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John Adams (1768?–1829) attrib. Richard Beechey, 1825 Phillips Picture Library

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Adams, John [alias Alexander Smith] (1768?–1829), seaman, mutineer, and settler, was born in London probably in 1768 and was serving under the name of Smith as an able seaman on HMS Bounty at the time of the mutiny on 28 April 1789 [...

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H. M. Chichester

revised by A. G. L. Shaw

Anderson, Joseph (1790–1877), army officer and colonist, was born on 1 July 1790 at Keoldale, Sutherland, Scotland, the son of James Anderson of Rispond and his wife, Fairly Gordon. In 1805 he was appointed an ensign in the 78th highlanders, with which he served in ...

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Ronald Bayne

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Barker, Collet (1784–1831), army officer and explorer, was born near Paradise Gardens, Hackney, Middlesex, on 31 December 1784, the son of William Barker (c.1748–1832), skinner and mercer of Newbury, Berkshire, and Sarah Collet (1755–1808), elder daughter of Samuel Collet, of an established family of ...

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J. K. Laughton

revised by Peter Le Fevre

Barker, John (c. 1600–1653), naval officer and shipmaster, was possibly related to the John Barker of Ratcliffe, Middlesex, shipmaster and captain of the Golden Cock who in 1629, aged forty-five, appeared before the admiralty court in connection with illegally seizing, and selling, a ship belonging to the ...

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Best, Thomas (1570–1639), sea captain and master of Trinity House, was baptized on 8 June 1570 at Merstham, Surrey, the youngest son of Robert Best, an interpreter for the Muscovy Company, and Anne, formerly Bowman. Later, in 1623, Best told Sir William Conway...

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Billings, Joseph (1758–1806), explorer and hydrographer in Russia, was born in 1758 at Turnham Green, Middlesex, according to ship musters; parish church registers confirm the birth of Joseph, son of Thomas and Mary Billing, on 6 September 1758. Billings's signed Russian service record, however, gives 1761 as the year of his birth. Other sources indicate that ...

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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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Thomas Blood (1617/1818–1680) by unknown artist The Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

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Borough, Stephen (1525–1584), explorer and naval administrator, was born on 25 September 1525 at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, the elder son of Walter Borough (1494–1548) and Mary Dough; his younger brother was William Borough (d. 1598).

With his uncle, John Borough (d. 1570)...

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Borough, William (bap. 1536, d. 1598), explorer and naval administrator, was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, to Walter Borough (1494–1548) and Mary (née Dough) and baptized on 18 August 1536 in St Mary's, Northam. His childhood experiences included voyages made with his elder brother, ...

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Broughton, Thomas Duer (1778–1835), army officer in the East India Company and writer on India, was born in Bristol on 8 March 1778, son of the Revd Thomas Broughton, rector of St Peter's, Bristol, and his wife, Jane; he was great-grandson of the ...

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Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1842–1885) by James Tissot, 1870 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Burnaby, Frederick Gustavus (1842–1885), army officer and traveller, was born at the old rectory, St Peter's Green, Bedford, on 3 March 1842, the elder son of the Revd Gustavus Andrew Burnaby (1802–1872) of Somerby Hall, near Oakham, Rutland, rector of St Peter's, Bedford...

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Stanley Lane-Poole

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Campbell, Donald (1751–1804), army officer and travel writer, of Barbreck, Argyll, is best known for his A journey over land to India … by Donald Campbell of Barbreck, who formerly commanded a regiment of cavalry in the service of the nabob of the Carnatic: in a series of letters to his son...

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Cavendish, Henry (1550–1616), soldier and traveller, was the eldest son of Sir William Cavendish (1508–1557) of Chatsworth, Derbyshire, administrator, and his third wife, Elizabeth [see Talbot, Elizabeth, countess of Shrewsbury (1527–1608)], noblewoman, known as Bess of Hardwick, daughter of John Hardwick...

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Champion de Crespigny, Sir Claude, fourth baronet (1847–1935), military adventurer and sportsman, was born in Chelsea on 20 April 1847, the eldest son of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, third baronet (1818–1868), of Wivenhoe Hall, Essex, and his wife, Mary, second daughter of ...

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Francis Rawdon Chesney (1789–1872) by unknown artist © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Stanley Lane-Poole

revised by Roger T. Stearn

Chesney, Francis Rawdon (1789–1872), army officer and explorer, was born on 16 March 1789 at Ballyvea, Annalong, co. Down, the eldest son of Alexander Chesney (1755–1843) and his second wife, Jane, née Wilson (b. c.1763), both Ulster protestants of Scottish descent. ...

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Childs, William John (c. 1869–1933), author and government official, was the son of William John Childs. The formative period of his life, most of which remains unclear, occurred from 1909 to 1913, when he lived and travelled widely in Anatolia and Thrace. Glimpses of his earlier life, and of travel in various parts of the world, the Ottoman empire especially, are provided by his later publications, as well as by official and private archival material. Nevertheless ...