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Sailors’ Rebellion – A Century of Naval Mutinies

By: J. G. Bullocke (710/35909)
Publisher: Eyre & Spottiswoode

Mr Bullocke’s account of six outstanding mutinies in the English Navy is of exceptional interest, not only for the drama of the stories themselves but because their lessons, despite the changes which time has brought about, both in the conditions of the service and the character of its officers and men, are by no means without value today.

The first case to be considered is the Officers’ Mutiny against Admiral Benbow in the West Indies in 1702. Benbow has always been something of a mystery, but Mr Bullocke is able to throw new light upon him from papers only recently made available.

Next comes the mutiny in the Wager, cast away on the coast of Patagonia, in which the crew claimed that from the moment of shipwreck they ceased to be subject to naval discipline. This is followed by the now well-known mutiny on the Bounty, in which the writer endeavours to hold the balance evenly between Bligh and his men.

The Spithead Mutiny was a revolt on a large scale against horribly bad conditions, amazing for the admirable organisation and self-discipline of the mutineers. The Nore was an offshoot of the Spithead Mutiny, less justifiable and less well organised, notable chiefly for the activities of the notorious Richard Parker. Lastly comes the story of the martinet par-excellence, Captain Pigot of the Hermione, and the violent mutiny of his crew.

August 2008


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