Bligh or Christian

Who was to Blame Bligh or Christian?


  • Total voters
    41
May 2011
13,938
Navan, Ireland
#31
.............

...................But he was doomed, career wise, simply because that kind of hand selected group of co-workers and underlings is simply NOT a real world scenario for higher command.
His progress was stymied by the fact that he Never learned how to make peace with the reality of having to deal with people who ranged from being on your side, to total indifference, to being vehemently opposed.
Bligh went on to become Post-Captain (most RN officers didn't) and commanded 'Ship of the Line' and was praised by Nelson for his handling of the ship in the Battle of Copenhagen.

Involved in two more mutinies ---- but one was actually selected by the men as a Captain they could deal with. The other again he may well have been the 'innocent' party (but again show his diplomatic skills to be lacking?) in dealing with 'corrupt' army officers and 'Australian' merchants.

Christian went on to be (its generally agreed) murdered by his 'shipmates'.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
#32
the entire episode can be explained simply by the fact the bounty did not have a detachment of marines on board, otherwise the mutiny could never have taken place. Bligh explained this in a letter to his wife. Although I don't think Bligh was a particularly easy person to get along with
What were the standard compliment at the times, and what size vessels warranted a detachment?
 
May 2011
13,938
Navan, Ireland
#33
What were the standard compliment at the times, and what size vessels warranted a detachment?
According to Lavery in 'Nelsons navy' the standard ratio was 1- 8 at the time, so that meant Bligh could have demanded 5-6 marines -- not even a sergeants command.

However not sure if he'd even qualify for that because it wasn't HMS Bounty but HMV Bounty not a 'proper' warship at all but just a hired civilian supply ship, Bligh was the only official RN man on there.
 
Last edited:
Aug 2014
1,050
Canada
#35
Only when Pitcairn's Isle was rediscovered by Mayhew Folger aboard Topaz were Bounty survivors at last and unabashedly found in 1808. That sailing ship's Captain is forgotten, though his tale is rich post Revolutionary War American naval history, denouement to the mutineers' own. Folger came from Nantucket, died in Ohio, left good record, for can men who've loved the sea ever leave her far behind?


[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71vfs51w9yA[/ame]
 
#36
However not sure if he'd even qualify for that because it wasn't HMS Bounty but HMV Bounty not a 'proper' warship at all but just a hired civilian supply ship, Bligh was the only official RN man on there.
yes it was common for civilian ships and crews to be contracted out by the royal navy however I'm pretty sure Christian, Fryer and many other members of the crew were Royal Navy ratings
 
Mar 2014
6,632
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
#37
Bounty wasn't hired, she was purchased (for £1,950). She was a Navy ship. The only non-naval personnel aboard were two civilian botanists, David Nelson and William Brown. The clue is in the name really - civilian ships aren't titled as "His Majesty's".

Christian was a warrant officer who Bligh promoted to Acting Lieutenant. He had been a midshipman aboard HMS Eurydice before being raised to master's mate. Though master's mate was a rating and not a commissioned rank, senior and experienced midshipmen often took this rating while awaiting their examination to pass for Lieutenant.
 
Last edited:
May 2011
13,938
Navan, Ireland
#38
We have to remember that the RN of the time was not the same as modern navies (although getting there) sailors came and went as a ship was paid off after a voyage --if it was wartime they may be transferred to other ships against their will. But in peacetime the voyage was the contract they were little different from civilian 'contractors'.

Officers were different if you were a RN Lieutenant that was it you were in Kings service (maybe on shore unemployed but nevertheless) and RN officer until death or dishonour.

The only RN Officer on His Majesty's Vessel (not ship not important enough for that) was 'Captain' Bligh.

Marines had tenure as well while sailors were paid off at the end of the voyage Marines simply returned to their barracks and guarded shore establishments eg Docks (Militia did this in wartime.)
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
#39
According to Lavery in 'Nelsons navy' the standard ratio was 1- 8 at the time, so that meant Bligh could have demanded 5-6 marines -- not even a sergeants command.

However not sure if he'd even qualify for that because it wasn't HMS Bounty but HMV Bounty not a 'proper' warship at all but just a hired civilian supply ship, Bligh was the only official RN man on there.
Thanks, Kevin.
 
May 2011
13,938
Navan, Ireland
#40
No problem -- now Bligh might (and only might) have demanded 5-6 marines but he'd not get an officer to command them a corporal or sergeant (at best).

Marines were supposed (and often did) be the force between the sailors and the authority--the officers.

But on Bounty given the 'pressures' of the voyage and the 'passions' of the exotic location and of 'officers' like Christian its going to take a very strong willed and motivated Marine Corporal and his 4-5 other marines to stop the mutiny ----- Marines took part in The fleet mutinies of the period.
 

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