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CategoriesNooks and also cranniesYesteryearSemantic enigmasThe human body beautifulRed tape, white liesSpeculative scienceThis sceptred isleRoot of all evilEthical conundrumsThis sporting lifeStage and screenBirds and also the bees YESTERYEARWHY space pirates invariably illustrated with eyepatches and wooden legs? to be there a higher incidence of industrial injury in their line the work, or to be they just clumsy? THERE to be a high rate of such industrial injuries in all sea-faring in between the center of the 17th century and also the finish of the Napoleonic wars (the period featured in Hollywood swashbucklers). It could hardly have been otherwise. The most common kind of sea engagement during that duration seems to have been the medium or close-range firing of cannon broadside on, at, or between, vessels. Top top to and also into those pearl came wrecking cannon balls, which, as soon as they did not decapitate or otherwise death outright, lopped off limbs, or at least smashed them therefore destructively the only well-known chance for survive was note amputation. Cannonades brought down hefty timber on and through decks - more crushing injuries, an ext amputations - and also turned the timber of a ship into cutting projectiles. If muskets were provided at closer range, a hefty musket-ball was at the very least as likely to smash a limb (needing amputation) regarding pierce it. And also in hand-to-hand combat to secure a ship, the cutlass was common, because as a slashing weapon it could be provided with the minimum the footwork, in tight conditions. An ext severing injuries, and additionally vertical cut to the forehead and also down through the eye-area. Return soldiers during the exact same era faced comparable dangers, the concentration of fire top top the relatively small, man-filled target that a ship must have meant sailors/pirates had actually a very high possibility of mutilation. An also bigger one of death. And also at sea the isn"t simple to run away. Ann MacDonald, Clapham, London. THE main cause, surely, to be the form of artillery in use. Eighteenth century cannons were loaded with coarse black color gunpowder, and fired by placing some of the flour in a hole at the earlier of the gun and also lighting it through a slow-moving match. Although many of the powder would blast forward, an appreciable proportion would vent out with the touch-hole. Everyone firing a cannon to be therefore very likely to gain a blast the burning flour in the face, with a grave threat of eye injury. A smooth-bored gun, shooting a roughly rounded shooting with poor quality powder from a relocating ship would just have specific range that a couple of yards. It was probably customary come fire a broadside almost at the allude of contact. In ~ that selection a cannon-ball fired right into the side of a wooden ship would certainly scatter big jagged splinters that wood about the deck. Anyone receiving a wound in the human body would probably die of gangrene in ~ a few days. Gangrene could be impede in a body injury, however, by fast removal of the body (first partially anaesthetising the patient v rum or laudanum - a solution of opium and also rum), tying up the reduced arteries and cauterising the stump in hot tar. Anyone who survived the prompt traumatic effect of this therapy would more than likely escape gangrenous infection, however would have actually to manipulate a prosthetic an equipment such together a hook or wood leg. Boy name Guha, London SE3. When you"ve acquired a shiny new hook because that a hand you"ll find why one eye spot is required when you attempt to obstacle your eye. Bridget Savage, Bexley, Kent. Seafarers of the period who were injured were discharged. As their profession was the sea, their just recourse to earn a living to be piracy. Your physical disabilities to be an benefit if castle instilled fear into your unfortunate victims: the more ruthless castle appeared, the better their possibility of success. F E Jones, Gt Sankey, Warrington. Seven words:Long john Silver used as a template. Seamus Ryan, Limerick, Ireland this answers overly emphasis on armaments as the factor behind sailors" injuries; vice versa, the bulk of sailors operated in merchant men which never saw marine action.The injuries were resulted in by the ships" technology and cargo. All occupational was done by hand utilizing blocks & tackle, hawsers, and also capstans & windlasses. The sailors regularly worked in ~ heights accessed by rope ladders. There were no safety and security hanesses or functioning platforms. They worked in awkward hold stowing odd shaped cargos. They had an appalling diet and worked long and also irregular hrs under the direction of autocratic ships" masters.Is it any wonder that so countless sailors shed limbs and eyes? Peter Brooke, Kinmuck Scotland add your answer

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