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The next meeting of the Somerton U3A will take place on Friday 28 June when Philip Browne will tell us about "Unfortunate Captain Pierce and the Wreck of the Halsewell".

This is one of the most dramatic shipwreck disasters on an English shore. Drawing on his recent prize-winning book of the same name, he will describe the terrible events that shocked the nation when a huge East India Company ship was wrecked on the Purbeck coast. On board were the Captain's teenaged daughters, his nieces and several other young ladies, bound for India in search of rich husbands. Despite the dramatic rescue of some of the crew, Captain Pierce and all the young ladies were drowned. In 1786, the peculiar circumstances of this disaster caught the public imagination and filled the newspapers for weeks. More than two centuries later, the story of the Halsewell still has the power to move us.

Copies of the book will be on sale after the talk at the discount price of £10. In July, it won the Hall & Woodhouse Dorchester Literary Festival Writing Prize 2018.

Philip Browne was born and educated in Ireland, graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a B.A. and a Higher Diploma in Education. He taught English in a Dublin secondary school before emigrating in 1973 to the U.K.

Then followed nearly 40 years working in education, first as a teacher and subsequently as an education adviser with Dorset Education Authority. Philip Browne is married with two sons. He lives in Dorset in south-west England, an area that he loves.

Monthly meetings normally take place on the fourth Friday of each month at the Edgar Community Hall, Somerton starting at 10am with coffee (30p) and chat. After any notices the main event begins at 10.30am and finishes by 12 noon latest. Meetings are free for members, visitors £1.50 each".

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