Sir; I write with regard to the letter from Tim Craig (15 January) who assisted in the preparations for a burial at sea. However, I recall that when I visited HMS Victory at Portsmouth, the guide told me that "the stitch through the nose" was to prevent the escape of press-ganged sailors in the early part of the 19th century.
Apparently, the ruse used in order to escape was to get substituted for a dead body in the canvas body bag. The authorities got wise to this subterfuge; so, in order to prevent sailors escaping, they used to put a stitch through the nose when sewing up the bag.
N. H. E. Lewis
Nelson, Mid GlamorganReuse content