HMS Black Joke

Please note that this episode contains mentions of racial trauma, slavery and violence.


The most feared ship in Britain’s West Africa Squadron, His Majesty’s Black Joke was one of a handful of ships tasked with patrolling the western coast of Africa in an effort to end hundreds of years of global slave trading. Once a slaving vessel itself, only a lucky capture in 1827 allowed it to be repurposed by the Royal Navy to catch its former compatriots.


A.E. Rooks is an expert in this little-discussed facet of the transatlantic slave trade. Rooks joins Dan on the podcast to chronicle this history of the daring feats of a single ship - whose crew and commanders would capture more ships and liberate more enslaved people than any other in the Squadron.


Produced by Hannah Ward

Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore


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