A memory of the British Navy in the 1800's?

Discussion in 'Past Life Memories' started by ChrisR, May 26, 2007.

  1. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I thought i'd post this in here because i'm not sure what this was. Before i go on, i'd just like to mention that i already have a memory of a past-life as a woman onboard an old wooden sailing ship, i've been meditating on this, but until now i always seem to be distracted by other things. I have to make it clear that in my present life, i have a very deep interest in the British Navy around the time of Nelson in the early 1800's. Maybe this interest is because of a possible past-life that i had at that time.

    Anyway, on to the vision. It was very brief, but very clear. I was sitting alone in a public house, filled with noisy drunken men. It was very dimly lit in there, and there was a huge log fire burning to one side of the room, and the floor was wet and sticky with spilt ale, there was a lot of shouting and laughter going on. Here i am a woman, pretending to be a man, and i was here for a purpose.

    The entrance door bursts open, and a group of men enter, some of them are in a uniform very much like this, and a couple of them take their place at the entrance doors, as if to stop anyone from leaving (again, i was able to find the picture easily with my knowledge of the era) I see 2 men from the group grappling with a man, one of them is pulling on the sleeve of his jacket, but he manages to wriggle himself completely out of it, and makes a run for the exit, where the 2 guards stop him and turn him back into the room. I see his jacket on the floor, i pick it up and put it on in the hope that it will further conceal my "feminine" curves, and it fits perfectly.

    I have a mug of beer, and i try to drink and appear like a man, i wipe my sleeve across my mouth and spit on the floor, i'm trying to catch the attention of this group of men.

    This is where the vision ends. I think the group of men were what was known then as a "press-gang". They were an organisation of the Navy, who used to patrol the streets and bars, and they would "recruit" civilians or merchant seamen, often by force, into the navy to fight for their country.

    In the vision, i felt that i was trying to get myself press-ganged into the Navy, by disguising myself as a man. I may have succeeded because i have further memories of being onboard the vessel, although it was as a woman, who was not pretending to be a man, so somewhere down the line i may have been caught out.

    Now i'm not sure how much of this vision is memory, and how much may have been influenced by my present knowledge of the Navy at that time. It certainly didn't feel like an ordinary dream, and it just felt too personal to come from something that i may have previously read about. I could feel the tension in that house, and i left the meditation with butterflies in my stomach. A quick search on Google has so far come up with some promising results, like this:

     
  2. Hippy16

    Hippy16 Senior Registered

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    Very Interesting memory Chris. And vivid! Have you been a woman many times before? Is this your first male life in a while? I was a woman the past two times, seems we have alot of similarities.
     
  3. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hi Hippy,

    Yes, i have memories of 4 different past-lives so far, all of them female. I feel that my present life is my first as a male. I'll go into more detail about that when i PM you..;)
     
  4. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Hi Chris,


    Do you have any memories of late WWI or WWII?
     
  5. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hi Deborah,


    No i don't have any memories of either of the World Wars, although i do believe i was around sometime between 1910-1930. This is just a feeling i get for that time period, i haven't validated any specific years yet.


    I don't have any memories of any conflict at that time if that's what you mean. Now i'm curious to know why you ask?


    Chris.. :)
     
  6. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    sent ya a PM. ;)
     
  7. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    Interesting Chris. It certainly sounds like a past life. I think the presence of dirt in a memory is a pretty strong indicator! The ale on the floor, the spitting and so on. :)


    Press-ganging of course was notoriously commonplace during that time as England needed a strong navy and did not just ask nicely for people to join up. I have heard there was quite a 'thing' of women dressing up as men in that period as well, in the 'wild west' and all over really. Women could not make an honest living very well if they were single, so there was a financial imperative to get work as a man for sheer survival. Also, many were gay (and/or transexual) and just preferred to live as a man and many got away with it for a long period.


    I found this of interest: http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LE...s.08.doc/RK=1/RS=ONYsabL1w1aVYjM5360kmFaA670-


    It must have been a bit of a trend. There are numerous romantic ballads about women dressing up as sailors to find their true love and one of a woman dressing up as a highwayman to test if her lover would give up the ring she had given him under duress (he didn't of course).

    http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiSOVAY;ttSOVAY.html


    I wonder what you were up to? It must have been a very dangerous thing to do really! I can imagine what might happen to a woman found illegally on board a ship!! Eeek!
     
  8. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    Chris, thank you for sharing the memory, it was very vivid, and I also think that's a good indicator of it being a "real" one! If you have more, fire away!


