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(William) Horace De Vere Cole

(1881-1936), Practical joker and participant in Dreadnought Hoax

Sitter in 1 portrait
A professional hoaxer, planned, together with Adrian Stephen, to trick the Royal Navy into showing their flagship HMS Dreadnought to a supposed delegation of Abyssinian royals. Burton, Woolf, Ridley and Grant dressed up as Abyssinian princes; Stephen acted as the interpreter and Cole, impersonating a Foreign Office official, led the group. The hoaxers were welcomed by the Admiral and were shown around the ship. The practical joke caused great embarrassment among the authorities and a few weeks later a group of navy officials punished Grant. According to later accounts by Woolf and Stephen, he was abducted by navy officers and given two ceremonial taps after refusing to fight the men.

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The Dreadnought Hoax, by Lafayette - NPG P1293

The Dreadnought Hoax

by Lafayette
matte bromide print, 7 February 1910
NPG P1293

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