HISTORIEK HISTORIQUE  HISTORIC

 

 

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H.M.S. PALLAS: HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF AN 18th-CENTURY ROYAL NAVY FRIGATE(II)

 

                                                CHAPTER IV


CONSTRUCTION
A variety of sources are available pertaining to the hull design and construction of 18th-century Royal Navy warships. Admiralty drafts, like most Royal Navy records of the period have been preserved in the National Maritime Museum Archive. Given the Royal Navy’s focus on standardization during this period it is possible to make certain assumptions regarding the construction of all British warships based on admiralty plans. Nevertheless, identical designs submitted to different shipyards never resulted in identical ships. However, it was expected that all contracted ships would conform to general admiralty standards. While lacking detail and often containing inconsistencies, these plans do serve as a good starting point for a theoretical reconstruction.
Unfortunately, a complete set of Pallas’ Admiralty plans has not survived. However, an incomplete set of drafts includes Sir Thomas Slade’s individual deck and construction plans, and these can be supplemented with the surviving lines for sister ship, Brilliant (Fig. 3). These 1/48- scale drafts define the major scantlings and provide the designer’s intent regarding structural features, general layout, and use of space. Many of the key timbers of the keel, stem, sternpost, and mast steps are prominently included in these drafts and should be consistent throughout the class. Also, during the first half of the 18th century, the Navy Board produced a series of lists giving basic measurements as construction guidelines for each rate of warship. These Establishment lists provide specific dimensions for most major timbers and some iron hardware. The shipwrights building Pallas would have been expected to conform to the 1745 Establishment, which gives dimensions for 44-gun two deck ships and 24-gun single deck ships, but does not yet address the new 32 and 36-gun cruisers. Nevertheless, they do provide absolute dimension parameters and allow for further refinement of the Admiralty drafts. These important sources provide a strong foundation for a graphic reconstruction.
As much as possible the results of archaeological investigations will be applied. However, little remains of Pallas herself therefore the majority of archaeological evidence must be extrapolated from the closest parallels investigated to date—principally the remains of the 44- gun ship HMS Charon sunk off Yorktown in 1781 and the 24-gun frigate HMS Pandora sunk off the Australian coast in 1791.
To build upon this foundation, further details have been gathered from a variety of reliable contemporary sources. The majority of period shipbuilding treatises focus primarily on the increasingly complex mathematical design theories being applied to the derivation of ships’ lines. However, at times they do offer clues to actual shipbuilding practices. Fewer sources provide a clear idea of the engineering method, actual construction processes and carpentry techniques of English shipwrights of the period. Fewer still contain significant useful data. Nevertheless, several indispensable works remain and augment the Admiralty drafts and Establishment lists. One such work is Blaise Ollivier’s Remarks on the Navies of the English & the Dutch (1737). As mentioned previously Ollivier was Master Shipwright for the French naval shipyard at Brest from 1736 until his death in 1746. His credentials are strengthened by the fact that he has been credited with the invention of the frigate. In 1737, he was sent to spy on English and Dutch naval shipbuilding facilities and report his findings. Ollivier’s Remarks provide a highly informative narrative of English naval shipbuilding practices throughout the country, including most notably those at Deptford where Pallas would be laid down less than 20 years later. Another invaluable primary source is the anonymous work The Shipbuilder’s Repository (1789). It contains comprehensive scantling lists for every class of Royal Navy warship from the period. Although anonymous, it is both authoritative and accurate, and has been accepted by shipwrights and historians alike since its publication. However, because warships of all classes continued to grow in dimensions throughout the period, the basic scantlings given (length, beam, and tonnage) for a 32-gun ship from 1789 more closely represent those of 36-gun Pallas and will be used for the purpose of this reconstruction. Further useful primary sources include William Sutherland’s The Shipwright’s Assistant (1711), David Steel’s The Shipwright’s Vade Mecum (1805), and Mungo Murray’s A Treatise on ship-building and navigation (1754)All contain valuable procedural construction details unavailable elsewhere. However, both Sutherland and Steel are too far removed chronologically for their specific timber dimensions to be applicable.
Another useful source is found in contemporary ship models. Along with the Admiralty drafts, 1/48-scale models were commonly submitted to the navy board for approval. Many of these models have survived to the present in both Admiralty and private collections. Examination of these models can often provide a great deal of insight into the rigging, fitting, internal layout and structural engineering of English warships for a given period.
One final primary source found to be particularly useful occurs in contemporary artwork. Small details can often be harvested from prints, paintings, watercolours, lithographs, sketches, or even the simplest caricature.
Secondary sources found to be especially useful include: Peter Goodwin’s The Construction and Fitting of the English Man of War 1650-1850, Brian Lavery’s Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War 1600-1815, Robert Gardiner’s The First Frigates, and the graphic reconstructions proposed in John McKay’s The 24-gun Frigate Pandora and David White’s The Frigate Diana. These works are, for the most part, based upon analysis of the previously mentioned treatises, artwork and Admiralty models but also provide detailed drawings and descriptions for specific elements during specific timeframes.

