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Landsman Hay

An extraordinary picture of lower-decl life in the Royal Navy that captures vividly the powerlessness and misery of the young sailor, for years away from familiar shores, not knowing when he will return.
£13.99

Author: Hay, Robert
ISBN: 9781848320680

An extraordinary picture of lower-decl life in the Royal Navy that captures vividly the powerlessness and misery of the young sailor, for years away from familiar shores, not knowing when he will return.

In 1803, aged 14, Robert Hay ran away from home to join the Royal Navy, and for the next eight years experienced the trials and tribulations of the sailor's life. Intelligent and willing, he became a boy servant to a series of officers, all of whom helped advance his education as was the practice of the day. But the taxing conditions of life onboard he found detestable and he was soon sorely tempted to desert; however, the well known and ruthless treatment of deserters, if caught, deterred him.

He was then posted to the East Indies where he was badly wounded, nearly losing a leg. After his return, his next ship ran aground off Plymouth and, this time, he took the opportunity to desert but was quickly taken by a press gang. Terrified of being identified, he escaped and reached Scotland and home.

As well as being a wonderful yarn, the book is also a vivid depiction of early nineteenth-century naval life. His writing abilities were considerable and his depiction of his experiences in the East Indies are full of the flavour of the region, while the sailor's natural inclination to drink and debauchery is told with verve.

Publication date: 17 Dec 2010
Hardback