Hannah Snell’s story begins with tragedy. In 1744 she married James Summs, a Dutch seaman. Soon after their marriage she fell pregnant, and Summs abandoned her and the child, who died just a year later. At this juncture, Snell donned a suit, assumed her brother-in-law’s identity and set off in search of her errant husband.Boarding the sloop of war the Swallow in Portsmouth, Snell set sail to capture Pondicherry. Along the way she fought in many battles, sustaining multiple injuries, some of which made it difficult to keep her sex concealed. In 1750, she returned to London and told her story, setting down in The Female Soldier one of the most captivating military legends of all time, which went on to inspire generations of men and women alike.