William Bligh ~ 1754-1817

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     William Bligh went to sea at the age of eight. In 1776 he was Master (navigator) of H.M.S. Resolution commanded by Captain James Cook on his third voyage. He left the Royal Navy in 1783 and entered the Merchant Service, and in 1785 commanded his first ship, the Lynx. He returned to the Navy in 1787 and was put in command of H.M.S. Bounty with the responsibility of collecting and transporting 1000 breadfruit seedlings from Tahiti to the British West Indies.
     This voyage ended in mutiny and a remarkable 3,200 mile voyage by Bligh and the other officers to the island of Timor. In 1792 Bligh returned to Tahiti, collected the breadfruit seedlings and brought them successfully to the West Indies.
     A side note: On the 1787 voyage Bligh had Kendallís K2 chronometer, based on Harrisonís H4. The mutineers apparently took the chronometer and were able to use it to determine their longitude to find Pitcairn Island. It was subsequently found at Concepcion, Chile and eventually found its way to Britain.
     Bligh wrote of his voyages in his book, A Voyage to the South Sea, Undertaken by Command of His Majesty, for the purpose of Conveying the Bread-Fruit Tree to the West Indies, in His Majesty's Ship The Bounty, commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh. Including an account of the Mutiny on board the said ship, and the subsequent voyage of Part of the Crew, in the Ship's Boat, From Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, To Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies. The whole illustrated with charts, &c., in 1792.
     The stamp shows Bligh with a map of the western Pacific, a breadfruit plant, and an enlarged map of the island of Timor.

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