Colin White (1951-2008), historician and writer; he was director of the Royal Naval Museum and expert on Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar. He came to be recognised as one of the country's leading experts on Nelson. He published three books on him: The Nelson Companion (1995) which is now a best-seller, in its third edition; 1797: Nelson's Year of Destiny (1998): and The Nelson Encyclopaedia (2002).
In 2000, he was appointed Chairman of the Official Nelson Celebrations Committee, with responsibility for co-ordinating The Trafalgar Festival, an ambitious, and ultimately very successful, national and international programme of events to mark the bicentenary of Trafalgar in 2005. His achievement was recognised by the presentation of the Longmans-History Today Trustees Award in early 2006.
In 2001 he was seconded to the National Maritime Museum as Director, Trafalgar 200 to assist the Museum with planning its 2005 initiatives: including a major exhibition, publications and special events.
He also published two major books, both based on original research: Nelson - The new letters and Nelson the admiral. The former was awarded the ‘Distinguished Book Prize’ by the Society for Military History in 2006 .
Nelson, the admiral is a interesting book, draws together all the recent research into Nelson's battles in a provocative book, detailed research and writings on Nelson's battles, together with exciting new material that is emerging as a result of the Nelson Letters Project on which he has been recently engaged. He presents a new narrative for each of Nelson's main battles, based on the latest insights; a new analysis of his tactics based on hitherto unpublished material from Nelson's personal order books and battle plans; and a fresh assessment of Nelson's abilities as a naval commander. The end result is an up-to-date analysis of Nelson as a naval commander, showing how the British triumph at Trafalgar was the culmination of years of thought and experimentation on Nelson's part, and on the part of his contemporaries and predecessors.