Merchant vessel Crews
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Does anyone know if research has been done about how consistent ships’ crews were in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the merchant fleet. Did mates, cooks etc show loyalty to certain masters/owners?
Short answer is that I know of no research into this specific area. As mates were moving up (if they were any good) they are the least likely to have stuck with a captain for more than a couple of years. Memoirs, such as James Learmont, Master in Sail (London, 1954), indicate that good masters did attract a following of key personnel.
In research on the crews of 19th century Australian whaling vessels I noticed some crewmen did follow a particular master or officer from ship to ship. Small groups of crewmen, typically two or three at a time, were also observed moving between ships, their loyalty apparently to their group rather than to a particular officer or shipowner.
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