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William Smith
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Westminster, London
Born on 21st of June 1764
Died on 26th of May 1840

William Sidney Smith, always known as Sidney Smith, was from a well-connected family with links to the Pitts. He joined the Royal Navy as a boy, and enjoyed a long if chequered career at sea, serving in the American Revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. While on half-pay he was allowed to fight for the Swedes against the Russians, wining a major engagement and being rewarded with a Swedish knighthood, a source of mockery here until a British one was belatedly added. He had an adventurous career in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East (where his actions effectively ended Napoleon’s Egyptian adventure), often showing great bravery and daring, and he had an open mind demonstrated by his cooperation in trials of new-fangled torpedoes and rockets, and his anti-slavery campaigning.

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A dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion. - George Orwell
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On this day:
Army raised for Third Crusade - 1189, First Concorde flight - 1976
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