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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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Barton, Andrew (c. 1470–1511), seaman and shipowner, was one of three brothers, Robert Barton, John, and Andrew, sons of the seafaring merchant John Barton (d. in or before 1494). Like his brothers, Andrew was frequently employed as a naval commander by James IV...

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Clerke, Richard (fl. 1572–1596), navigator and privateer, claimed to have been born at Buckhurst, Essex, but is generally referred to as 'of Weymouth'. He presumably learned his trade in the ships of the latter port, being master of the Pilgrim between Weymouth...

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Clifford, George, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605), courtier and privateer, was born on 8 August 1558 in Brougham Castle, Westmorland, the eldest son of Henry Clifford, second earl of Cumberland (1517–1570), and his second wife, Anne (c.1538–1581), daughter of William, third Baron Dacre...

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George Clifford, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605) by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1590 © National Maritime Museum, London

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Coxere, Edward (bap. 1633, d. 1694), sailor, was baptized on 16 June 1633 at St Mary's Church, Dover, the seventh (but second surviving) child of John Coxere (d. 1633), sailor, and his wife, Wealthan, née Peace. His mother, widowed when he was only five months old, quickly married a local cordwainer, ...

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John Crawford (1775–1831) by D. Orme, pubd 1797 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Crawford, John [Jack] (1775–1831), sailor and naval hero, was born on 22 March 1775 at a house on Thornhill Bank in the east end of Sunderland, co. Durham, the son of a keelman. At an early age Crawford also worked on the keelboats that carried coal on the ...

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Crow, Hugh (1765–1829), privateer and slave trader, was born in Ramsey, Isle of Man, the son of Edmund Crow (1730–1809), a tradesman, and his wife, Judith (1737–1807). He lost his right eye in infancy, but despite this was apprenticed to a boat builder in ...

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Crowdy, Edith Frances (1880–1947), travel agent and member of the Women's Royal Naval Service, was born on 25 August 1880 at 79 Victoria Road, Wandsworth, London, one of the four daughters of James Crowdy, solicitor, and his wife, Mary Isabel Anne Fuidge. Educated at home, in 1912 she joined her younger sister ...

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Fenner, George (c. 1540–1618), merchant and privateer, is of unknown parentage. However, the name Fenner was common in west Sussex, and the family into which he was born has been described variously as a mercantile clan in Chichester itself, or as a minor but armigerous gentry family based at ...

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Frobisher, Sir Martin (1535?–1594), privateer, explorer, and naval commander, was descended from John Frobisher (b. c.1260), a Scot settled in lands near Chirk in Denbighshire granted in recognition of his services to Edward I during the Welsh wars. In the mid-fourteenth century the family crossed the ...

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Sir Martin Frobisher (1535?–1594) by Cornelius Ketel, 1577 © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

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Gilbert, Joseph (1732?–1820/21), seaman and hydrographer, was baptized on 1 June 1732 in Kirton in Holland, near Boston, Lincolnshire, the eighth and youngest child of John Gilbert (bap. 1697, d. 1782), farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth (bap. 1695, d. 1759)...

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J. K. Laughton

revised by Roger Morriss

Goodall, Thomas (1767–1832?), naval officer and privateer, was born at Bristol, educated by a Revd Mr Thomas, and was intended by his father to be a lawyer; but at thirteen he ran away from school, and shipped on board a privateer bound for the ...

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Thomas Goodall (1767–?1832) by Ridley & Blood, pubd 1808 (after Samuel Drummond) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hall, William (1827–1904), sailor, was born on 28 April 1827 at Horton's Bluff, Nova Scotia. He was the son of slaves who were being transported from west Africa to America when they were intercepted by a British warship during the Anglo-American War of 1812–14 and liberated at ...

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Kidd, William (c. 1645–1701), pirate and privateer, was a Scot, by tradition born in Greenock, Renfrewshire, into the family of a Church of Scotland minister; however, the names of his parents are not known and his date of birth is derived from his age, about fifty-six, when he died. He does not appear in the historical record until 1689 when he was a member of a pirate crew brought into service by ...

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Lurting, Thomas (1628x32–1713), sailor and religious writer, was pressed into the navy in 1646 at the age of about fourteen according to his later account. After fighting in Ireland for two years he served in the Dutch and Spanish wars. In time he rose in his profession until he became boatswain's mate in the frigate ...