One hot November day just over two hundred years ago in the fledgling convict settlement at Port Jackson (Sydney), a midshipman only recently arrived in the colony found himself, within the space of eight months, appointed Acting Lieutenant and Commander of HMS ‘Lady Nelson’.
The ship’s previous commander, Lieutenant George Curtoys, had become so ill from unloading cargo in the extreme heat that a replacement was needed on the spot.
The man chosen was James Simmons, at first a midshipman on the governor’s own ship then mate on the ‘Lady Nelson’.
The year was 1803. He would have been just twenty-four or twenty-five at the time.
That he was selected in an emergency for an instant promotion to Acting Lieutenant and Commander of the ‘Lady Nelson’ is perhaps the first indication of the emerging qualities of a young man who seems to be one of the forgotten unsung heroes of Australian history.
He and the ‘Lady Nelson’ have an extraordinary story to tell, an adventure of which very few (as far as I know) even today have ever heard, of a man only briefly mentioned, if at all, in the history books.
But there’s more.
In my book ‘Man Steps Off Planet’ I reveal convincing evidence to show that he may have been a legitimate son of George IV.
Midshipman James Simmons had sailed for New South Wales on 20 June 1802 on the ‘Glatton’ as an able seaman midshipman under Captain Colnett.
The previous year the ‘Glatton’ had fought with Admiral Nelson in the Battle of Copenhagen under the command of William Bligh, of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ fame, with whom James would cross swords later in yet another infamous episode involving Captain Bligh.
The thrilling adventures of Lieutenant James Simmons and his ship, on and off the High Seas, makes fascinating reading. You can read it in my page-turning book.
My research into this little known man takes me from Regency England to the early convict settlement of Australia and a hostile New Zealand Maori Chief (and his beautiful daughter).
In the end I discover the secret of his past and possible royal connections.
It’s a fun and entertaining true story.
And that is at the heart of the mystery I’m chasing across 5 countries throughout the book.
To read more go to my book page HERE.
For amazing reviews of the book CLICK HERE
PS. Today a replica of the ‘Lady Nelson’ sails the seven seas as one of the Tall Ships recently built.