 

                                                                CHAPTER V

LIFE ABOARD AN 18TH-CENTURY ROYAL NAVY FRIGATE

The field of nautical archaeology has focused, for the most part, on the ships themselves and to a lesser degree on recovered artefacts. Consideration has been given primarily to the methods and circumstances of construction, to aspects of the political, environmental and economic conditions that may have influenced design, and to the circumstances surrounding their ultimate demise. Very little emphasis has been placed on the study of physical, environmental, and social conditions of the men that lived, sailed and, in many cases, died on these ships. There has been a collective tendency to sterilize, when what is needed is a move to humanize a ship and its collection of artefacts. Nautical archaeologists are, after all, cultural anthropologists whose ultimate goal should be the study of mankind based upon analysis of material culture. Historians, on the other hand, perhaps because many view themselves more as humanists than scientists, have devoted more consideration to shipboard life. What follows is an examination of the living conditions common throughout the British fleet during the 18th century focusing specifically on HMS Pallas wherever possible. Topics addressed include shipboard hierarchy, duties and discipline, pay and benefits, accommodations, food, clothing, health and hygiene, and leisure activities


Entering the Service

There were three ways for the common seaman to enter the service of the Royal Navy. He could enter as a young apprentice bound to an officer patron, volunteer of his own free will or, during wartime, be pressed onto service.

Contrary to popular perceptions, 18th-century press gangs did not wander the streets clubbing able-bodied men over the head and depriving them of their liberty. In practice, press gangs were generally very selective and took only seafaring men or those possessing experience in maritime related industries.1 Men illegally impressed had legal recourse to regain their freedom. However there were many cases in which such individuals, upon receiving their legal release, chose instead to remain and serve.

There is a great deal of information regarding the methods employed by the navy to address the manpower shortfall during this period. However, navy records of recruitment activities make it impossible to establish any meaningful numbers or ratios for each type of recruitment. This is primarily because these records speak simply of ‘recruits’ (defined as volunteers and pressed men) and ‘losses’ (defined as discharges, desertions and deaths). A number of record-keeping errors resulted from this. Men who deserted from one vessel quite often found themselves pressed into the service of another by the end of the same week. Ships returning home often had large portions of their crews pressed onto other outbound ships before they reached port, as pressing at sea was a common practice; it is clear that the navy’s records included only those men recruited on land.

The navy reckoned that a year at sea made an ‘ordinary’ seaman and two years made an ‘able’ seaman. Captains typically considered a crew composition of one-third able seamen, one-third ordinary, and one-third landsmen as the absolute minimum acceptable ratio required to safely operate a ship.


Shipboard Hierarchy, Duties and Responsibilities

Every man that joined a ship’s company was assigned a rating by the captain or first lieutenant. The rating was recorded in the muster book and determined pay scale and duties.

Boys and new volunteers were usually the lowest rates followed by landsmen, ordinary seamen and able seamen, petty officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers.
The ideal compliment for a 36-gun 5th-rate warship of the 1750’s consisted of 240 men: four commissioned officers, 14 warrant officers, 36 petty officers, six idlers, 104-132 seamen and 45 marines with the remainder being servants and widow’s men. Widow’s men, fictitious seamen whose wages were contributed to the pension fund, were borne on the ship’s books at a rate of two for every hundred crew.

The Pallas’ commissioned officers consisted of a captain and three lieutenants. The captain was in overall command of his vessel and its crew and was responsible for its sailing, manning, and upkeep. Before sailing, he was expected to oversee the assignment of ratings to the members of the crew and to draw up and post ‘watch,’ ‘division,’ ‘station,’ and ‘quarter’ lists. He was expected to obtain from the Clerk of the Survey a book listing the inventory of stores allotted to the boatswain, carpenter, gunner and purser of his ship and to confirm that it was in agreement with the individual inventories of those men. He was not permitted to make alterations to the spars, sails, or hull of his ship. Finally, he was expected to keep a complete journal recording the activities of the ship and its crew and to sign and submit a copy to the Admiralty and Navy Office after each voyage.

