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Log of the 'Gloucester'
During Anson's circumnavigation of the world in the 1740s, approximately 1300 men died of disease, chiefly scurvy. Over a quarter of the crew on the 'Gloucester' were so badly affected that she was abandoned and set on fire, the log being transferred in August 1742 to Anson's own ship, the 'Centurion'. The log of the 'Gloucester' makes grim reading. Men were dying day-by-day from this mysterious disease, with their skin blotchy, gums swollen and bleeding, and suffering from acute lethargy. Its then entirely unknown cause was a deficiency of vitamin C, the source of which (fresh fruit and vegetables) was always lacking on long sea voyages.
Lieutenant Patrick Baird
- Image reference: D4670
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London