Lecture at the Museum in Ashby-de-la-Zouch
Maurice was invited to present his illustrated talk on Captain Frank to invited guests at the Ferrers Community Centre at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Museum. Due no doubt to the fact that Frank Abney-Hastings was born only 2 miles from Ashby, and that virtually nobody knows anything about him, the event was a ‘full house’. The presentation which took exactly one hour, followed by questions, was very highly praised and as it was the final ‘dummy run’ for the presentation to the Society for the Study of Hellenic History at the Old Parliament House in Athens on 27th March it has given the speaker greater confidence. Di’s final version of the Power Point show was certainly very well received.
The presentation was attended by two authors, one Bob Ward from Saffron Waldon who is writing a book in which Frank’s Royal Naval career is covered until 1819 along with other subjects. The second is an expert in old arms and is producing a book including Frank’s armaments theories and is also holding an exhibition of naval arms. The amazing thing was when he announced to the audience that he had purchased in the USA a pair of duelling pistols which Frank had bought from Riviere in London on his visit in 1824 to commission the Karteria. They have Frank’s name and date of purchase engraved upon them. We hope to get photographs of the pistols to put on the website.
The other surprise came when Maurice’s Business Manager and indefatigable helper, Dianne Williams, announced that on that very day she had found a Times article from 1828 whereby Frank had challenged (not for the first time in his life) another Captain to a duel. There was a problem with the muzzle and he was reported to have “shot himself in the foot”! We will put the Times article on this site.
This raises two interesting facts; firstly is that at this stage we cannot locate an earlier use of the expression “to shoot yourself in the foot”, and that secondly the current owner of the pistols, says there is evidence of repairs being undertaken!! WOW!
What an amazing evening – thank you Ashby.