The Swedish Horatio Hornblower Society

We are glad to share a summary of the history and activities of The Swedish Horatio Hornblower Society. Claes Gränström who joined us for the Swedish Society’s visit to England, came to Oriel College, Oxford when the C S Forester Society held its annual event in 2012. Claes and his son Olof recently visited Oxford again and your editor Lawrie Brewer and Pia were delighted not only by the visit and shared reflections on Hornblower, bu also by re-visitations to the College, the Bodleian, Blackwell’s Bookshop and other Oxford glories.

The Swedish Horatio Hornblower Society

In the year 2002, three distinguished gentlemen – all working at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs – met and discovered that they had the same common interests. Among other things, this was the interest in the hero of C. S. Forester’s novels about Horatio Hornblower. The three gentlemen were Greger Widgren, who became the first chairman, Pontus Järborg, who became the second chairman, and Lars-Göran Larsson. The aim of the Society was to make lifelike the very interesting Life and events of Hornblower.

The Society grew and is generally now between 15 – 20 members all over Sweden. We do not intend to expand our membership to much as this will cause some logistic problems.

The activities of our Society have been – besides our meetings twice a year – to arrange excursions usually once a year. Our meetings circle around lectures and seminars preferably about events during the Napoleonic times. But we have also had other themes for example about the English seizure of four small Swedish destroyers ( bought in Italy) during the Second World War. All this aims to improve and expand our knowledge about maritime matters in general and specially around events between the years 1789 -1815.

Our excursions have mainly been to places in Sweden but we have also visited Denmark, Finland and Åland. The most interesting journey was certainly the one we made to London, Portsmouth and Oxford when we also commemorated ten years as a Society. We also met in Oxford with the C S Forester Society and have had fruitful joint meetings with accompanying lectures. The C S Forester Society visited Stockholm some years later and we had joint meetings with lectures and a very fine sailing trip on a brig in the Swedish archipelago.

The present chairman of the Swedish Horatio Hornblower Society is Claes Gränström who was the Deputy National Archivist of Sweden. We hope to be able to have further contacts with the C S Forester Society which will be in many ways of great advantage to both Societies.