Posts Tagged ‘Captain Edwards’

PANDORA’S BOX – THE BOUNTY MUTINEERS & THE BOTANY BAY ESCAPEES

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

1790 –  Portsmouth, March: Captain William Bligh RN arrived in England on the 14th March 1790 eager to give testimony to the Admiralty putting his side of the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ story.

On 17th March 1790, a small paragraph appeared in the Times announcing that William Bligh, fresh from his remarkable voyage across the Pacific, was expected in London later that afternoon. He had arrived in Portsmouth three days earlier’. John Toohey, Captain Bligh’s Portable Nightmare, 1998

And it was a story of headlines. In mid-ocean at gun-point in the early hours of 28 April 1789,Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, Captain Bligh’s second-in-command on HMS Bounty,forced his commander with eighteen (18) fellow crew off the ship and into a small oared cutter.

Despite having little food and water, scorched by sun and wind, they survived forty-eight (48) days in an open boat. Bligh made the lives of his fellow castaways a misery as they rowed and nudged their drifting craft towards land.

It must be said however without Bligh’s excellent celestial navigating skills none might have survived the 3600 miles (6400km) voyage to Dutch Timor.

Only John Norton did not make it to Timor. He was stoned to death when the group landed to collect water at Tofura Island.

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THE GREAT ESCAPE FROM SYDNEY COVE

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

1792 – March, Africa: ‘They [Botany Bay escapees] had miscarried in a heroic struggle for liberty after having combated every hardship and conquered every difficulty’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961.

1792 – Cape Town, March: Captain Tench, aboard HMS Gorgan en-route from Sydney to England with returning ‘First Fleet’ marines who had been stranded at Sydney Cove since January 1788 was astounded when some of eleven (11) convicts who had escaped from Sydney in 1791 sailed into Table Bay, prisoners of Captain Edward Edwards RN, on board a Dutch vessell. See: HMS Gorgan and the Botany Bay Escapees

1791 – Sydney, March: A year earlier – 28 March 1791 – convicts Mary and William Bryant their baby Emanuel and Charlotte, born during ‘First Fleet’ voyage, baptised at Cape Town and now aged three (3) years, with seven (7) trusted companions, oars muffled on their stolen row-boat – Governor Phillip’s cutter – had slipped silently through towering Sydney Heads out into the open sea and made for Timor.

The Admiralty gave Captain Edward Edwards command of HMS Pandora and sent him to Tahiti with orders to round up and arrest the Bounty mutineers and bring them to England for court-martial. See: Pandora’s Box 

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