Diet, Dirt and Discipline: Medical Developments in Nelson’s Navy: Dr John Snipe’s Contribution

By Jane Bowden-Dan, published August 2004


The notorious fighting superiority of Nelson’s ships owed much to the health and discipline of the men. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the medical officers in the British Navy proposed, and obtained, several improvements in general diet, anti-scorbutics, and hygiene. These efforts are recounted mainly on the basis of the reports and returns Nelson received from Dr John Snipe, Physician to the Fleet, and Richard Ford, Agent Victualler Afloat, kept among the ‘Nelson Papers’ in the library of the Wellcome Trust, London.

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Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Mediterranean | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

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