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Arnold, Mary Anne (b. 1825), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Sheerness, Kent, and may have been the daughter of Lieutenant Arnold of the Royal Navy who served aboard the Ganges and Prince Regent men-of-war. According to a report in The Times following her detection in October 1839, an officer of the ...

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Maker: Elliott & Fry

Noel Pemberton Billing (1881–1948) by Elliott & Fry, 1920s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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Gunn [née Fubister], Isabel [alias John Fubister] (1780–1861), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Orkney, on 1 August 1780, the daughter of John Fubister and Girzal Allan, and was baptized Isabel Fubister on 7 August in St Andrew's parish, Orkney. Few details are known about her life until she signed on with ...

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Anne Jane Thornton (b. 1817) by unknown engraver, pubd 1835 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thornton, Anne Jane (b. 1817), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Gloucestershire, the daughter of a prosperous merchant. After her mother's death in 1823 her father moved to Donegal, Ireland, where he opened another highly successful shop. At age fifteen she met an American, ...

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Waters, Billy (1778?–1823), street performer, beggar, and sailor, is generally believed to have been born in North America c. 1778. There are conflicting accounts of his origins, but it is likely that he had been enslaved for much of his early life. He is understood to have joined the ...

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Billy Waters (1778?–1823), by David Wilkie, c. 1815

Private collection. © Michael Graham-Stewart/Bridgeman Images