HMS Wager (1739)

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HMS Wager was a vessel in the Royal Navy.[1] She was one of the vessels that set out on George Anson's voyage around the world.

Anson's vessels were scattered during the dangerous rounding of Cape Horn.[1] The Wager was wrecked on the far Southern coast of Chile in 1741.

Once the vessel was wrecked there was a dispute over leadership of the survivors.[1] At that time once a vessel was wrecked the seamen were no longer paid. The seamen told their officers that their authority over them had ended when the vessel was wrecked.

The survivors split into factions.[1] One faction from the lower deck proceeded back to Europe in open boats. Another faction, including most of the officers, proceeded North, where they were captured by their Spanish enemies, and eventually exchanged.

In 1748 George Anson, the officer who commanded the squadron which included the Wager, was a senior administrator who was in a position to reform the Navy.[1] One of his reforms changed the basis of Naval discipline, so it still applied to ships' crews if the vessels were wrecked or captured.

John Byron, one of the Wager's surviving midshipmen later commanded his own expedition to the Pacific in 1764-66.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 CHILE 2006, Scientific Exploration Society, 2006. Retrieved on 2008-02-20. “However, once ashore a dispute arose regarding the Captain's powers of command over the soldiers who had been aboard and the sailors who, once their ship was wrecked, were no longer paid by the Navy.”
  2. John Byron. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Retrieved on 2008-08-14.