Reply To: Wives on Ship?

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Tony H

    Samuel Jackson Pratt records in volume II of his “Gleanings in England” (1806) that during the Battle of Camperdown (1797) “There were several women onboard the Venerable while in action; among these a sailor’s wife was shot at the side of her husband, while at his gun. Another young woman had her lanthorn bottle shot from her hand, while she was holding it for the surgeon to dress her father’s wounds, and perceiving him look terrified, she ran to her father and cried, If you have not received any more hurt, never mind the lanthorn, – I am safe and sound thank God – but how are you, O father! how are you?” Pratt was told these anecdotes by Dr Duncan, Admiral Duncan’s kinsman, who had been Chaplain on the Venerable and had assisted the surgeon in the cockpit. Women were legitimately present on board ships but were not entered in the ships’ musters and hence are invisible to history except through anecdotes such as these.