Muster book of HMS Royal Oak, 1775 and hospital ship HMS Looe

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    Chris D

    I am researching William Sheppard who appears to have been discharged from HMS Royal Oak onto the hospital ship HMS Looe on 27 Sep 1735. I have looked at the Muster Book for HMS Royal Oak. Is there an explanatory note for the column headings in the Musters? The ones I am struggling with and seek assistance are:

    1. “ Where and Whether Prefl or not”
    “Voll” is against Sheppard’s name so I presume he was a volunteer rather than pressed.
    2. “No. and letters of tickets”
    “R838” is entered
    3. “Qualities”
    “Steward’s Mate” – do we know what rank this is and what it entailed?
    4. “D., D.D. or R”
    “D.D.”is entered
    5. “To whom the tickets were delivered”
    “N.O.” is entered
    6. “When mustered”
    The letters “l,n,p,a,b.c.k.,m and o are in the various columns

    I have yet to look at the Muster Book for HMS Looe but if he died there, would he be buried on land, and if so what would have been the most likely location in Lisbon?

    David Hepper

    1. Yes, clearly shows volunteer, not Pressed (or Preffed)

    2. I think just a reference number for his pay ticket

    3. Steward’s Mate – was his rate. A Steward served as an Officer’s Servant – ‘mate’ would mean that he assisted in this role

    4 D D = stood for Discharged, Dead …

    5. NO ….?? cannot answer that one

    6 I think the letters are simply a method of noting when he was mustered – there is probably separate pages with those letters showing who was mustered and when

    Chris D

    Many thanks for the prompt and informative reply.
    Poor William Sheppard…

    Sara Cutler

    Although it is not clear with the contradiction between the title of your query and the date in the actual query, whether we are looking at 1735 or 1775, the actual body of the muster does not change much. Judging by the ships involved, I take it that the date of 1735 is the correct one?
    1. Yes, ‘Voll’ does mean William Sheppard was a volunteer as opposed to being ‘Prest’ – that is a long ‘s’ and not a ‘f’.
    2. His ticket number is for a ‘death ticket’ and is a unique number designed to prevent fraud in relation to unclaimed pay prior to death. Think of a car number plate and would be traceable only to him.
    3. The role of Steward’s Mate is probably as described above.
    4. D.D. is ‘discharged dead’.
    5. the N.O. stands for ‘the Navy Office’.
    6. This final column is a very very important part of the document. At the very start of the section of the muster that you examined, is the Muster Table for the months covered for that section of the muster. This will list the same numbers in the same sequence and tally with the dates that the crew was mustered. If his entry is purely these letters, he was present on board. Two long ss – they look like ff but have no bar through them – mean he had been transferred off the ship. It is possible to arrive ‘a corpse’ at your final destination and the relevant log will, hopefully, tell you this as long as the clerk has done his duty.
    There are logs for the relevant dates listed as available at The National Archives at Kew, London if you wish to take your research further in this direction.
    Good luck.
    Sara Cutler

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