Each lieutenant was expected to keep a list of the men in his watch and to frequently muster them, reporting any deficiencies to the captain. He was expected to visit below decks at night to see that there was no disorder, to ensure against unauthorized fire, candles or smoking, and to report any infractions to the captain. He was not permitted to change the course of the ship without orders except to avoid immediate danger. No boats were permitted to arrive or depart without the permission of the lieutenant on duty. In action, he was expected to ensure that the men were at their proper action stations performing their duties. The senior lieutenant assumed command of the ship in the event of the captain’s absence, illness or death. Lieutenants were required to supply themselves with the necessary instruments, maps, and books of navigation and, like the Captain, to keep a journal to be turned over to the Admiralty at the end of each voyage.

The function of the master was to assist the captain in overseeing the fitting out of the ship. He was expected to oversee the loading of all stores, and to report any damaged goods to the captain. He was in charge of the receiving, loading, and distribution of ballast; he supervised the loading of the hold, and continually oversaw the redistribution of stores over the course of the voyage to ensure the ship’s trim. He was charged with ensuring that compasses, glasses, log, and lead lines were kept in good order, and was responsible for navigating the ship in accordance with the orders of his captain or other superiors. He was further charged with observing all coasts and waterways and recording any new navigational details observed. When at anchor, he was responsible for keeping the hawse clear of fouls and obstructions. Finally, the master was expected to monitor and sign the accounts and logs of those below him and to ensure that he was thoroughly acquainted with their contents. Like the other officers, the master was required to supply himself with the necessary maps, instruments, and books of navigation and to keep a journal to be turned over to the Admiralty at the end of each voyage.

The boatswain was in overall charge of the rigging, cable, anchors, cordage, and canvas—stores that he was expected to jealously guard against excessive waste. He was to inspect the rigging every morning and report his findings to the captain, to assist in changing the watches, and to ensure that the men carried out their duties. He was responsible for his own accounts, which had to be audited and vouched for by both the captain and master before being turned over to the Surveyor of the Navy.

The sailmaker was required to inspect all of the sails taken onboard ship and to attend all surveys and conversions of the sails and rigging. He was expected to keep all of the sails in good repair and fit for service and was responsible for the drying and storage of all sails not in use. He was also expected to assist with hammocks and was instructed by the boatswain to cut up useless scraps of canvas to patch hammocks. Gabriel Bray’s sketch “The sailmaker ticketing hammocks on board the Pallas, November 1774” suggests that the sailmaker may also have been, in part, responsible for overseeing the stowage of hammocks.

The gunner was in charge of the guns, gunnery tools, and stores of powder, ammunition and small arms. He was expected to oversee the maintenance and securing of the guns and their mountings. Before every voyage, he was required to apply to the storekeeper of His Majesty’s ordnance for the ship’s allotment of gunnery stores. He was expected to notify the captain when powder was brought aboard and to ensure the security and safety of the powder rooms.

The carpenter oversaw the upkeep of the ship and ensured that the hull was sound and free of leaks. He was responsible for the maintenance of masts, yards, bulkheads, and cabins and for ensuring that the pumps were in good working order. He was to examine the masts several times a day and to report his findings to the officer of the watch. He was to keep a sufficient quantity of shot plugs made at all times, and during engagements, he and his crew were expected to continually inspect the hold for leaks. Upon reaching port, the carpenter was required to draw up a report of the condition of the ship’s hull, masts and yards, and any repairs that were required.

The surgeon took charge of the sick and injured. He was responsible for the sick berth, for organizing additional space when necessary, and was able to draw on the crew for additional help. The surgeon was required to pay particular attention to the cleanliness of the sick berth and to the overall cleanliness of the ship. He was to visit between decks every morning and make a report to the captain. In foreign ports, the surgeon was expected to visit the local hospital and sick houses every second day (Tuesday and Thursday mornings in English ports) and submit a written report to the captain. Finally, the surgeon was expected to be present when punishments were administered.

