Artwork by Steve Noon
men who crewed Britain's Wooden Walls during the Napoleonic Wars
were - and had to be - a hardy lot. They put up with long voyages,
little time ashore, poor food, cramped conditions, the fear and
terror of battle and highly hazardous occupations.
can think of quite a few things I would like to do ahead of climbing
into the heights of a mast's rigging and even more when imagining
the difficulty of operating sails - particularly in rough weather.
you I'm a lubber but I can get a great look at life on a Royal
Navy warship through Gregory Fremont-Barnes' Nelson's Sailors
is a tightly written work filled with terrific information - and
all added to with some superb first-hand accounts of life under
Admiral Lord Nelson.
main chapters are:
Recruitment, Pay and Rating - Volunteers, Impressment, Rating
Shipboard Organisation, Routine and Duties - Watches, Messes,
Duties and Dangers
Food and Drink - Food, Drink
Discipline and Punishments - Flogging, Ganging, Gauntlet
Desertion and Mutiny
Sickness, Disease and Death
Leave, Leisure and Amusements - Leave, Aboard Ship
Experience of Battle and Aftermath
Museums and Places of Interest
Sailors covers all aspects of a sailor's existence from volunteering
to being pressed, it explains the impressment system, the watch
and bell systems on a vessel, the shipboard menu and a host of
mine I found the words of the eyewitnesses were what made the
book so impressive and Fremont-Barnes has picked out some excellent
quotes to illustrate life at sea. Some are quite detailed about
how people died, but there are amusing incidents as well including
the cobbler who was taken for dead and was thrown out a hatch
during battle only to have to be then fished back out of the water.
Noon's artwork is marvellous with his talent bringing real animation
to the images. Scenes depicted include relaxation below decks,
sword practice, boarding, the doctor's surgery and there is a
chart of the equipment the men used on the warship.
again an excellent production from Osprey.