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 Accidents 
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From The Times of December 8, 1833:

" ..... DEAL - Last week the following melancholy and fatal accident happened on board the Stag frigate, in the Downs, which has occasioned considerable regret in that ship. A midshipman enjoying a frolic aloft with several of his companions, in the dangerous pastime unfortunately missed a rope he was endeavouring to catch, and fell in contact with a gun on the deck. The unfortunate sufferer never uttered a syllable, and died almost immediately. On Sunday the corpse was conveyed for interment to the burial ground attached to the Naval Hospital, attended by the officers and part of the crew. - Kentish Herald. ......"




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Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:24 am
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From The Times of February 8, 1820:

" ..... A shocking accident occurred on board his Majesty's ship Lee, on Wednesday afternoon, at Plymouth, whilst firing the Royal salute. A seaman, named Turner, was ramming home one of the carronades, when it exploded, and blew the poor fellow into the sea. Mr Bothbury, a midshipman, on observing the catastrophe, immediately jumped overboard, with the intention of the saving the unfortunate suffered, but he sunk instantly ......"


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Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:18 am
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From The Times of June 24, 1807:

" ..... a Court Martial was held on Friday, at Plymouth on Mr E Handfield, Midshipman of the Pomone, on a charge of having occasioned the death of John Williams, seaman, of that ship. Mr Handfield was sent by his Captain for his pistols, when going up with them to the quarter-deck, Mr H had to stoop under a rope, the pistol in his right hand went off, and lodged the contents in the body of Williams. It was proved to be unpremeditated and perfectly accidental......"




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Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:19 pm
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An item from The Doctor as published in The Scotsman (19 Oct 1836):

Salivation of a Ship's Crew by Accident.—One of the medical commissioners of the Royal Navy (Dr Burnett) has given an account of the whole crew of a King's ship, amounting to 200 persons, who were affected with salivation to a high degree by the bursting of some vessels containing quicksilver. Many lost their teeth, and two died. All the live stock, consisting of pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, cats, dogs, rats, and birds, were also put under its effects; even the decks of the ship were covered with a black powder. Several tons of quicksilver were scattered about the ship, which from rolling about became oxydized, and it is supposed affected the atmosphere.

***

I was curious about why the ship was carrying so much mercury. I looked a bit more into this and found a more detailed article in the Medico-Chirurgical Review (1824).

The ship in question was the Triumph, 74. The quicksilver had been salvaged from a Spanish ship that had been wrecked (near Cadiz) in a gale in March 1810. About 130 tons were taken aboard. Most of it was stowed in the bread room.

The quicksilver was in bladders in small barrels, which were in boxes. Due to the effects of heat and dampness, the bladders rotted and the quicksilver leaked out.

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Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:44 pm
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From the Naval Chronicle (Vol. 3), an accident at Plymouth, dated 2 Mar 1800:

"Last night a gun left shotted was fired from a man of war in Hamoaze, which struck a ship a few yards distance, and knocked off a seaman's arm, which was so much shattered, he was conveyed to the Royal Hospital for amputation."

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On 1st May, 1834 the frigates USS UNITED STATES and USS CONSTELLATION were lying in the French port of Toulon. The UNITED STATES prepared 24 guns for a 21 gun salute in honour of the birthday of Louis Phillippe of France. The salute went off smoothly until the firing of the 18th gun which sounded as though a shot had been fired from it. The Gunner assured the Lieutenant that all guns were unshotted and the salute was continued. Upon the firing of the 20th gun the Lieutenant was convinced that a shot had been fired and suspended the salute. It was soon evident that the last three guns had been shotted. The 18th gun had hit a shore battery, damaging an embrasure. The 19th gun had sent a solid shot into the side of the French ship of the line SUFFREN, causing damage and the death of several sailors. The SUFFREN beat to quarters and was preparing to fire a broadside into the UNITED STATES when a boat from the latter came alongside to explain the situation.


Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:54 am
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From The Gentleman's Magazine (1846):

"Feb. 22. On board Her Majesty's ship Herald, in the Pacific, aged 23, Mr. [Thomas] Edmonstone, botanist to the expedition. A loaded rifle being accidentally touched by one of the men, it went off and passed through his head, killing him instantly. ...His remains were buried on shore on the following day."

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Wed May 13, 2009 6:42 am
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Post Re: Accidents
From the Naval Chronicle (Volume I):

"Lieutenant Branston, of the Marines, slipped his foot on going down the side of the Yarmouth hulk, lying at Plymouth, as was unfortunately drowned. He was going to the Dock Concert; and was a very fine young man, and much respected. It is supposed he struck his head against the side of the ship, and was killed before he fell in the water."

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Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:06 am
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Post Re: Accidents
The Times. December 26th, 1795:

”...... A most melancholy accident happened on Thursday se’nnight; a young lad, midshipman of the Indefatigable, having had leave to go to Truro to see his friends, he went into the kitchen, and taking up a fowling piece, which was unfortunately loaded, it accidentally went off, killed one woman on the spot, and another was dangerously wounded in the eye. The fowling piece had but just before been brought into the house by a servant returned from shooting. .....

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Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:48 pm
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Post Re: Accidents
From Recollections of James Anthony Gardner: Commander R.N. 1775–1814:

"We had a brewery on shore which supplied the squadron with spruce beer. I was on shore at this brewery when one of our men unfortunately fell into the boiling coppers and died the same day in a most deplorable condition. It was said that the beer was sent off (of course by mistake) to the squadron, and I think some little demur was made about drinking it and it was sent back."

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Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:42 am
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Post Re: Accidents
From the United Service Journal (June 1840):

"A most distressing accident happened on board the Thunderer, while going out of harbour, during the time she was saluting the flag, off Mutton Cove. It seems that a man who was stationed in the chains to heave the lead, had, by some inadvertency, placed himself in a position by which he was exposed to the explosion of one of the quarter-deck guns; and not having been observed in that situation, the consequences was that the poor fellow was literally blown to pieces."

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Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:18 pm
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Post Re: Accidents
From Volume 89 of the Gentleman's Magazine (1819):

"By the accidental discharge of his gun in passing through a hedge, while partridge shooting, the contents of which entered his head, Lieut. Stephen Cousins, R.N. a resident of the neighbourhood of Abergavenny."

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Fri May 06, 2011 7:43 pm
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Post Re: Accidents
From Recollections of James Anthony Gardner: Commander R.N. 1775–1814:

"I was speaking to the man at the wheel when a sheet of ice fell out of the mizzen top and knocked both of us down. It gave me a severe blow on the shoulder and the other a staggering thump on the back."

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Post Re: Accidents
The Times, November 8th, 1794

"..........Rear-Admiral Bourmaster retires from the service, in consequence of an accident which he met with in getting from the ship into his barge, which has very materially affected his health. ....."

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