Author and naval historian Steve Dunn continues to restore the reputation of a rear admiral from Richmond, who he believes is a First World War hero.
His book, The Scapegoat, which was published in 2014, turned the spotlight on Sir Christopher (Kit) Cradock, who was blamed by Churchill for the defeat at the Battle of Coronel when Kit and 1660 men died. But Steve’s research uncovered a very different story and after talking to Kit’s only living relative and having access to many previously unseen papers, he challenged the premise that Cradock was responsible. Instead he pointed the finger at the British Admiralty and its First Lord Winston Churchill.
Since his book’s publication he has given many talks at WW1 commemorative events and on Thursday, February 8 he will be the guest lecturer for the Richmond and District Civic Society.
He will cover details of Kit’s naval career and the battle as well as provide the audience with an insight into the man, who was born and spent his childhood at Hartforth Hall, Gilling West.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Society’s lecture programme, which gives me another opportunity to right what I believe is an historical wrong,” said Steve.
“I’m convinced that Cradock was badly advised and equipped and that his orders left him in no doubt that he was expected to engage with the enemy, even though he’d outlined his concerns. He faced up to the impossible task with courage, knowing they were almost certainly doomed, which I think makes him a hero.”
Steve’s talk – The life and times of Sir Christopher Cradock of Hartforth – will be at the Influence Church Community Centre in Victoria Road, starting at 7.30pm.
Photo: Steve Dunn, pictured next to the Christopher Cradock memorial at St Agatha’s Church, Gilling West