    Tanguerra, it's interesting that you mention "Sovay, the Female Highwayman", which is one of my favourites from my sailor life as well!


    I've read that there was a woman in the British navy who was a former African slave; she dressed up as a man and was so skilled that she even became a gunner. However, she was discovered one day, but her captain remained cool and said she could stay as long as she and the crew behaved, since he couldn't afford losing such a good gunner...and apparently they all did behave and "he" could stay. Of course, the treatment of women varied from case to case, so perhaps that was an exception...There were lots of women in the army, too, and not only in the song "The Female Drummer Boy" ;)


    As you said, it was the only honest way of making a living for women; I can't remember meeting any in my sailor life, but lately I've started wondering if there weren't a few on my ship as well. Perhaps there were, but I never noticed; after all, who would have thought of such a thing back then, and thus come to suspect a shipmate of not being what he seems to be?


    Here are some more (hopefully) interesting links by the way:


    The Female Drummer


    The German bit says:

    Jackaroe


    The Handsome Cabin Boy


    Farewell Nancy
     
  9. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Thanks for the links and replies everyone..:thumbsup:...I thought this was an unusual memory to have, i never realized how common it was for women to disguise themselves as men to join the forces at that time.

    There are still plenty of gaps to fill in, but i have a couple more brief memories from this life. In one, i was onboard the ship, but i was a woman, and not pretending to be a man, so either i was caught, or i found another way to get aboard. I remember struggling with a large container of water, to get to a group of men sitting round a table eating. The motion of the ship was making it difficult for me to carry it, and none of them got up to help me.


    The other memory was just a flash, i remember loud noise like thunder (cannonfire perhaps?) i remember looking down at my arm, and it was ripped open up to my elbow, it was a severe wound. I don't remember anything else, but i could just feel that it was from that life, and that i was still on that ship...maybe i was there during a battle?


    Reynardine, would you know if a wound like this would likely have meant the loss of a limb? Because i'm sure that i have further memories from this life, after my "career" at sea, but i don't recall having only one arm in them, i know that very many sailors lost limbs, simply because the ships surgeons didn't have the time to save them during a battle. Maybe i was treated differently because i was a woman??
     
  10. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    Chris, as far as I remember surgeons usually amputated if the bone was injured, but I don't think many did if it was only a flesh wound, since that could be bandaged in relatively little time and properly be looked after later, after the more critically injured patients had been treated. Maybe the surgeon on your ship saw that the bone wasn't affected and that's why you got to keep your arm, or perhaps it was because you were a woman.


    When I read your memory my first thought was "splinter"; maybe a cannonball hit your ship and your arm was ripped open by a large splinter. They caused very nasty and ugly wounds, yours sounds awful as well!


    I do remember being wounded, but I was burnt by a piece of sail that had caught fire, and so was in no danger of having bits sawed off ;) Besides, the doctor thought I would die anyway, and didn't do anything about my wounds, which turned out to have been a good thing in the end...


    Your memory about the large container of water sounds like the things I remember as well; sailors were separated into "messes" of roughly ten to fifteen men, and one of each one went to the galley to fetch food and drink for everyone. When he brought it back to the table, he sat down with his back to the others, holding up a bit of food or pointing at it so the others didn't see it, and asked "Who shall have this?" and the others called the name of one of their messmates. Since nobdy saw what they were getting there were less arguments, which was very helpful for the general atmosphere!


    I didn't remember that before I saw it in one of the Horatio Hornblower films with Ioan Gruffud, but when I saw that I got that feeling of "having been there and done that" that went far beyond watching a film and enjoying it - it's very hard to describe, but I hope you understand what I mean!
     
  11. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Thanks Reynardine. Yes i understand exactly what you mean, i really enjoyed watching Hornblower too. I get the same feeling when i visit Nelson's ship, the HMS Victory. Every time i'm in that area, i get drawn to it again and again. I first visited when i was about 11, and like you said, what i experienced went way beyond enjoyment. I remember looking up the masts and seeing all the rigging, and it all looked so "familiar". And when the guide took us to the spot where Nelson was shot down, i remember feeling very emotional, i hung back, pretending to tie my shoelaces, and when everybody had moved on, i had to touch the spot where he fell, that made me feel very strange... :eek: ..Of course, at that age, i had no idea that perhaps i was "remembering" something .. I must have visited that ship at least 10 times since.


    Did you know that only about 10% of the original Victory remains? And yet the smell is still the same, that's the first thing i noticed, that smell takes me to another time and place. I'm sure i remember you saying that you've been on the Victory, did you notice that?
     
