer climate.

In 1968 Dudley and Kay Pope bought the 54 ft overall (16,4 m) classic wooden yacht which they named Ramage. All of his books written in the period 1968-1985 were written onboard this vessel.

Suplementary biographical information - by Kay Pope.

Recent photo of The Yacht Ramage

Read the story of The Yacht Ramage and see the specifications and some photos - and how to contact the present owners on Antigua for charter

After his purchase of the yacht Ramage, the Popes finally settled on the French side of the island of St. Martin in the West Indies. In 1985, after nearly twenty years of cruising, his health forced them to give up his yacht and live ashore. In 1989, loss of memory associated with his spinal injuries forced him to give up writing.

Dudley Pope died April 25, 1997 at the age of 71 on the island of St. Martin. In May 1997 Dudley Pope's ashes were spread at sea from his former yacht "Ramage."

Dudley Pope leaves a widow, Kay, and a daughter, Jane Clare Victoria. Both still reside on the French side of the island of St. Martin in the West Indies. Victoria is living on a small yacht and works for one of the two english speaking local newspapers on the island.

Click on the link below for your free download of the first chapter of Ramage by Dudley Pope

Join the Dudley Pope e-mail discussion Group here!

Read short descriptions of each book here:

Dudley Pope:
Ramage Series

(18 volumes)

Dudley Pope:
Yorke Series

(6 volumes)

Dudley Pope:

Non Fiction

(11 volumes)

The majority of Dudley Pope's books are again in print today.
US (Ramage titles)
UK (Ramage and York titles and Biography of Sir Henry Morgan title)

The Black Ship and Decision at Trafalgar
are available from:
Life in Nelson’s Navy, England Expects,The Great Gamble: Nelson at Copenhagen, Flag 4 , The Battle of the River Plate and 73 North : The Battle of the Barents Sea are available from:

At 12 Mr Byng Was Shot is soon to be available from

Heart of Oak

    Come, cheer up my lads! 'tis to glory we steer, To add something more to this wonderful year; 'tis to honour we call you, as free men not slaves, for who are so free as the sons of the waves?

    Heart of oak are our ships Jolly tars are our men We always are ready; Steady, boys, steady; We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again!

    We'll ne'er see our foes but we wish 'em to stay, They never see us but they wish us away; If they run, we will follow, we will drive 'em ashore, For if they won't fight us, we cannot do more.

    Heart of oak are our ships Jolly tars are our men We always are ready; Steady, boys, steady; We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again!

This website is maintained by:
Mark Winthrop, Copenhagen Denmark