Friday 3 October 2014


During my most recent cruise I read seven of the HALFHYDE books written by Philip McCutchan. They are all set during the latter part of the nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century, and deal with the life of Lieutenant St Vincent Halfhyde RN, the descendant of a Master Gunner who served aboard one of the British line-of-battle ships that took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.

The books in the series are (in order):
  1. Halfhyde at the Bight of Benin (Also published under the title: Beware, Beware the Bight of Benin)
  2. Halfhyde's Island
  3. Halfhyde and the Guns of Arrest
  4. Halfhyde to the Narrows
  5. Halfhyde for the Queen
  6. Halfhyde Ordered South
  7. Halfhyde and the Flag Captain
  8. Halfhyde On The Yangtze
  9. Halfhyde on Zanatu
  10. Halfhyde Outward Bound
  11. The Halfhyde Line
  12. Halfhyde and the Chain Gangs
  13. Halfhyde Goes To War
  14. Halfhyde on the Amazon
  15. Halfhyde and the Admiral
  16. Halfhyde and the Fleet Review
The books are good holiday reading, and although some of the plots are a little implausible at times and one or two of the characters are rather too larger-than-life, I have decided to try to buy hardback copies of the books.

So far I have managed to buy the following:
Halfhyde to the Narrows

(This is a large print version and I am going to try to get a standard print version if I can.)

Halfhyde Ordered South

Halfhyde on Zanatu

Halfhyde and the Chain Gangs

Halfhyde Goes To War

Halfhyde and the Admiral

Halfhyde and the Fleet Review

I have several more on order, and eventually I would like to own all sixteen volumes in the series.


  1. Beware, beware, the Bight of Benin:
    A beguiling shore that draws men in, But the most parlous waters I've even b'en in.

    Squalls and storms and gales galore;
    Cross currents and winds will throw you ashore;
    So you will pay with your life full score,
    And ply the seven seas no more.

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    I knew that the book title was taken from a poem, but had never read the poem.

    Thanks very much for sending me the text of the poem; reading it makes me realise how apt the quote is as a title for this book.

    All the best,


  3. I have a confession to make. I just made up that verse (poem; doggerel) based on the idea that indeed it was taken from a poem. I was half expecting you to quote 'the actual' poem back!

    My apologies,

  4. I have found the actual rhyme - merely a couplet. In fact I have seen the thing before but forgot about it:
    "Beware, beware the Bight of the Benin,
    for few come out though many go in."
    or, the version I heard:
    "Beware, beware the Bight of the Benin,
    for there's one comes out for forty goes in!"

    Reminds me of a couplet from "Treasure Island":
    'But one man of her crew alive
    what put to sea with seventy-five.'

  5. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    I must admit that I would never have guessed that you made it up ... so no apology is necessary! In fact, I think that congratulations are in order, as it sounded right to me.

    (I will look up the origin of the quote as soon as I can, but at present that is not that easy to do.)

    All the best,


  6. Archduke Piccolo,

    I must admit that now you have quoted it, I do remember reading this couplet many years ago.

    I think that in many ways, yours is better.

    All the best,



Thank you for leaving a comment. Please note that any comments that are spam or contain phishing messages or that come from Google Accounts that are 'Unknown' will be deleted.