Capt William Bligh RN

#1
Some of you may be interested in Channel 5 tonight:

The Captain Bligh Conspiracy: Revealed

Channel Five
Broadcast date/time: 02/10/2007 20:00
Duration: 60 mins
Category: None

A descendant of the much-maligned commanding officer sets out to discover the truth of his ancestor's role in history's most famous naval mutiny. At the time Bligh was lauded as a hero but for 200 years since he has been portrayed as the villain of the piece after a concerted campaign by relatives of Fletcher Christian, the chief mutineer. With interviews and reconstructions, Mark Arundel finds out how and why
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#2
A hero - one of the best navigators ever (served earlier under Cook). Journeyed hundreds of miles in an open boat and the only man lost died because he (with the best of intentions) disobeyed an order.
 
#3
Truly fascinating story though, and I agree Captain Bligh was a master mariner in the true sense, to be able to make it back to England is remarkable in itself...

Had to go look at the wiki for Pitcairn Island... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitcairn_Islands such a nice spot, but a tragic history, even today they have issues with the descendants.
 
#4
The Pitcairn Islanders, god what a pack of inbred mongrels. The defence for raping 12 year old girls "We've always done that baint we!"
NZB
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#5
Bligh's log, apart from the original in Kew, exists in reprint in a limited edition by the Phoenix Press. There used to be a copy (along with no end of other fascinating volumes on naval history) in the Wardroom library at Whale Island in the 1960s but I imagine all that was dispersed ages ago.
 
#6
A fine Navigator but a bit of a nasty temper apparantly! Which got him into the poo in the first place! apparantly there were times when his luck was not all that good, it appears he was cashiered as the governor of New south Wales and somewhere else as well! But the feat of getting all (with one exception, more bad luck than anything else, he was trying to help, so was Cook when he got the same thing) is probably one of the greatest feats of all time, anywhere and for that alone he should go down in history as a great man! Not the bad press he did get! But hey that's normal!
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#8
As usual the NSW experience is ignorantly dragged up to calumniate Bligh. In fact he was faced with a criminal bootlegging conspiracy within a currupt colonial administration; political methods were used to get rid of him and so preserve the criminal rackets in NSW.

To deal with Bligh and the Bounty fully would take more than a one-hour programme but I thought the core research linking back to Morrison's biassed memoir was well put. Missing, among other things, was any reference to the origins of the Bligh, Christian and Heywood families and Cumberland and Isle of Man connections.

I do wonder if the canard about Bligh and the coconuts was the seed of the business of Queeg and the strawberries in Herman Wouk's novel 'The Caine Mutiny'.
 
#9
It would be rather nice to see a sequel, along the lines of Seaweed's Post. In the same way that the Bligh relative is naturally keen to unbesmirch Bligh, I can't imagine the Christian chap being to keen to have his relative examined too closely, though.
 
#10
Hollywood has a lot to answer for over the way Bligh is portrayed. Although a difficult man to get on with, he was not the raving sadist that popular mythology has made him out to be.

He was an excellent seaman, having served under the legendary Cook and while Governor of NSW he was very popular with the ordinary citizens for his efforts to restrain the excesses of the NSW Corps, for which he was deposed in a military coup and replaced by a junta of officers from the Corps. Far from being in disgrace over this, Bligh was completely exonerated by the Board of Enquiry and finished his career as an Admiral.

Trivia: Fletcher Christians great, great etc. grandson was a Lieutenant in the RAN, serving in the 1980s.
 

wet_blobby

War Hero
Moderator
#11
Bligh was a top bloke, he really knew hope to keep pesky matelots in there rightful place.

Pretty good at navigation as well, his original charts used to be kept down the road from me, dont know if they still are.
 
#12
Seaweed you old and venerable historian please note that all I said was his luck ran out - I did not mention why he had the problem in NSW! I believe that Bighs biggest problem (in the early days at least) was a very quick temper! It happens! doesn't make him a bad officer (in fact most of the time he was a bloody good officer) but it does not endear him to his 'troops' nor his betters to a certain extent! It marks him out for 'special attention' or one who can be 'got at'! (please note most of this is a personal view not history - but it happens, more frequently than I'd care to admit)
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#14
Following the mutiny, Christian attempted to build a colony on Tubuai, but the mutineers terrorized the natives. Abandoning the island, he stopped briefly in Tahiti where he married Maimiti, the daughter of one of the local chiefs on 16 June 1789.[5] While at Tahiti he dropped off sixteen crewmen. These sixteen included four Bligh loyalists who had been left behind on the Bounty and two who had neither participated in, nor resisted the mutiny. The remaining nine mutineers, six Tahitian men, and eleven Tahitian women then settled on Pitcairn Island where they stripped the Bounty of all that could be floated ashore before Matthew Quintal set it on fire. This sexual imbalance, combined with the effective enslavement of the Tahitian men by the mutineers, led to insurrection and the deaths of most of the men.

