AN Alcester author has just released a book chronicling the fascinating life of one of his distant relatives, who is hailed as a hero in Greece.

"Commander of the Karteria. Honoured in Greece - Unknown at Home" is the history of Captain Frank Abney-Hastings, and was written by Maurice Abney-Hastings, of Alcester.

Captain Frank was a remarkable man, born on the rural borders of Warwickshire and Leicestershire to a privilidged and aristocratic family.

He participated in the Battle of Trafalgar and later lost his life fighting against the Turks in the Greek War of Independence.

He was responsible for the construction and command of Karteria, the first ship of the Hellenic Navy and the first ever steamship in the world used in battle.

His untimely death at the age of 34 was a blow to the Greek cause, but nearly 220 years later he is still remembered there with affection and gratitude.

Author Mr Abney-Hastings said: “My sister received a call from the Greek Government in 1971, asking her, as a direct descendant of Captain Frank, to come over to Greece to represent him during an anniversary commemoration of the War of Independence.

“My interest started there. My sister returned with lots of artefacts and asked me to look into his life. It turned out to be a truly fascinating tale about a great man.”

Mr Abney-Hastings had to become a student of Cambridge University to gain access to the British School of Athens, which is run by the university. When he did, he laid his hands on the original ship’s documents for the Karteria, with the words of Captain Frank written on them.

On the last page, blood can be seen and Captain Frank wrote that he had been wounded. He died shortly afterwards.

The book is now available in hardback and paperback through all major booksellers, and may also be ordered as signed, numbered, limited first editions direct from the author at