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Coog
02-09-2012, 15:28
No wonder British sailors deserted in droves to join the U S Navy:

http://www.hmsrichmond.org/rnarticles.htm

Mark Barker
02-09-2012, 16:57
No wonder British sailors deserted in droves to join the U S Navy

No such thing in 1757, mate !

Actually several of our famous captains came from loyalist American stock, not to mention the Americans who fought on the British side below decks ...

Best wishes,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

csadn
02-09-2012, 17:57
No wonder British sailors deserted in droves to join the U S Navy:

http://www.hmsrichmond.org/rnarticles.htm

As Mr. Barker notes: The US Navy did not exist in 1757; however, one sees why so many sailors went pirate (in an earlier era) or into the USN (after such became an option). That said: In some ways, the USN was just as bad -- IIRC, the USN didn't abolish flogging until 1850:

http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/flogging.htm
http://www.navalhistory.org/2010/09/28/flogging-outlawed-160-years-ago-today/ .

Coog
02-09-2012, 18:39
Of course I was referring to the decades around 1800 in reference to the U S Navy and exagerating a bit with the term "droves." Most British sailors fought valiantly despite their lot. I was reading about The Articles of War during the Napoleonic Era and it sounded as if they had not changed much, if any, since 1757. Does anyone know when there was a substantial change?

Mark Barker
02-10-2012, 14:56
Officially not until Victorian times, but the draconian punishments contained in the Articles had largely fallen into disuse long before then. Like a lot of things in British law, the written law says one thing, actual custom and practice another thing entirely.

This link is a pretty decent 1-page summary.

http://www.pdavis.nl/NDA.htm

The comment that the British largely fought valiantly 'despite their lot' in an interesting one. Undoubtedly in times of war and with the tender attentions of the press gang there were an awful lot of people in the Royal Navy who would rather not have been there, but the representation of the British crews (who actually comprised people from many nations) as brutalised convicts only kept in check by appalling discipline is old hat.

They could not have fought that well if they had been treated like that.

Compared to an agricultural labourer of the time, a sailor in the Royal Navy was guaranteed three meals a day every day of high calorific value, had access to rudimentary medical care and a basic death/disablement pension (the Chatham chest) and would receive a flogging for an act of petty theft rather than being hanged as would his land-based counterpart.

Life in those days was no picnic ashore either ....

Best regards,


Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

David Manley
02-11-2012, 00:41
No wonder British sailors deserted in droves to join the U S Navy

There was also the small matter of the RN being engaged in a war. deserting to the US meant a rather lower chance of being killed by a roundshot or splinter. Think draft dodgers heading for Canada in the 60s and 70s