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By Gregory Fremont-Barnes

Immortalized in literature via such characters as C. S. Forester's 'Horatio Hornblower' and Patrick O'Brian's 'Jack Aubrey', the officials and midshipmen of the Royal military throughout the innovative (1792-1802) and Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) ran the ships that defended nice Britain opposed to the specter of French invasion. this era observed the Royal military in attaining its such a lot momentous victories on the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar, victories that laid the foundation for a interval of British naval and imperial supremacy that will final a century.

The males who commanded those ships went via a protracted apprenticeship, usually going to sea on the age of 12 or more youthful. they can serve for as much as 60 years, progressing throughout the ranks in a carrier that rewarded luck in conflict and benefit to a miles higher volume than the modern British Army.

This identify, the significant other quantity to Warrior 100: Nelson's Sailors, describes the tough realities of existence within the Georgian Royal military for all ranks of officer from the bottom midshipman to the main senior admiral and covers the exploits of guys akin to Horatio Nelson and Thomas Cochrane who supplied the foundation for the fictitious figures that stay so well known to today.

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Nelson's Officers and Midshipmen

Immortalized in literature via such characters as C. S. Forester's 'Horatio Hornblower' and Patrick O'Brian's 'Jack Aubrey', the officials and midshipmen of the Royal military in the course of the innovative (1792-1802) and Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) ran the ships that defended nice Britain opposed to the specter of French invasion.

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Extra info for Nelson's Officers and Midshipmen

Sample text

Anyone who seemed fit enough for a seafaring life was dragged away, though occasionally members of his family or a sympathetic crowd would come to his rescue, not always successfully. Press gangs did not carry firearms or edged weapons on such excursions, apart from the occasional cutlass, and even then they were wielded more to intimidate than to cause harm. Clubs and belaying pins were, however, resorted to when necessary. Watermen and merchantmen were particularly sought after, as well as dockside labourers.

If a captain called a court martial, this body consisted of between five and 13 members. The procedure was similar to its civil equivalent on land, except that the members, who served in lieu of a jury, were all officers – hardly a trial by one’s peers if the defendant happened to be an ordinary seaman. If the court martial found the accused guilty, flogging, sometimes with hundreds of lashes, could result. The most draconian form was ‘flogging round the fleet’, by which the convicted party was rowed to every ship in harbour and given a specified number of lashes – sometimes with fatal consequences.

The captain was on deck in a moment, and ere it was well light, the signals were flying through the fleet to bear up and form the order of sailing in two columns. com With the bulkheads removed from his cabin and all other partitions down the entire length of the ship stowed in the hold – thus creating an unimpeded gun deck – the captain would issue general orders and might devote some time to write to his wife before conducting a tour of the ship, offering encouraging words and appealing to the men’s patriotism as he went.

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