The purser had the key to the steward’s store and was responsible for the inspection, maintenance, and distribution of its contents. It was his responsibility to procure funds from the navy and deliver them to the victualler, to ensure the honesty of the cook with regard to purchasing and dressing victuals, and to ensure the cleanliness of the steward’s room. Like most jobs, responsibilities varied depending upon the captain; according to one captain, the purser was responsible for the candles in the lanterns taken on deck at night. The purser kept the ship’s crew lists and the pay books, and was expected to provide the captain with a weekly report on the expenditure and inventory of all types of goods.

The cook was responsible for the steep tub and answerable for the meat put therein. He soaked the meat to remove the salt and then boiled it. He oversaw the preparation, division, and distribution of the ship’s food, and was expected to cut the meat ration fairly with regard to both quantity and quality. He ensured fair distribution of all foodstuff, being always on the lookout for messes trying to sneak a double ratio—a not infrequent occurrence.
Few frigates had a chaplain, if one was present, he served much the same purpose as his shore bound counterparts and in many cases also served as the shipboard schoolmaster. The schoolmaster was certified by the navy and was expected to instruct volunteers in writing, mathematics, and the theory and practice of navigation. He was expected to oversee the education of the boys according to a curriculum set out by his captain and to be diligent in his duty. He did not receive his pay without confirmation from his captain.

The armorer and gunsmith assisted the gunner in the survey and receipt of small arms. They were expected to be conscientious in cleaning and maintaining the small arms and to undertake their repairs when possible.

The master at arms drilled the petty officers and ship’s company daily in the use of small arms. He placed and relieved the sentinels and inspected their weapons to ensure their cleanliness and maintenance. He attended the arrival and departure of all boats to prevent seamen from leaving the ship without permission, and he was expected to work with the officer of the watch to maintain order aboard ship.
The thirty-six petty officers were composed of: two master’s mates, six midshipmen, a captain’s clerk, three quartermasters and three quartermaster’s mates, a boatswain’s mate, two yeoman of the sheets, a coxswain, a sailmaker’s mate, a gunner’s mate, a yeoman of the powder room, nine quarter gunners, a carpenter’s mate, a steward, two corporals, and a trumpeter. The idlers were composed of sailmaker’s crew and carpenter’s crew.

The ship’s company was divided into each of several groupings with each man assigned to specific stations and duties within each grouping. At sea, all men-of-war maintained at least two watches. The body of the crew up to the rank of petty officer was divided into starboard and larboard watches with one watch being on deck at all times. Only the non-seaman officers (the purser, carpenter, surgeon and chaplain), were exempt from standing watch and not expected to answer ‘all hands.’ Each watch was four hours long except for the two two-hour dogwatches between four and eight in the evening (Table 2). A petty officer kept a half-hour sandglass and rang the ship’s bell every time he turned the glass. No one on a watch got more than four hours of sleep at a time and often had to wake and turn out for ‘all hands’; this happened more frequently on smaller vessels like frigates and sloops. The master and the lieutenants took turns as watch officer. Pallas had four watch officers so each had 12 hours between watches.
The typical day at sea began when the navigation sightings were taken at noon. During the afternoon watch, the main meal of the day was eaten, the crew drilled and carried out routine maintenance, and the first grog ration of the day was issued. Supper was eaten during the dogwatches. During the first and middle watches the order was “hammocks down.” The morning began with the order ‘hammocks up” at 4 a.m. The men arose, bundled their hammocks and stowed them in their assigned location in the hammock cranes along the rail. The ship was thoroughly cleaned and breakfast was eaten. The forenoon watch consisted mainly of drilling and maintenance.

 

               

The crew was further divided into a number of divisions equal to the number of lieutenants with each lieutenant being responsible for the health and welfare of the sailors in his division. Each sailor had a particular ‘station’ for each of the ship’s specific manoeuvres. He was required to know where to be and what his job was for each manoeuvre. Each sailor was ‘quartered’ to a specific part of the ship while in action; most were quartered as gun crew but some were quartered as top men, magazine help, or powder monkeys. Some were quartered to assist the carpenter with damage control and others to the cockpit to assist the surgeon with casualties. Most men also had secondary duties while in action including trimming sails, fire fighting, working the pumps, repelling boarders, or serving in boarding parties. Finally the crew was divided into messes—usually about eight to twelve men who received and ate their food together.


