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    Re: Recreating Bligh's voyage to Timor
    From: Douglas Denny
    Date: 2010 May 30, 01:45 -0700

    You say:

    "...but we shouldn't forget that his was the only side of the tale to be heard...."

    Not so.

    There is plenty of evidence of the 'other side of the story'. The testimony at the court martial is there for you to read, with the evidence of those on trial to be read practically verbatim. You can judge for yourself if you read the detail which is available in the location I gave in the previous posting which is:-


    Bligh was no worse than a lot of Captains of the time, and was more benign than most. He simply had a rotten crew in my opinion, and was a victim of circumstances beyond his control.
    The crew are the villains in my opinon without a shadow of doubt.

    As Captain he had to "take the rap" after it had happened for what was a very unusual and spectacular event. The proof of its exceptionality is it still captures the imagination now, and gives strong emotional responses, to what was the quite simple event of a situation that went way out of control of those taking part.

    There have been many more mutinies in the British armed forces than is generally known. They are still looked upon as something which is very distasteful and should not be discussed. Most mutinies have been hushed-up and/or whitewashed so as not to encourage others or give a bad impression of the failings of the armed forces which caused them to happen. It is this latter point which afflicted Bligh I believe. There was an attempt to rubbish him to divert attention from the failings within the Navy.

    British mutinies have been nearly all whitewashed out of existence. Bligh's situation was spectacular and could not be whitewashed. It appears there were elements in the authority 'establishment' who wanted to transfer blame to him though it did not exist.

    His "retirement" was not necessarily retirement as we know it where someone is 'relived of their duty'.
    It was normal for captains to be 'retired'- in the sense there was no more work available after a voyage; and often there was considerable trouble finding a new post as there were many captains available and too few ship to captain. It was very much a case of knowing people and "influence" to get another post for a position on a ship and a further voyage.


    My father was present (but not an active part of) a mutiny of RAF personnel at an RAF base in India at the end of WW2 where there was an official reading of the Riot Act which suppressed the mutiny.

    And, by co-incidence, when sailing this week with an ex-Navy friend who is now in his seventies; he described to my great surprise a mutiny in a ship on which he was an officer a couple of weeks after he transferred from it. He said he knew it was coming so made arrangements to be transferred from the ship before it happened.

    Douglas Denny.
    Chichester. England.

    Original Post:-

    Douglas Denny wrote:
    The voyage by William Bligh after the mutiny is probably one of the most enduring stories of navigational brilliance. Bligh is in my opinion one of the best navigators of all time along with James Cook. He was also much maligned after the event, (and continues to be so by the efforts of the film industry (who cares about truth? if it makes a good story?) but was completely exonerated by the admiralty.

    Well, after the first mutiny Bligh came out of the subsequent investigation relatively well, but we shouldn't forget that his was the only side of the tale to be heard.

    The second time around he was quietly retired.

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