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History - Maritime
Brian Beck started working life as an engineer in the British Merchant Navy. Over the succeeding decades he continued his involvement with engineering through the corporate world in both Europe and North America.

Educated in Britain, he is a chartered engineer, registered with the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI), a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the Institution of Diesel and Gas Turbine Engineers.

As a story teller, he retained his passion for all things maritime and has assembled a comprehensive history of the Royal Navy and its influence in shaping our modern world.
His many interests include maritime history, self-improvement studies, travel, cooking and golf. He has been an active member of Toastmasters International, and lives with his wife, Linda, in Houston, Texas.

The British Empire at its peak was the largest empire in history, and for over a century was the foremost global power. It was often said that “the sun never sets” on the British Empire. By 1922 it held sway over one quarter of the world’s population and one quarter of the world’s land mass. Consequently, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread.
But how did a nation, less than one third the size of Texas exert that much influence?
The Roman Empire wielded its power through its military and organized form of government. For Spain and Portugal, it was exploration and trade. For the British Empire it was command of the seas.
Brian Beck will trace the history of the Royal Navy from its swashbuckling beginnings in the Elizabethan age; through its many wars with Spain and its battles with the Armada; to the exploits of Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Learn how the Royal Navy shaped the modern world.


1. Treachery at San Juan.
Set in the Caribbean, this tale of intrigue and treachery, with a cast of Pirates and Privateers, tells of the events that led to the formation of the “Navy Royal”.

2. Pirates of the Spanish Main.
During the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century the escapades of the pirates and privateers in the Caribbean set the scene for countless books and movies. This presentation looks at the lives of Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackham, Henry Morgan and others.

3. The Armada.
Remember the tale of Sir Francis Drake, calmly finishing his game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe before turning his attention to the Spanish Armada? This presentation chronicles the build-up of the famous Armada and the battles that took place as Francis Drake and his men valiantly defended England against invasion.

4. How to Build a Navy.
The ‘Navy Royal’ was an event, an assembly of ships and men for a specific event. Turning the Navy Royal into a professional fighting force was largely the work of one man, a non-sailor, but a tireless worker who set the Royal Navy on its path to glory.

5. John, Paul, George and … Jack.
Learn how the Royal Navy ignited the War of Independence. Disaffected with their English rulers, the colonists were increasingly harassed by the Royal Navy, reluctantly forced into enforcing customs regulations. The result is history, but this presentation investigates the Navy’s role in those events.

6. Nelson’s Battles.
British naval hero Horatio Nelson, he of the column in Trafalgar Square, London, left a legacy that even today remains highly influential. A strong leader whose life was often colored with scandal, Nelson was truly one of the great warriors of the sea and his death at Trafalgar in 1805 secured his position as one of England's most heroic figures. This presentation catalogues his escapades, including his major battles from Cape St. Vincent to the Battle of Trafalgar.

7. Lady Emma.
The girl from nowhere who had catapulted herself into high society, wife of the British Ambassador to Naples, Lady Emma Hamilton became the mistress of Horatio Nelson. This presentation peeks into the life of one of the most famous women of her time.


1. Knights of Malta.
The Knights of St John trace their origin back to the Knights Hospitaller, a group attached to a hospital in Jerusalem, founded in 1023. This presentation traces their exploits through the middle ages from Jerusalem to Rhodes and finally to Malta.

2. The polar voyage of USS Jeannette.
In July 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco with a number of explorers aboard to find out exactly what was at the North Pole. The harrowing tale chronicles the tragic expedition.
Presentations on History of the British Royal Navy, 1500s to 1800s. Celebrity, Regent Seven Seas, Princess, Cunard, Sea Dream.