Pay and Benefits

It has been proposed that the low rate of pay was one of the main reasons the Royal Navy had difficulty manning the fleet. An able seaman in the navy received twenty-four shillings, an ordinary seaman nineteen shillings, and a landsman eighteen shillings per month. From this was deducted sixpence a month for the Greenwich Hospital and one shilling to be divided between the surgeon, the chaplain, and the Chatham Chest—a pension established for wounded sailors and the widows of those killed in action. It was true that sailors could potentially earn much more serving aboard merchant ships or privateers, but like most government jobs, the lower pay scale came with certain benefits. A sailor in the navy was guaranteed his pay. A merchant sailor could spend months at sea and if the voyage was unprofitable he was liable to receive little or no pay; privateers received no pay, only a share in prizes taken at sea. Navy sailors could also expect to receive a share, albeit usually smaller, of prizes taken by their ship. Furthermore, the navy sailor had all of his overhead expenses taken care of; the navy provided food, a generous ration of alcohol and a place to sleep. Volunteers usually received an award or ‘bounty’ upon enlistment but the bulk of his pay was withheld until the end of his ship’s commission. Sailors discharged before then received a ticket redeemable on the date that that ship was paid off. When a navy sailor got paid, usually just before sailing on the next commission, he had few, if any, financial obligations. A navy sailor injured in the line of duty would be provided for by the Greenwich Hospital. If permanently disabled he could expect to receive a modest pension from the Chatham Chest for the remainder of his life.


Discipline and Punishment

Discipline in the modern sense of the word—as a code of behaviour imposed by the naval authority—did not exist per se in the 18th-century Royal Navy. Instead, what existed, amounted to a collective agreement amongst the seamen and officers to undertake the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the ship and the survival of its crew. The modern perception of perpetual animosity between the officers and crew has been greatly exaggerated. Seamen understood and respected the need for a structured chain of command and likewise most officers understood that extreme or unnecessary punishments only served to alienate the crew and adversely effected the smooth operation of the ship. According to the Royal Navy’s Articles of War-1757, officers aboard His Majesty’s ships of war had the right to maintain a solemn, orderly and reverent atmosphere free from profanity and drunkenness. The use of personal violence by officers and mates to encourage performance of duty, was accepted by the crew as a necessary means of maintaining discipline. However, even in this there was established structure and set boundaries to be observed. Officers and petty officers could reasonably coax a malingering sailor with a well-placed blow of a knotted rope or rattan stave (referred to as ‘starting’) but beating a man was not permitted. Striking a man’s face was considered unacceptable.

Punishment for crimes committed aboard 18th-century Royal Navy warships is difficult to quantify. The most common punishment was flogging and the most common offence was, by far, drunkenness. For misdemeanours, suspension of grog ration or menial labour was a typical punishment. Various punishments were designed both to confine and to humiliate the offender; a man could be seized into the rigging for a period of time or placed in leg irons on the deck—usually in a location where the entire ship’s company could see him. A man who had committed a crime against the ship’s crew, such as theft, could be sentenced to running the gauntlet—a punishment whereby all of the crew was given the opportunity to flog the offender as he passed among the assembled ship’s company. Officers and petty officers could be disrated but there was virtually nowhere to disrate an ordinary or able seaman.

According to the Admiralty’s Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty’s Service at Sea, no captain had the authority to administer more than twelve lashes. However, twelve lashes generally were seen by captains as the minimum punishment that justified assembling the ship’s company. Any crime deemed worthy of a more severe punishment had to be tried by court martial, but a court martial typically returned sentences too severe to suit intermediate crimes. Furthermore, the squadron or port second-in-command and a panel of at least five officers had to preside over a court martial. A ship at sea could go months without assembling a quorum and, in practice, captains carried out the punishments themselves, administering more than twelve lashes or other punishments based on the severity of the crime.

For more serious crimes a man could be keel hauled, or if in port, whipped through the fleet—taken from ship to ship and flogged in front of the assembled company of each. The only crimes dire enough to warrant capital punishment were espionage, cowardice or desertion in the face of the enemy, murder, and sodomy. Seamen were hung; officers were shot.

