In 1741, amidst the treacherous waters of Cape Horn, on the southernmost tip of South America, the British warship HMS Wager pushed through a violent storm, hoping to carry out a mission against the Spanish to alleviate them of one it’s trade ships, enriched with gold and silver, and bring the bounty home to England. It was a time of great pomp amongst the British Navy, whose continual wars with the Spanish were prompting the great rise of British Sea Power. Surely nothing could possibly go wrong. Years later, the same men sent out to fight the Spanish, were arriving back on English shores, after making a perilous escape attempt from a deserted island, following a harrowing ordeal of starvation, disease, and mutiny and murder. Far from the great victory that the admiralty had imagined, it had instead turned into a nightmarish tale of human endurance in the face of the bleakest of situations.


Grann, David (2023) The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny & Murder. Simon & Schuster Ltd. NY, USA.

Marshall, P. J. (1998) Rodger, N. A. M., ‘Sea-Power and Empire, 1688–1793 in The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume II: The Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK.

River Editors, Charles (2016) The HMS Wager: The History of the 18th Century’s Most Famous Shipwreck and Mutiny. Createspace Independent Publishing. USA.

Bulkeley, John & Cummins, John (1757) A voyage to the South Seas. Jacob Robinson, London, UK.

Byron, John (1768) Narrative of the Hon. John Byron; Being an Account of the Shipwreck of The Wager; and the Subsequent Adventures of Her Crew. London, UK.

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