A French Connection

Towards the end of 1810, the British vessel Neva was captured by the French. Richard CORTIS, second in command, found himself a prisoner of war.

Fifty-nine years later, a mariner called Richard Cortis was laid to rest in Hull’s General Cemetery. There is a photograph of his headstone at Billion Graves. He was eighty-three years old and so, if he is one and the same, would have been only 24 when living at Napoleon’s pleasure.

On census night 1861, Hull mariner Richard was with his son William, Filey’s doctor, at No.1 John Street. The household of twelve also contained three of Richard’s grandchildren, Jane Maria, 15, William Richard, 14, and Herbert Liddell, 5. The lives of all three, and their father’s, would end in Australia. Sadly, Richard did not live to see Herbert become a World Cycling Champion.

Last month, out of the blue, I received a set of photographs from Australia that included a picture of Richard.

courtesy H F Morrice Collection,

This appears to be a hand coloured studio photograph – so Richard would have had to be approaching sixty when it was taken. On the evidence of the kepi on the table, the uniform is French. Does this connect him to the other Richard? Were the French so impressed by Richard’s bravery that they honoured him with this dress uniform and sword upon release from prison? And many years later, after the invention of photography, he could still fit into it.

I am not going to speculate further on this image. Richard’s exploits and qualities as mariner, ship owner, hotel keeper, local “prime mover”  – and father – are impressive enough not to need a tale of derring-do and showmanship. But doesn’t he look handsome?

My thanks to Peter for sending the photographs. I will share the others over the next few weeks.

A Reduction in UK COVID-19 Deaths

There were 5,299 fewer UK deaths recorded at Worldometers today. The muppets at Public Health England have been forced to acknowledge the nonsense that Britons catching the supposed disease could never be cured, ever. Weeks and months after appearing to recover, Covid would nonetheless appear on certificates, whatever actually caused their deaths. A dumb, dishonest way to boost scamdemic fatalities. This at-a-stroke 11% drop in Covid deaths has not changed the rankings posted yesterday. Deaths per million have fallen from 686 to 608 but the UK keeps the top spot in my Table.

There are more apparently lethal countries: Belgium (854), Peru (657), Spain (611). There are a few “safer” countries than New Zealand, including Uganda and Vietnam (0.2 per million), Sr Lanka (0.5), Rwanda and Mozambique (0.6).

(If you are offended by my use of the term “muppets” for UK Regime Health Advisors please see Skepticat’s take on The Second Wave.)

Abstract 55 · West Avenue