  12. Thalia

    Thalia Probationary

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    Chris you should ask a guide of the tour of that ship he or she could know something about a woman on the ship:rolleyes:
     
  13. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Thanks Thalia, that's a good idea, and next time i visit the ship, i will ask. I don't think i was on the Victory in my past-life, it would be nice if i was, it was a great honor to serve on the Admiral's flagship, but there were many more ships, if i was on one of them, i'd love to be able to remember which one it was...maybe one day..:rolleyes:
     
  14. Thalia

    Thalia Probationary

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    You'll remember it very soon:thumbsup:
     
  15. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    Chris, the smell definitely is something I remember! That took me back to another time and place as well, and made me feel very strange in a pleasant way. I was amazed that the ship still smelled like that, and all of a sudden I realised why I had always liked the smell of hot asphalt, since it's similar to that of the rigging impregnated with tar.


    My friend and I are planning to visit the Victory again one day, as we both enjoyed the visit very much as well. It was quite funny when we stood in front of the chain pump that was used to pump water that had seeped in out of the bilge, and a child asked his father what that was; when the father said he didn't know we explained it to them. The father looked a bit like that: :eek: ;) Having read all the Jack Aubrey novels definitly helps with the technical stuff so you can impress people with random bits of knowledge :)


    It sounds as if you definitely have memories of Nelson's death, only you can't access them at the moment. Perhaps you were quite close to him, or admired him; I only saw him from afar once, when our fleet was lying at anchor somehow and he was on the next ship. But even from that distance I could sense what people meant when they talked of his impressive personality, and I thought I could understand why so many people admired him!


    Here's another link I didn't think about earlier (duh!), about the woman pirate Mary Read. She lived some decades earlier, and perhaps you've heard of her, but I thought I'd post the link here anyway. She must have been quite a character!
     
  16. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I remembered something very clearly from this life when I was having a quiet moment to myself, and just about to nod off to sleep...:rolleyes:... I was aware of the rolling motion of the ship, and I was having a discussion with one of the sailors, whose name was Tom. I don't know how he found out, but he knew that I was a woman (pretending to be a man) and he swore to keep his silence in return for "small favours" (don't ask... :eek: )


    On this occasion, he was asking me for how long I was expecting to keep this charade up, and I replied with something like "I expect to keep this 'charade' up for a very long time to come" ~ (hmmm...I wonder if there was any form of contraception in those days, otherwise, i would have had a tough time explaining that away to my fellow sailors... :eek: :D ..) Anyway, the exact words I said escaped me before I even got a chance to write it down.


    But more significantly, I remember seeing a bucket or a pale, with brass bands around it, and indented into the brass was the name "Orient" or maybe "arient" (with a small 'a'). I've been researching this, and there were ships at that time called Orient, Orion and Ardent. What I saw wasn't clear enough for me to tell for certain which of those (if any) it was, but I want to further research these ships and see if I can fnd anything familiar.
     
  17. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    That's an interesting memory, Chris, thank you for sharing! It's great that you found out there were ships named like that, the only one I could have thought of was L'Orient, but she was French, and destroyed in the Battle of the Nile. Let us know if you find out something new, okay?


    As for contraceptives, perhaps you used slices of lemons; in my Elizabethan life my Spanish Jewish wife taught our apprentice Tom's fiancee how to use slices of lemons so no "accidents" would happen if they "practiced" a little before marriage. She told us so later, after they had married, when I told her I had once caught Tom sneaking Betsy up to his room, and had allowed her to stay. ;) There usually were lots of lemons on board to be squeezed into the drinking water against scurvy, so maybe you used them. Does that sound familiar?
     
  18. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    That is very interesting, I never knew that lemons have been used as contraceptives.


    Chris, it's exiting that you got another memory :) I surely hope that you were able to avoid pregnancy - I can't stand to think of what your punishment would be if they found out...:eek:


    :)
     
  19. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Thanks for your comments. Reynardine, I have read about L'Orient, she was literally blown to pieces in that battle. I definitely wasn't French in that life.


    And no, I didn't know anything about using lemons as a contraceptive, I may have done back then though, thanks for that piece of information.


    Sunniva, I joined the ship disguised as a man, but at some point, I was caught out, because I have memories of being on that ship as a woman. So I think I managed to avoid pregnancy (I probably would have jumped overboard otherwise.. :D ) Maybe, at some point, I refused to be blackmailed by that sailor, and he reported me? I don't know if there was any punishment for that kind of thing.
     
