Sunday, 27 June 2010

1810 or 1811?

If you read any other websites or information on Rockall you'll note that there has been some dispute over whether the first landing by Basil Hall from HMS Endymion was in 1810 or 1811. This obviously has some impact on whether 2011 is the relevant year in which to have a 200th anniversary landing! I thought it prudent to clarify the position through a quote from James Fisher's book Rockall, which is the most completely researched narrative available:

"After the Rockall landing of 1955...I made routine checks at Public Records Office of the logs of H.M.S. Endymion. We discovered, to our surprise, that the famous first landing on Rockall by Basil Hall and other members of the company of...Endymion had taken place not on 8 July 1810, as was generally supposed, but on Sunday, 8 September 1811.

This curious mistake, which has been almost universally quoted in the literature, springs without doubt from Purdy's Memoir, which was regarded as the authoritative 'pilot' of the day. It is just as well we checked the log."

As Fisher was a respected scientist, had no reason to benefit from ascertaining the actual date of the landing as 1811, and appears to be the only person who has undertaken the required research of the logs, I am inclined to agree with his conclusion.

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