The American seal-hunting ship Topaz visited the island in 1808 and found only one mutineer, Alexander Smith (who was using the alias John Adams), still alive along with nine Tahitian women. The mutineers who had perished had, however, already had children with their Tahitian wives. Most of these children were still living.

Adams and Maimiti claimed Christian had been murdered during the conflict between the Tahitian men and the mutineers. According to an account by a Pitcairnian woman named Jenny who left the island in 1817 Christian was shot while working by a pond next to the home of his pregnant wife. Along with Christian, four other mutineers and all six of the Tahitian men who had come to the island were killed in the conflict. One of the four surviving mutineers fell off a cliff while intoxicated and was killed, and Quintal was later killed by the remaining two mutineers after he attacked them.

Christian was survived by Maimiti and his son, Thursday October Christian (Born 1790), who is the ancestor of almost everybody surnamed Christian on Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands, as well as the many descendants who have moved to Australia and New Zealand. Besides Thursday October, Fletcher Christian also had a younger son named Charles Christian (Born 1792) and a daughter Mary Ann Christian (Born 1793).

Rumours have persisted for more than two hundred years that Christian's murder may have been faked, that he had left the island, and that he made it back to England. Many scholars believe that the rumours of Christian returning to England helped inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.[6]

Bligh described Christian as "5 ft. 9 in. high. Dark Swarthy Complexion. Hair - Blackish or very dark brown. Make - Strong. A Star tatowed [sic] on his left Breast, and tatowed on the backside. His knees stand a little out and he may be called a little Bowlegged. He is subject to Violent perspiration, particularly in his hand, so that [sic] he Soils anything he handles."
[Source]
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#15
Christian and all the other mutineers who went to Pitcairn died there except Adams - when the island was finally checked by the RN Adams was an old man and effectively the tribal chief - so the RN left him there because the (small) population of resulting mixed-race descendants would have been up the creek without him. Their story is not a pretty one but the whole thing is too long a tale for an RR post. Loads of good (and bad) books about Bounty, Pandora etc. Folks, a caution - try and see it through 18th century eyes when arrogance and violence from superiors to inferiors was perfectly normal ashore as well as afloat. Bligh's making Xtian an Acting Lt (to take a watch) shows that at least initially Xtian had Bligh's trust. Ha! In the 1960s I had an invitation aboard the Frog corvette or whatever which was Tahiti guardship (temporarily in Singapore for some repair or other) - they had a draft made in Heaven.
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
#16
My reason for asking the question and I should have researched the answer myself, was I recently read a fictional book (SgtP ask a communicator what a book is and he may even read some of it to you

:thumright: ) in which a body was found in bog land in Christians home town area, the possible ID put forward was that it was in fact Christians body and that obviously he had got away from Pitcairn. A good read and if I could remember the title and author I'd recommend it. :dwarf:
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
janner said:
My reason for asking the question and I should have researched the answer myself, was I recently read a fictional book (SgtP ask a communicator what a book is and he may even read some of it to you :thumright: )...:dwarf:
:lol: Funny guy (I kill you last!)

Actually I have a :study: . A little black one. And I've just your name in it... :plotting: :bootyshake:
 
#18
janner said:
My reason for asking the question and I should have researched the answer myself, was I recently read a fictional book (SgtP ask a communicator what a book is and he may even read some of it to you

:thumright: ) in which a body was found in bog land in Christians home town area, the possible ID put forward was that it was in fact Christians body and that obviously he had got away from Pitcairn. A good read and if I could remember the title and author I'd recommend it. :dwarf:
"The Grave Tattoo", by Val McDermid
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
#19
Cardisoma said:
janner said:
My reason for asking the question and I should have researched the answer myself, was I recently read a fictional book (SgtP ask a communicator what a book is and he may even read some of it to you

:thumright: ) in which a body was found in bog land in Christians home town area, the possible ID put forward was that it was in fact Christians body and that obviously he had got away from Pitcairn. A good read and if I could remember the title and author I'd recommend it. :dwarf:
"The Grave Tattoo", by Val McDermid
Thats the one, I thought that She put the story together in a very plausible way.
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
#20
sgtpepperband said:
janner said:
My reason for asking the question and I should have researched the answer myself, was I recently read a fictional book (SgtP ask a communicator what a book is and he may even read some of it to you :thumright: )...:dwarf:
:lol: Funny guy (I kill you last!)

Actually I have a :study: . A little black one. And I've just your name in it... :plotting: :bootyshake:
My black books bigger than your black book and full, of course its also retired now :thumright:
 

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