  20. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    You're welcome, Chris! It seemed the most obvious thing to me, and if my wife knew about it in the 1590s, there was a chance the method would still be around!


    As far as I've read, there was no punishment for women disguised as men; some were allowed to stay on, especially those who had become very good at their jobs, and the others were discreetly brought ashore at the next port. I remember reading about one coloured woman who became a gunner, and when she was found out, her captain (Edward Pellew, I think) said he couldn't afford losing a good gunner like her, so she was allowed to stay as long as she didn't cause any trouble. And apparently that worked quite well; maybe none of the men dared come too close to a woman who could handle cannons so well :)
     
  21. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Lolol :laugh:


    It makes me feel good that there was no punishment for doing it. :)
     
  22. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    Yes, me, too! ;)
     
  23. Skarphedinn

    Skarphedinn Member

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    This topic - a fair maiden disguised as a man on board - is a dear one for me, and it turns up often in English folk songs.


    Reynardine, Sunniva you might be familiar with such songs for you lived in England in the previous centuries. If not, try Joan Baez or the Pentangle. ;)


    Skarphedinn
     
  24. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I think I now know the name of the ship that I sailed on after a meditation took me back to my life as a sailor in Nelson's navy.

    I've done some research and there was indeed an HMS Orion in the British Navy between the years 1787-1814. She took part in all of the major battles, including the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar. I'm sure that I remember brief scenes from a battle, but I have no idea which one it was. I remember a serious wound being inflicted on my arm, which left it ripped open from my wrist to my elbow.


    I wonder if the name on the side of the rowing boat was the name of the ship to which it belonged?
     
  25. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Very interesting memories, Chris, thank you for sharing :)


    Do you have any feelings as to whether you died in battle or left the ship alive?


    Curious as always,


    Aili :)
     
  26. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    Vrery interesting, Chris, thank you for posting! So you must have been in the Battle of the Nile as well; do you remember witnessing how the French flagship, the L'Orient, caught fire and blew up? That must have been a very shocking thing indeed (I saw a documentary about it some years ago), both for friend and foe. I missed it because I was already unconscious at the time, having been knocked down by a bit of burning rigging on the Bellerophon...


    Every ship had at least two or three different small rowing boats, usually stored upside down or covered with sailcloth, on the deck. They were used for carrying passengers ashore and to the ship, or to pull the ship when it was becalmed, and I suppose they could be used as lifeboats as well, if there still was time to launch them. They were of a different size, and I think sometimes the name of the ship they belonged to was painted on them as well.


    Very interesting indeed; please let us know if you remember more!
     
  27. Karoliina

    Karoliina Moderator Emerita

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    Yay, Chris! Congratulations! :thumbsup:


    Karoliina
     
  28. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Thanks for your comments, they are very much appreciated as always.


    Aili, I think I left the ship in one piece. I don't know the circumstances under which I left yet. Whether I served the full duration of my time onboard the ship, or whether I was 'caught out' for hiding my true identity, I have no idea. But I have a few other vague memories, which I feel belong to this life, where I see myself as a maid in a big house, and I am caring for an old lady who lives on her own there.


    Reynardine, I can't remember which of the battles I was present at. The 'Orion' was in service for 27 years, and I could have been aboard for 1 month, or 1 year, or 10 years, I have no idea. But I do remember at least one battle, and I feel sure it was in Nelson's time, due to my fascination with him during my childhood in my present life. I was always drawn to the Battle of Trafalgar, and Nelsons' heroic death, so maybe I was present at that battle?


    I wonder how close we may have been to each other during battle Reynardine? Do you remember fighting in any other battles other than the Nile?


    Thanks for the information regarding the rowing boats. I already knew that these boats were kept on the upper deck, but I never knew they were kept upside down, or that the name of the ship was painted on them, how interesting, thank you - :)


    [​IMG]
    https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs...kie/orion/hms_orion2_krl_net.JPG&action=click

     
  29. Reynardine

    Reynardine Senior Registered

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    Chris, you're right, you could have been on the Orion for a short time or a long, but perhaps we were relatively close at the Nile. To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me that much!


    The fact that you're so fascinated with Trafalgar could indeed mean that you were there. Why else should you find it so interesting?


    No, I don't remember any other battles, just being blown out of the rigging of the bomb ketch I was on in the Baltic Sea in 1801, and drowning in the icy water. I never had many memories of my sailor life, maybe it wasn't important...
     
  30. Peter V

    Peter V Senior Registered

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    Just an FYI, the uniform in the pic you linked to is a royal marine uniform. Its consistent with your story.
     

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