Warfare in News

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Posted on Tuesday 13th December

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is currently displaying a genuine 'Jolly Roger' Pirate Flag, c.1790, which is believed to have been captured by Admiral Richard Curry off the coast of North Africa.

The flag is an excellent example of the 'skull and crossbones' flag of the pirate ship, which would have been used to frighten passing ships into surrendering without a fight. This symbol, appropriated from the symbol used in ships' logs to represent death on board, was first used as a pirate flag around 1700 and became very popular with pirates.

Recent conservation work on the flag suggest that the black stains and small holes in the flag are gunpowder burns.

Organized piracy ended in the 19th century but has not disappeared completely: the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary continue to be at the forefront in the fight against piracy that threatens international shipping lanes.

The NMRN are keen to tell stories such as these relating to the on-going work of the Royal Navy in their new 20th/21st Century galleries set to open in 2014.

Further Reading

Pirate Hunter - The Life of Captain Woodes Rogers

Only £19.99

Pirate Hunter - The Life of Captain Woodes Rogers

(Hardback - 224 pages)
by Graham A Thomas

On 2 August 1708 Captain Woodes Rogers set sail from Bristol with two ships, the Duke and Duchess, on an epic voyage of circumnavigation that was to make him famous. His mission was to attack, plunder and pillage Spanish ships wherever he could. And, as Graham Thomas shows in this tense and exciting narrative, after a series of pursuits and sea battles he returned laden with booty and with a reputation as one of the… Read more...


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