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Rum firm film celebrates naval hero

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By Fiona Reid
Rum firm film celebrates naval hero

A SHORT film has been released telling the swashbuckling life-story of legendary naval commander John Paul Jones.

Born in Arbigland in Dumfries and Galloway in 1747, he learned to sail on the Solway Firth and at 13 Jones across the Atlantic as a cabin boy, first to America and then to the West Indies. He quickly gained promotion to commander of several merchantmen in his now adopted homeland.

With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Jones was a founding figure in the American Navy, becoming the scourge of British vessels and America’s first naval hero. Most famously, in 1779 he won a stunning victory over a convoy of British merchant and warships off Flamborough Head.

Such was his international reputation that his next appointment came from Empress Catherine II of Russia as a rear admiral in her Black Sea fleet fighting the Turks. It was to be a disappointing assignment, however, and Jones retired to Paris where soon afterwards he died from kidney infection aged 45.

Realising his historical significance, his body was mummified, preserved in alcohol (rumoured to be rum) and interred in a lead coffin. More than a century later, under President Theodore Roosevelt’s supervision, US warships escorted his remains back to his adopted country and Jones’ body was finally laid to rest in a magnificent sarcophagus in the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

The team at John Paul Jones Rum have taken inspiration from him for both their brand and now the new film.

Rum co-founder Olly Blackett, who lives on the same estate at Arbigland, said: “John Paul Jones was a truly remarkable man and, having grown up in his awe, we are taking massive inspiration from his incredible exploits.

“Not only is the ethos behind our Lowland Rum drawn directly from Jones’ heroic escapades, but we also gain strength every day from his derring-do. There can’t be many brands which can draw such motivation from an incredible personality like John Paul Jones.”

The short film can be viewed on Vimeo at


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