I have got to get a post up. Lost my blogpal 2 weeks ago. Been spending a lot of time with what has unofficially become The Lexians who, I have to say, have rallied round and stuck together in an amazing way. What great people.
Neptunus Lex, Capt. Carroll LeFon USN Ret'd, was a great writer and prolific blogger. I am kicking my arse back into gear with a couple of bits, totally plagiarised but in the spirit of brother Lex who, like yours truly, loved the historical novelist Patrick O'Brian. So below is an extract from "The Fortune of War" and I chose it specifically as we await a funeral for our chum. Following that is a link to a BBC Radio 4 broadcast that although involves flying, is more in my old domain than Lex's, but I think he'd have loved it - a poet in a police helicopter. I can't get more Lex than that. It's all I've got at the moment.
`You spoke of a funeral?`
`We bury poor Lawrence of the Chesapeake`.
`Should I come too? I can be ready in a moment. I should be very willing to show the respect I feel, if it is usual`.
`No, the custom is only men of the same rank, apart from those detailed to attend and his own officers`.
All the post-captains in Halifax were gathering on the gunwharf; he knew most of them, but he only had time to greet one or two before the clock struck; exact to the minute the coffin came ashore with its escort of Marines, and the cortege formed behind it, the few American officers who could walk, the soldiers, the captains two by two, the generals and the Admiral.
They marched to the sound of a muffled drum, and the cheerful streets fell silent as they came. Jack had taken part in many processions of this kind, some of them very poignant indeed - shipmates, close friends, a cousin, his own officers or midshipmen - but he never regretted an enemy commander as he regretted Lawrence, a man quite after his own heart, who had brought his ship into action and had fought her in the handsomest manner. The steady beat, the marching steps in time, caused the bitter disappointments of this morning to fade from his mind; and at the exactly-ordered ceremony, the chaplain's ritual words, and the rattle of earth on the coffin, made him very grave indeed. The firing party's volley, the last military honours, jerked him from his thoughts, but not from his gravity. Although death was so much a part of his calling, he could not get rid of the image of captain Lawrence standing there on his quarterdeck just before the first devastating broadsides; and he found the reviving cheerfulness among his companions particularly jarring. It was not that their respect for the dead man was feigned, nor that their formal bearing until the time the gathering broke up was hypocritical, but their respect was for an unknown, though certainly brave and able commander - respect for the abstract enemy, for officerlike conduct.
`You knew him, I believe?` said his neighbour, Hyde Parker of the Tenedos.
`Yes, said Jack. He came to see me in Boston. He had captured one of my officers when he took the Peacock, and he was very kind to him. He commanded their Hornet, you know:a fine gallant fellow. As gallant as you could wish.`
`Aye,` said Hyde Parker, `that's the devil of it. But you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, you know; you can't have a victory that counts without a butcher's bill`.
From the British/American War of 1812 to present day London. Hope my American friends can get it via the below link. Enjoy: