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Yellow Jack and the WormBritish Naval Administration in the West Indies, 1739-1748$
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Duncan Crewe

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780853232674

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317361

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date: 21 November 2017

Manning – The Scale of the Problem

Manning – The Scale of the Problem

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 2 Manning – The Scale of the Problem
Source:
Yellow Jack and the Worm
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317361.005

This chapter discusses the shortage of manpower for ships in the West Indies. Sickness was the single biggest cause of ships being short of men. Much of the effort expended trying to cure the sick was aimed at recovering as many men as possible for the service. The possibility of getting sick also discouraged men from voluntarily serving in the Caribbean, while those compelled to do so were often more prepared to risk punishment for desertion than to wait for death from yellow fever. Desertion was another serious problem, particularly in wartime, when the captains of merchant ships, and privateers desperate for crews, were often prepared to help deserters evade the clutches of the navy. The problem of manpower wastage was compounded by the very limited recruiting options open to the navy.

Keywords:   ships, sailors, seamen, sickness, Caribbean, deserters, desertion, British navy, recruitment

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