H. Taprell Dorling

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Captain Henry Taprell Dorling (1883-1968) was a British sailor, author, and journalist who served in the Royal Navy during both world wars, giving his marine fact and fiction a notable authenticity. His Pincher Martin, O.D. (1916) is widely referenced as the source for Pincher Martin (1956) by Nobel prizewinner William Golding. He wrote under the name Taffrail.[1]

Naval career[edit]

Dorling was born in Berwick, the second son of Colonel Francis Dorling, and named Taprell Henry, but later changed the order of his names. He entered HMS Britannia in August 1897, his 1113 marks placing him fifty-eighth in merit among the sixty-three candidates accepted as naval cadets.[2] By then an acting sub-lieutenant, he was in late September 1902 transferred to the seagoing training brig HMS Dolphin.[3]

He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on 31 December 1904, and commander on 31 December 1916. The following year he was appointed in command of the new R-class destroyer HMS Telemachus in her first commission.



  1. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 158.
  2. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (35281). London. 13 August 1897. p. 8.
  3. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36882). London. 25 September 1902. p. 8.

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