Troubador ‘I am Determined to Live or Die on Board My Ship.’

Released: 28/05/2019

ISBN: 9781789017670

Format: Paperback

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‘I am Determined to Live or Die on Board My Ship.’

The Life of Admiral John Inglis: An American in the Georgian Navy

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John Inglis was born in Philadelphia, the son of a slave trading merchant. ‘I am Determined to Live or Die on Board My Ship’ covers his action-packed naval career starting as a midshipman in command of the guns of a frigate in action against the French, and ends as the severely wounded captain of a warship in a closely fought victory against the Dutch.


The life of John Inglis was so epic, it could have been a work of fiction. As an underage Lieutenant commanding a schooner hunting smugglers before the Boston Tea Party, he also dined with George Washington before the War of Independence. Having settled in Scotland and inheriting his uncle’s Edinburgh estate, he returned to the Navy. Shipwrecked in Norway, he became embroiled in a secret service attempt to persuade Dutch naval commanders to desert. His vessel was involved in the Nore Mutiny and astoundingly, he was held prisoner on his own ship.

Honoured by the City of Edinburgh he returned to the navy for another year before giving up his command and being given the rank of Admiral in retirement. The naval career of John Inglis is not just an incredible story but one that enables a close view of life in the eighteenth-century navy.

Moffat News

Moffat News

This is a well written, comprehensive and thoroughly researched book. As someone whose knowledge of maritime history is verging on nonexistent I was fascinated by the detail of everyday life on board ship and the battles of which again I had hardly any knowledge. It has been a voyage of discovery for me. John Inglis himself is portrayed very well, he is not a one dimensional character at all and the author has been very fair and unbiased in the assessment of him and his career.

Due to my lack of knowledge I would have appreciated a graphic time line of historical events against his life events, and maps of the American and Dutch coasts to locate places more easily would also have been helpful.

It is a well researched book, complete with a full set of source data and bibliography.

by Anne D


Jim Tildesley

Jim Tildesley

Former Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum and Member of the UK National Historic Ships Committee. He retired in 2013 after a career in Education, Local Government, and Museums. He is a qualified teacher and experienced lecturer with a Masters Degree in Naval History. His area of research for the last nineteen years has been the Royal Navy from the start of the Seven Years War until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

He lives in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.


Jim Tildesley
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