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 Odd/Strange Incidents 
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Post Odd/Strange Incidents
This summary from Terence Grocott's Shipwrecks of the Revolutionary & Napoleonic Eras:

"Two seamen were being 'flogged around the fleet' (from ship to ship), and when alongside the Mars, while the delinquents were receiving their punishment, the greater part of the crew were leaning over the rail (as is usual upon these occasions), when the stanchions gave way and nearly 200 fell over the side. Although there were many broken limbs, there were no deaths..."

If anyone knows of any other odd tales, please feel free to add to this thread.

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Sat Aug 07, 2004 6:11 am
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Odd detail related to the subject of sailors cheering while their ship is in action. From William Nugent Glascock's Naval Sketch-Book:

"A curious circumstance is related of the Colossus, at the battle of Trafalgar, in which she suffered so severely. In the heat of the action, one of the hen-coops being shot away on the poop, a cock flew on the shoulder of Captain Morris, then severely wounded; and, as if his pugnacious spirit had been roused by the furious conflict he witnessed, flapped his wings and crowed lustily in that situation, to the no small encouragement of the seamen: who, determining not to be outdone by the gallant little biped, swore he was true game, and giving him three cheers, continued the engagement with redoubled alacrity."

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Wed Aug 18, 2004 7:05 am
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Post More Tragic than Odd/Strange
From the Naval Chronicle:

"On Sunday, 12th July [1807], an exceedingly melancholy accident happened at Portsmouth:—Mrs. Greenway, wife of Lieutenant Greenway, of his Majesty's ship Plantagenet, went on board that ship, which was in dock, to see its various parts. On looking down the main-hole, she was suddenly seized with a giddiness, her foot slipped, and she fell down the main-hatchway into the hold; her head striking against the iron ballast, she was killed instantly. Her neck was dislocated, and her skull dreadfully fractured. The distressed feelings of her husband, who was present with her, cannot be described. She was lately Miss Maypowder, of Totness, and had been married about nine months."

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Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:50 am
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Post Female Sailors
From the 1 Jul 1846 issue of The Scotsman:

FEMALE SAILORS AT LIVERPOOL.—Much curiousity was excited in Liverpool on Monday week, by the discovery that two girls from Hull, named Harriet Palmer and Caroline Sarah Abbey, aged 17 and 18, had dressed themselves in sailors' attire, and offered to enter the royal navy. It appears that the girls were servants at the Blue Bell Inn, Hull, and had heard such descriptions of a seafaring life from their sweethearts, who were sailors, as to conceive a strong desire to go to sea. They consequently laid aside their female attire, purchased seamen's dresses, and left Hull on Thursday by the railway train for Manchester. On their arrival here, their funds were exhausted, and they were forced to walk to Liverpool, where they arrived on Friday morning. They applied at several shipping offices for berths on board a merchant vessel, but without success; and then they offered to enter as boys on board a man-of-war, at the naval office. Their offer was accepted, and they were handed over to the surgeon for medical examination, when it was discovered that they were girls in masquerade. They still pressed, however, their services; but as they were of course inadmissible, they were talken to the parish office, and have since been clothed in the usual habiliments of their sex, and sent back to Hull.

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Mon May 02, 2005 7:26 am
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From "A Strange Sail" by "Antonio Ciego" in the February 1831 USJ:

"In the Cleopatra during a dark night, we came up unexpectedly alongside of a large ship, which being hailed, answered 'Marc Antony;' she, in her turn, asked 'What ship?' and the response was 'Cleopatra.' This is one of those coincidences often met with in the events of the world. A similar one occurred at a British port about two years ago, in the arrival, on the 18th of June, of the ships Wellington and Waterloo."

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Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:38 pm
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From A History of Plymouth (1873) by Llewellynn Jewitt, listed under the year 1816 (no specific month/day), there is this bit:

"On removing the pulpit in Charles' Church during alterations, the leaden coffins containing the bodies of Capt. Richard Kerby and Captain Cooper Wade, who were shot in Plymouth Sound for cowardice in the action between Benbow and Du Casse, in 1702, were discovered."

I wonder if they were left there or if they were reburied elsewhere.

