Sometimes, here at the SoG, we open up a box of archived papers and a story comes tumbling out at us. This one opened up navy life in the 1700s. It’s just three small sheets of paper, handwritten, with the title Adml Forbes’s reasons for not signing Adml Byng’s Dead Warrant. Who was Admiral Byng and why was he being executed? Who was Admiral Forbes, why did he refuse to sign the death warrant, and did he save Admiral Byng?
John Byng (baptised 29 October 1704) was born in the village of Southhill, Bedfordshire. At 13, like his father, John joined the Royal Navy. He was a captain by the time he was 23, later becoming Commodore-Governor of Newfoundland, and an MP for Rochester.....Read more