Win­ners And Losers

Dundee’s van­quished son is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with one of its he­roes

The Scots Magazine - - Roots And Branches - By KENNY MACASKILL

TO the vic­tor be­long the spoils” re­lates to com­ments on An­drew Jack­son’s 1828 US pres­i­den­tial vic­tory. It’s mir­rored by a clas­si­cal phrase Vae Vic­tis mean­ing “woe to the van­quished” from Rome’s sack­ing in 390BC. Thus it’s been through­out his­tory, that vic­tors are recorded and cel­e­brated while the de­feated ig­nored and pun­ished – and Scot­land has been no dif­fer­ent.

I’m minded of that in Dundee where there lies a land­mark named af­ter a war hero, who’s du­ti­fully recorded and was highly cel­e­brated. It’s a ma­jor pub­lic at­trac­tion and his ex­ploits renowned and lauded.

Yet, from the same city there came a man on the los­ing side in the same con­flict but who is al­most un­known and whose ex­ploits have been en­tirely ig­nored. To the vic­tor the spoils and woe to the van­quished is epit­o­mised in the story of Ad­mi­ral Dun­can of Cam­per­down and Ge­orge Meal­maker.

On the edge of the city lies Cam­per­down Park, en­joyed by lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike. It’s made up of the grounds of the for­mer Cam­per­down House which still stands to­day. The land was orig­i­nally known as Lundie but was ac­quired by the Dun­can fam­ily in the late 17th cen­tury. They were pros­per­ous mer­chants and sev­eral would serve as the city’s lord provost over the years. In 1731 Adam Dun­can was born and it was his ex­ploits that would be recorded in his­tory and re­sult in the change of name to Cam­per­down.

Ed­u­cated in Dundee, Dun­can joined the

Royal Navy in 1746, ob­tain­ing his own com­mand in 1759. He served dur­ing the Seven Years’ War but his claim to fame came later in wars with the Dutch Repub­lic, by which time he had been pro­moted to the rank of Ad­mi­ral and made Com­man­der In Chief for the North Sea.

As Europe be­came in­volved in the mael­strom fol­low­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion, the Nether­lands was over­run and the Bata­vian Repub­lic was formed. Dun­can led the Royal Navy against the Dutch fleet in 1797. Be­fore even en­ter­ing com­bat, he faced chal­lenges in

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