Bligh's logbook rewrites 'Bounty' story

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The Independent Online

It is one of the most famous episodes in the history of seafaring. The revolt led by Fletcher Christian against a tyrannical Captain Bligh aboard HMS Bounty has been portrayed in several Hollywood movies - with Bligh always cast as the villain.

It is one of the most famous episodes in the history of seafaring. The revolt led by Fletcher Christian against a tyrannical Captain Bligh aboard HMS Bounty has been portrayed in several Hollywood movies - with Bligh always cast as the villain.

But now a previously unseen logbook, written by Bligh himself, recounts the dramatic moment when he was pulled from his bed by armed men, casting doubt on the alleged heroism of Mr Christian.

Captain Bligh's logbook describes how Mr Christian and three other men came into his cabin and grabbed him from his bed: "[They] tied my hands behind my back and threatened me with instant death if I made the least noise ... Mr Christian had a cutlass in his hand; the others had muskets and bayonets. I was forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain from the violence with which they had tied my hands. I demanded the reason for such a violent act, but I received no answer."

The logbook forms part of an exhibition at the National Archives in Kew, west London, which opens on Wednesday.

Andrew Lambert, professor of naval history at King's College London, said the account "challenges the Hollywood version" of the story.

"I hope this gives Bligh a second chance," said Professor Lambert. "His courage in battle is undoubted. The films have cast him as the acme of tyranny. It is a travesty."

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