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[Question] What Happened to Captains Who Lost Their Ship?

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Whether it from being sank, captured, or lost to weather.. What happened to captains who lost their sailing ship? Were they given a new one? or would they lose their position as captain and replaced with new ones.

 

Many thanks,

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8 minutes ago, Slim Jimmerson said:

Whether it from being sank, captured, or lost to weather.. What happened to captains who lost their sailing ship? Were they given a new one? or would they lose their position as captain and replaced with new ones.

 

Many thanks,

They were court-martialed to decide if they were at fault.

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well at least in the case of Captain Bligh and the Bounty which is well documented , he was subjected to a rather extensive investigation. Even history has wavered on whether he was a good captain or behaved badly in the well known case.

 

He was given commands after being evicted from the Bounty but only after a proper enquiry. Captains who lost their ships in battle etc probably had similar enquiries

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There's very little occasions where full commissions were lost due to ship loss.

A inquiry was always conducted. Crew was interviewed and whenever possible the opponents as well, through diplomats. Remember many officers had friendship/family ties and conducted regular correspondence and were easy to reach.

A Flag station would have "a ship", or better said "the ship". That's when the name of the captain becomes tied to the name of the sip :)

Other assignments were by cruise. So upon return to port the captain could be given another ship for another cruise.

Engagement Rules and other Naval Officer guides of conduct were "law" almost.

 

Great discussion theme.

 

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Note that new ships were not always easy to come by in every country in any year, at least not straight away, since they might be busy somewhere, or might be being built ( a certain captain might expect a better ship than the first floating thing that is free), and that captains who got cleared and received a new ship might afterwards have some issues due to the stain, or due to the new ship they receive ( which might have been supposed to go to some other captain, possibly related to yet another one ).

A board of enquiry might dismiss the need for a court martial, depending on the time and place.

I just found this book now which might be of interest to some people here ( haven't bought it ) Naval Courts Martial, 1793-1815  "Chapter Three is devoted to proceedings against types of naval offence, such a mutiny, insolence, desertion or loss of ship. "

Besides paperwork, there tends to be letters of captains complaining about the unfairness of their situation to their family and friends as well.

 

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16 hours ago, Vizzini said:

well at least in the case of Captain Bligh and the Bounty which is well documented , he was subjected to a rather extensive investigation. Even history has wavered on whether he was a good captain or behaved badly in the well known case.

 

He was given commands after being evicted from the Bounty but only after a proper enquiry. Captains who lost their ships in battle etc probably had similar enquiries

Captain Bligh was also at a later date a governor of one of Australia's colonies, where upon he was involved in a second mutiny, It was said Captain Bligh,  was by reputation, an outstanding seaman and also it was claimed that he may have been overzealous in administering punishment, In so far as it has been ascertained, he was for his time, moderate in the use of the 'cat' for punishment. It should also n be noted Captain Bligh was one of Nelsons protégés. 

It has long been the case that Royal Naval Captains who lost their commands, or even just grounded or collided with other objects were subjected to a board of inquiry just as merchant Captains were, the difference being Naval Captains inquiries were carried out under the Articles of War rather then than Admiralty law which makes up much of British law. If the Board felt that they could not impose sufficient punishment  as in cases involving dereliction of duty or alleged cowardice, then the Officer was forwarded for Courts Martial, Punishment varied, from being beached on half pay, dismissal from the service and in some cases the death penalty was applied, most never achieved promotion if they remained in the service nor were they offered further commands, Those who were acquitted from such boards of inquiry went on command other ships. 

The last couple of Boards of Inquiry involve combat veterans of the Falklands conflict, one for colliding with London Bridge,  the other for grounding his ship off of Australia, While the Captain was not actually aboard at the time of his command grounding, both he and his First Lt.  were censured for the incidents in their service records as was the Frigate Captain for colliding with London Bridge, While the expression of their Lordships displeasure would not prevent them from obtaining other commands, (indeed Captain Salt of HMS Sheffield received a new command vey quickly after the loss of his ship and his board of Inquiry)  it is  unlikely they will  attain Flag Rank.

Edited by Sir Lancelot Holland
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