Sailing Navies 1650-1850

Salted Heads
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Author:  timoneer [ Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:42 am ]
Post subject:  Salted Heads

Salted Heads

Captain Thomas Middleton, serving as a privateer during the Venetian-Turkish war, was dismissed for cowardice because his own vessel was put in a very dangerous position in the line of battle and he moved it (his source of livelihood) without orders. On his way away from the Dardanelles, he chanced upon a Turkish fleet of twenty-five (including 18 galleys). This fleet, crying out that they would "eat English beef for dinner," attacked Middleton’s ship, which had only 50 Englishmen aboard.

During repeated boarding attempts by the Turks, Middleton killed 1500 and wounded twice that number. The Turkish fleet was so shattered that it could barely get away in the light airs and these same light airs and Middleton’s damaged sails and rigging would not let him follow. After completing repairs, he sailed to Candia and presented to the General there a ton of salted heads cut from the bodies of his Turkish foes. He was presented with a gold chain and medal for valor.

Note: I believe that for this section in his "Deeds of Naval Daring," Giffard’s original source was a letter which I found on-line dated 23 May, 1666, written by Roger, Earl of Castlemayne to King Charles II. Truly the most ghoulish thing I have read in the AoS.


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