Captain A.E. Dingle

A brief autobiography by Captain Dingle, 1925.

dingle_photo_websiteI was born in Oxford, England, in 1874 and went to sea with Smith of London at fourteen. Served my time, British fashion, and sailed in square-riggers from boy to master. Went to steam fourth mate to master and returned to the square-rigger for a rest. To steam once more. Commanded a transport in the Boer War, as Naval Reserve man was at Taku Forts in China. Twenty-two years in all at sea professionally, but am still at sea, at heart and in body. I live afloat in my little schooner. Some famous ships I made voyages in were Thermopylæ, Sophocles, Hesperus, Khedivieh, Lady Elise. Was wrecked four times in Gulf of Honduras, Red Sea, off San Roque, and off the Cape. Once received a pair of binoculars from the Hermit of Doorn for pulling some Unterseebooters off a derelict in an Atlantic January gale for him. Hocked 'em (not der Kaiser) in Southampton for eighteenpence and never got 'em out.


At the end of the Big War, moving to Bermuda to try to enter some service where sundry ills which had barred me from active service elsewhere might be overlooked, I sailed from New York in a twenty-eight-foot sloop single-handed, or rather, with one mate—an Airedale. Delays in the matter of papers held me up until the time was least propitious for such a trip; the last submarine flurry was at its height off the eastern coast, and the hurricane season was due. Took the double chance since my family were already on the way down, and while I missed the submarines altogether, I did hit, or was hit by, the worst hurricane in thirty years when within twenty miles of Bermuda. Was blown off, almost wrecked, took nine days more to struggle back to Bermuda under a rag of a sail, was five days without water, feeding the dog on liquid from canned goods, and took, all told, twenty-six days to make the passage. I am still wandering around the seas in a small sailboat, all of which goes to prove that too much brine in the blood is always a problem. Just when you think you are cured, out it bursts like a lot of salt-water boils.

Black Dog Books currently has one collection of stories by Captain Dingle available: Old Sails.


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