April 28 was not a good day for Lieutenant William Bligh. Then again, the way things had been shaping up, it was bound to be bad. In fact, with hands tightly bound behind his back while standing on the deck of his ship, many thousands of miles from civilization and with bayonets hovering near his face, it couldn’t get much worse — or so it may have seemed.
Bligh was a career officer in the Royal Navy, joining the service as ship’s boy and captain’s servant onboard the HMS Monmouth, 64 guns, in 1762. He was not quite 8 years old. Still, this was plum assignment at the time, and one that only a privileged family could assure for a son.
Though conditions onboard a Royal Navy warship at the time would be viewed as abhorrent by modern standards, Bligh would have been trained in naval tradition, ship handling, navigation, mathematics and much more by the Captain and officers. His training would prove to be necessary for his survival eventually.