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Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:40 pm
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From Narrative of a Voyage to Hudson's Bay in His Majesty's Ship Rosamond (1817) by Edward Chappell:

"Previous to our sailing from Spithead, a shipwright belonging to the dock-yard had been accidentally killed, by our having fired a signal-gun without taking out the shot. Unfortunately, the poor man's wife, at the moment of his death, was pregnant of her tenth child. A subscription was instantly opened for her, on board our ship, and £60 was the next day paid into her hands. I have since been informed, that the different ships at Spithead followed our example, as did also the workmen of the Dock-yard; and a handsome sum was collected in the whole."


:(

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Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:23 am
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From The Journal of an Oriental Voyage, in His Majesty's Ship Africaine (1841) by Richard Blakeney, who was a Marine officer:

"On the 30th, the ship struck very violently, going eleven knots an hour. Being in the middle of the Southern Ocean, and not expecting land, our situation for the moment was rather alarming, particularly to those below, who immediately flew on deck. It was discovered that we had struck on a whale, and a great quantity of blood was seen at the stern of the ship. The man at the mast-head said he saw something floating like a whale, but having seen several of them during his look-out, he did not conceive it necessary to report it. The whale must have been either asleep or sick when the ship struck."

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Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:13 am
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From Thomas Whitaker's bio in Marshall's Royal Naval Biography:

"Lost the sight of an eye while serving as midshipman, occasioned, we have been told, by a biscuit thrown at him while skylarking in the cockpit berth of a 74."

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Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:09 am
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From the Obituary section in the Naval Chronicle (Volume III):

"Jan. 6 [1800]. At Gosport, an aged seaman, named EDWARD HARDCASTLE. He was celebrated for the following exploit: During the visit which the Duke of York paid to Admiral Rodney, on board the Marlborough, in 1761, he got to the very top of the vane of the main-mast, and stood there on his head, waving his hat several times with his foot. He received a present from his Royal Highness, with a request not to repeat so dangerous a proof of his dexterity."

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Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:53 am
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From The Times of December 4th, 1794 regarding news from Falmouth, dated November 29th:

" ..... a vessel belong to Hambro', loaded with brandy, from Bordeaux, was run down off the Lizard; 9 out of 16 were drowned; amongst whom was Capt. Smith, of the Alert sloop of war, who had long been a prisoner in France, but who had contrived to be conveyed, in a chest, on board the said ship, and was got in sight of his native shore when the fatal accident happened ....both ship and cargo are entirely lost......"

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Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:47 am
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From The Times, July 17, 1795 in news from Chatham:

"..... on Friday evening an uncommon instance of desperation was nearly carried into effect on this river; the prison ship, for the reception of deserters, of which abut thirty were on board, was by them scuttled...the sergeant of the guard observing the ship sinking, went ashore to the dock-yard for assistance which he procured, and cut her from her moorings and hauled her ashore; as the tide was running down, it was the only means of saving the lives of those unhappy wretches, who had not only premeditated their own death, but that of all on board...."

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Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:27 pm
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The Times, September 13, 1804:

" .....PLYMOUTH, September 10......Went up the Hornet, of 18 guns, Captain C Sheppard, to refit off the Hoe....she fired a gun for the master attendant's boats for assistance, which proved to be shotted....the shot, a nine-pounder, whizzed by three gentlemen on the Hoe...it passed over the heads also of a gentleman and his family above the town, and fell in a field in a straight direction from off the Hoe....."

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Last edited by Mil Goose on Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:54 am
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From The Times, August 28, 1793:

".....Portsmouth, October 25 ..... Lieut. M'TUGOT is committed to prison by Mr Bingham; but not so much for cutting the man's nose off, as for snapping at the Rev. Justices.........."

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Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:56 am
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From The Times September 3, 1822:

" .... Sheerness, Sept.1.... Captain Owen, of the Bellerophon, was placed on Thursday in the most imminent peril. A convict, newly brought here from Maidstone gaol, stabbed him with a clasp knife in the heart, just belong the nipple. Providentially the knife struck a rib, otherwise the wound must have proved immediately fatal. The wound, as it was, had the appearance of danger at first, but Capt. Owen is now considered free of it. ...."

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Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:26 pm
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