Wednesday 25 August 2021

Only Female Survivor of Royal George, 1782.


The “Royal George” at Deptford Showing the Launch of “The Cambridge”, 1757 (Credit: John Cleveley the Elder, National Maritime Museum.)

Taster for recommended blog entry. 

Dr Hilary L Rubinstein's sleuthing has produced The Only Female Survivor of the Sinking of the Royal George.

'The woman was Elizabeth (“Betty”) Horn, née Badcock, daughter of a Plymouth shipwright.'Baptised in 1758, she had since 1778 been married to John Horn, an experienced seaman who was now a petty officer, serving as one of the ship’s quartermasters  ... 

'[When the ship sank at Spithead, because of a mistake, 'A chivalrous seaman dragged the surrounded, struggling Betty out of one of the  [portholes] and threw her clear of the ship.

'No sooner had he done so than the ship lurched further, so that the portholes were almost horizontally above the heads of people who had not yet managed to escape, and who consequently dropped back into the ship.

'To the sound of haunting screams, the ship then sank, trapping most of her terrified occupants ... into the sea.'

For fuller details, including other women's plights, see

Hilary's latest book is Catastrophe at Spithead: the Sinking of the Royal George, by Seaforth Publishing, 2020.

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