Jack Nastyface: Memoirs of an English Seaman
William Robinson, whose pseudonym may well have been his lower-deck nickname, volunteered for naval service in May 1805. This was in itself unusual by this time, but, rather more true to form, he eventually deserted in 1811. However, in his six years as an ordinary seaman he saw much action, including fighting at Trafalgar in the 74-gun Revenge - and less gloriously at the controversial Basque Roads attack, and the disastrous invasion of Walcheren in 1809. His experiences were probably typical of a Channel Fleet sailor of those years, and Robinson's descriptions are particularly valuable because, while he was an intelligent observer, he never became embittered by the harsh conditions, so his account is balanced and credible.
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List of Illustrations
Preparing for Battle
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Admiral Harvey alongside arrived assistance Basque Roads batteries battle bell blockading boat boat's crew British navy brought Cadiz called canister shot captain carronade Channel fleet command commenced court-martial different ships distress duty eight-bells endeavour enemy enemy's engaged escape fire fire-ships fleet flogged fore forecastle French ships frigates George Cruikshank grog gun-brigs harbour head hundred impressment JACK NASTYFACE joined killed land larboard lashes legs lieutenant line-of-battle line-of-battle ship lives Lord Gambier Lord Nelson lower deck lying mast ment mess messmates midshipman nautical nearly night o'clock oakum obliged occasion Old England ordered poor fellow ports Portsmouth prepared press gang prisoners prize quarter-deck ready receiving ship resorted rigging round the decks sail sailor seamen sent on board shew ship's company shipmates shore shot side signal soon Spithead squadron starboard taken thought took Torbay town troops watch weighed anchor whilst wind wounded yarn