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 Bad Idea 
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From Volume II of James Scott's Recollections of a Naval Life.

While Myrtle was anchored at Sierra Leone, Scott would take the opportunity to go riding when he was able to. One day he came across a marching body of what he called "white ants." (By his description, it sounds like pinching ants.) He was fascinated by them, so he dismounted and took the time to observe them more closely.

"It would have been well for me had I confined myself to mere observation, but the demon of mischief prompted me to place my foot directly across their path, and endeavour to turn them. I paid dearly for my utter ignorance of their powers of revenge; my leg was instantly covered with them, but my boots prevented me from immediately feeling the effects of their anger....these little atoms dug their forceps into my flesh creating intolerable pain. I danced about like one demented, beating the aggressive foot with extraordinary activity; but nothing could assuage the pain."

He rode back to Freetown in a hurry. When he took off his trousers, he found that "so firmly had they buried their forceps in the flesh, that they allowed their heads to be separated from their bodies rather than let go their hold."

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Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:17 am
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From the Naval Chronicle (Volume III):

"Jan. 15 [1800 at Plymouth]...A seaman of the Ethalion, from excessive joy at the very honourable acquittal of Captain Searle, the officers, seamen, and marines, of that ship, drank so much liquor, that he fell, fractured his skull, and died instantly."

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Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:07 am
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From The Times of August 20, 1799:

At Weymouth ....

"...the guns at the Nothe fired a Royal Salute; and we are sorry to add that John Stroud, one of the Sea Fencibles, walking before one of the guns at the time of firing, had his head and arms blown off by the wadding..."

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Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:32 pm
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From Basil Hall's Extracts from a Journal Written on the Coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, in the Years 1820, 1821, 1822 (Vol. I):

"The operation of landing, as such a place [Mollendo], is both difficult and dangerous, especially at the full and change of the moon, when the swell is always much increased, a remark which applies to the whole coast. I had been told that ships' boats seldom succeeded in crossing the surf, and that the balsa, or canoe of the country, was the proper thing to use; I made the experiment, however, in my own boat, which was accordingly swamped, and I got soundly ducked for my pains."

He used the balsa after that.

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Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:53 pm
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From A Voyage Round the World, in His Majesty's Frigate Pandora (1793) by George Hamilton. While on Palmerston Island...

"They [landing party] had thrown a large nut on the fire before they lay down, and forgot it; but in the middle of the night, the milk of the cocoa-nut became so expanded with the heat, that it burst with a great explosion. Their minds had been so much engaged in the course of the day with the enterprise they were employed in, expecting muskets to be fired at them from every bush, that they all jumped up, seized their arms, and were some time before they could undeceive themselves, that they were really not attacked."

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Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:17 am
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From The Times, October 28, 1818:

" ...... a few weeks since, a fellow who had enlisted in the Marines at Portsmouth, and received his full bounty, was discovered to have a very bad leg in three or four days after; and it turned out that he had contrived to cause the leg to be in that desperate state himself, with the view of defrauding the Officer of the bounty-money; for it was proved by his wife and others, that he made an incision in the flesh just upon the shinbone, and put a copper halfpenny on the wound, which almost immediately caused a very severe gangrene. But he ultimately paid most dearly for his speculation, as a mortification having ensued, to save his life, the surgeons were under the necessity of cutting off the leg ...."




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Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:53 am
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Mil Goose wrote:
he made an incision in the flesh just upon the shinbone, and put a copper halfpenny on the wound, which almost immediately caused a very severe gangrene. But he ultimately paid most dearly for his speculation, as a mortification having ensued, to save his life, the surgeons were under the necessity of cutting off the leg

Oo...ouch. Bad idea, indeed!

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Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:08 pm
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....some of these lads fit this thread ....

From The Times, May 4th, 1818:

" .... On Wednesay, 17 Midshipmen passed examination at the Royal Naval College , Portsmouth, as candidates for the rank of Lieutenant. Three were turned back for six months, for copying from each other's papers...."




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Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:54 am
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From the Naval Chronicle (Volume VIII).

"[13 Jul 1802]...the Carnatic, of 74 guns...was paid off in Hamoaze...the crew received seven years pay, two of the poor fellows got intoxicated at dock, and were robbed of all their property..."

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Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:16 am
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From The Times, October 2. 1807:

".... Another instance has occurred of the hazard of those enterprizes, in which our Officers engage beyond the limits of their orders. The Captain of the Chichester. of 44 guns, employed as a store-ship, in his way to Bermuda, to which he was carrying troops, took it in his head to attempt to carry Barracon, a settlement, on the East-end of Cuba, by a coup-de-main. For this purpose, a Captain, two Subalterns, and about 100 men, were landed. The attempt failed. The whole of the party disembarked were either killed or taken, and the Chichester with difficulty escaped, with five feet water in her hold, having received several shot between wind and water from the two batteries, two of which had French colours flying. .... "

I suppose if the aforementioned chappie had pulled it off, he'd have been hailed as the nation's hero.....



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Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:00 am
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Mil,

Very likely, but it sounds as though he hadn't put enough thought into the enterprise. Obviously he also hadn't been given permission from his superiors either and from whom he probably had a ticking off, if not worse.

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Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:10 pm
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From the Naval Chronicle (Volume VII, 1802):

"Yesterday some sailors of the Impetueux, of 84 guns, Captain Sir E. Pellew, Bart. drank so excessively of raw spirits as to expire in a few hours; another seaman laid down before a fire in a Public House at dock intoxicated, and expired almost instantly."

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Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:10 am
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The Times, July 13th, 1795:


" .. On Thursday se'nnight the Surgeon of the Savage sloop of war, lying in Shields harbour, went on shore to procure cash for a bill; he was seen in the company of four women of the town, with whom he went into a house at the Low Lights; and was afterwards seen to come out of it, but finding he had been robbed of his money, he returned; and it is supposed the women had murdered him, and thrown him into the river. The corps[sic] was found on Saturday; his throat had been cut, and his body wounded in several places. The four women have since been committed to Morpeth gaol. ...."



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Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:14 am
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From Salt Water Sketches; Being Incidents in the Life of Daniel Goodall (1860):

The body of a French officer had been found floating in the water offshore by Amelia. Captain Irby ordered that the body be brought aboard and that the officer's personal effects be taken off the body before burial so they could be sent back to the officer's family in France. There was a ring on one of the fingers and Irby said that it should be removed if it could be done without cutting the finger off.

"The maintop-man [who had pointed out the ring] said he would take it off, but after some ineffectual efforts to remove it he found he had undertaken rather a difficult task, owing to the fingers being swollen, and at length he had recourse to his teeth, with which he managed to bring away the ring, but at the same time drew some of the skin and muscle along with it into his mouth, to the intense disgust of the Captain and other on lookers."

Ick!

"After this long Bill Clarke, as the maintop-man was called, bore the nickname of the man-eater on board..."

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Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:46 am
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Post Re: Bad Idea
"A court-martial was held on board the Victory on the 17th, and Mr. G. Bellis, a Mate of the Excellent, tried for neglect of duty and disobedience of orders, viz., leaving the deck during his watch, and going below to have a smoke. The court sentenced him to be severely reprimanded, and to be considered ineligible for promotion until he had served two additional years."

From: United Service Magazine (Jan 1845).

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