 

Accommodations
Hammocks first began to appear on Royal Navy warships in the early 17th century but it was not until the 18th century that they were officially adopted. In 1746, the Navy Board ordered that all ships be fitted with hammock cranes—a framework of U-shaped, wrought iron brackets mounted along the top of the rail. Hammocks were slung parallel to the keel of the ship on the gun deck so that all swung in unison as the ship rolled. On larger warships men were allotted as little as 18 inches in which to hang their hammock, but on frigates the ratio of crew to space available was greater leaving considerably more space to spread out. When hammocks were not in use, they were stowed in the hammock cranes and covered with canvas to form a sort of parapet. This served several purposes; it provided organized storage away from the gun deck, it acted as a windbreak and, in combat, it provided some protection from musket fire and flying splinters. Frigates and sloops, having proportionately smaller crews and consequently fewer hammocks, usually arranged those that they did have on the quarterdeck and forecastle rails. There were typically two hammocks issued per man but the boatswain ensured that the spares were conserved and protected against unnecessary or unauthorized use.

The sailors’ possessions were kept in large wooden sea chests that served both for storage and often as seating during mealtime and leisure. Like hammocks, each man’s sea chest was assigned a specific storage location.
The officers and some of the warrant officers had the comfort of semi-private quarters. A frigate captain had the entire after section of the main deck, below the quarterdeck, as his personal cabin. He did not have the day cabin or dining room that captains of larger ships enjoyed but they were still relatively spacious and private quarters. The lieutenants, master, gunner, and marine officer each had a small berth in the aft area of the lower deck around the pantry area—frigates did not have a wardroom per se. The boatswain and the carpenter each had small berths on either side of the main mast on the lower deck, and the purser, surgeon, and steward all had small berths in the aft section of the orlop deck.


Food

The Navy Victualling Board issued each man standard weekly rations as follows: Sunday one pound of biscuit, one gallon of beer, one pound of pork, and a half pint of peas; Monday one pound of biscuit, one gallon of beer, one pint of oatmeal, two ounces of butter, and four ounces of cheese; Tuesday one pound of biscuit, one gallon of beer and two pounds of beef; Wednesday one pound of biscuit, one gallon of beer, a half pint of peas, one pint of oatmeal, two ounces of butter and four ounces of cheese. Thursdays were the same as Sundays, Fridays the same as Wednesdays and Saturdays the same as Tuesdays. On foreign voyages, the following authorized substitutions could be made. A half pint of brandy, rum or arrack could take the place of a gallon of beer. Four pounds of flour or three pounds of flour, a pound of raisins, a half-pound of currents and a half-pound of beef suet equalled four pounds of beef or a two pound piece of pork with peas. A half-pound of rice was equal to a pint of oatmeal, and a pint of olive oil was equal to a pound of butter or two pounds of Suffolk cheese or a pound and a third of Cheshire cheese.

Messes on Royal Navy warships were typically composed of eight to twelve men. On frigates like Pallas this number was probably considerably lower. One source suggests that on a 38-gun frigate of the Diana class, if six feet (1.83 m.) (the length of a hammock) were allowed for each mess table, there would be room for twelve tiers of tables. With an inner and outer tier on each side, for a crew of 240 men including officers, each mess would seat four to five men. Even if only outer tiers were used, each mess would average about nine men. The mess captain collected the allotment for his entire mess in a wooden tub. Each man had his own spoon and cup and all messmates ate out of the same tub. Bray’s watercolour of a marine mess on board the Pallas shows that mealtime was rather informal and suggests that neither mess tables nor sea chests were necessarily used during mealtimes .

All provisions were packed in casks and the beef and pork were salted and pickled in casks. While in port, the biscuit was replaced by bread, and fresh meat was to be provided twice a week when it was possible and convenient. Victualling vessels with a cargo consigned to one ship could not be waylaid by another captain and the provisions were to be turned over to their intended ship without charge to the purser. If the contents of a cask appeared spoiled when it was opened, a survey was carried out by a panel of officers and if the contents were found unfit for consumption, the purser was credited with its value.

Analysis of Royal Navy records shows that for the period 1750-57 the total proportion of condemned foodstuffs issued by the victualling board amounted to less than one percent of that issued. This was accomplished by the scrupulous use of only the best ingredients and continual experiment and development. Great care was taken to ensure that stock was turned over and two years was considered to be the maximum time that beef or pork should be stored in a cask even at the end of long supply lines. The diet was plain and repetitive but provided more than sufficient calories for the hard physical work of a seaman. When compared with the diet of the population ashore, that of the seaman was quite extravagant, providing a daily hot meal, a beer ration every day, and meat four times weekly. This serves as yet another example of why, despite the rigors and hardships, many men chose a life aboard a Royal Navy warship.

             

 

TO BE FOLLOWED

 

                                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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