Hastings Senior Men’s Forum

On November 4 we had a talk from Jim Bond on the British Navy 1793-1815.

Back in those days half of the population worked for seafarers in one way or another, be it making ropes, canvas, growing trees (200 oaks required to make the frame of a ship), forging nails and rivets, guns, cannons and shot.

We as a nation were geared to sail the world and to win wars. Our language was adapted from naval speak, such as ‘press on’, ‘son of a gun’, and many more.

There was no conscription then and the crew men were pressed into service by press gangs to join a ship, not the Navy. However officers who were recruited into the Navy were invited to come aboard a ship. Life aboard was good for many men, compared with life on land which was hard. Four square meals a day and beer and grog to wash it down.

Not many lives were lost and the most common injury was a hernia; usually from moving shot, or powder, or the blocks and tackle. However, in warfare deaths occured from splinter and gunshot wounds. This talk was made interesting by the detailed information of life in the Navy during those years.