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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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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 ...

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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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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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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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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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Francis Watt

revised by Christopher Doorne

Davidson, William (c. 1756–1797), privateer, was born in Scotland; further details of his family and upbringing are unknown. In 1791 he was serving as an able seaman on the Niger, then commanded by Sir Richard Keats. Davidson was noted as a comparatively well-educated man of gloomy and silent disposition, but liable to sudden outbursts of temper. While the ship was at ...

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Dover, Thomas (bap. 1662, d. 1742), physician and privateer, was baptized on 6 May 1662 at Barton on the Heath, Warwickshire, the third son of John Dover (bap. 1614, d. 1696), gentleman, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Vade. Thomas was grandson of ...

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Elfrith, Daniel (fl. 1607–1640), privateer and colonist in the West Indies, was active in the Caribbean from 1607. Nothing is known of his earlier life. He was memorialized by Alexander Brown in his Genesis of the United States (1890) as 'the man who carried the first rats to the ...

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J. M. Rigg

revised by Philip Carter

Elsdale, Robinson (bap. 1744, d. 1783), author and privateer, the son of Samuel and Mary Elsdale, was baptized on 25 December 1744 at Surfleet, Lincolnshire, where his family had long maintained an estate. He entered the navy as a midshipman, but left soon afterwards on account of the slowness of promotion. From 1762 he served in various privateers cruising against the French, chiefly off the coast of ...

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

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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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Glemham, Edward (d. in or after 1594), privateer, was from Benhall in Suffolk. Although he was described as 'esquire', nothing is known of his parents or his early life, but in the summer of 1590 he was of sufficient means to fit out 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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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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Green, Thomas (1679/80–1705), seaman and pirate, of unknown parentage, was brother to John Green, a London attorney. In 1701, when his age was said to be twenty-one, Captain Green, commanding the frigate-built Worcester, chartered by Thomas Bowrey, weighed anchor for India to obtain a cargo of cowries, pepper, turmeric, and saltpetre. This was a ...

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Halsey, John (1663?–1709?), privateer turned pirate, came from Boston, Massachusetts. Nothing is known about his parents or his early life. As commander of the brigantine Charles he received a commission from Governor Samuel Cranston of Rhode Island on 7 November 1704 to cruise against the French on the ...