Posts Tagged ‘mortality rates’

A TALE OF TWO FLEETS

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

 THE ‘FIRST FLEET’ – AN INVASION FLEET MORTALITY – 4%

In November [1784] Henry Dundas, possibly Pitt’s closest advisor, warned that ‘India’ is the first quarter to be attacked, we must never lose sight of keeping such a force there as well be sufficient to baffle or surprise’. Dundas, cited Michael Pembroke, Arthur Phillip Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy, Harper Grant Books, Victoria, 2013 KKKKK

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‘It seems clear that only a few men in the inner circle of [William Pitt’s] government knew the exact purposes of the settlement’. Professor Geoffrey Blainey, Gotham City, The Founding of Australia. The argument about Australia’s origins. Ed. Ged Martin, Hale and Iremonger, 1978

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‘I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales…New Holland is a blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India’. Anon. Historical Records of New South Wales.

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‘In writing of the recruitment of criminals into the armed forces, Stephen Conway observed, ‘It was still found necessary periodically to clear both the putrid and congested gaols and the equally overcrowded and insanitary hulks’. Conway, cited in Alan Frost, Botany Bay Mirages, Melbourne University Press, 1994.

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‘There were plans to use the corps in expeditions against Panama, Peru, and the Philippines, but nothing eventuated’. Dr. Peter Stanley,  The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia, 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, 1986YYYYY

Portsmouth: Between January 1787 and mid-May 1787 a large squadron of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’, assembled at Portsmouth, England.

A combined military and naval expeditionary force it was fully funded by the British Government.

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between marines and [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, 1993

One-half of the complement, 1500 souls, were convicted criminals. Many of its 570 male convicted criminals boarded from ‘overcrowded and insanitary hulks’ moored along the Thames River.

England – 1787, May 13: The ‘First Fleet’ commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN sailed from Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, to invade the island continent of New Holland. See: Apollo 11 – Fly Me To The Moon: Portsmouth – Tenerife – Rio  – Cape Town – Botany Bay – Sydney Cove.

In stark contrast to their treatment on the hulks or in England’s ‘putrid gaols’, the convicts were fed and exercised as ‘troops serving in the West Indies’ . Mortality on the ‘First Fleet’ was reckoned at 4%.

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