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Misremembered history

I have in my mind an old story. An island somewhere the population was hopelessly inbred. Solved by the Royal Navy parking offshore there every year – for maybe 50 years – and giving the sailors a run ashore each time. Now I might have invented that but pretty sure I haven’t. Might have exaggerated it which I might well have done.

But can anyone think of what I might be thinking about?

15 thoughts on “Misremembered history”

  1. You’re thinking of Pitcairn Island, the home of the Bounty mutineers. The Royal Navy did have a policy of regularly stopping there to improve genetic diversity.

  2. I could have suggested the Isle of Ely, but he wasn’t born there, was he? Don’t suppose he’s done much for the genetic diversity either. What self respecting woman would?

  3. I was told by an ex-soldier that when he was stationed at Parkhurst Barracks on the Isle of Wight in the 50’s, an officer informed the company that the sole purpose of their presence was to impregnate local girls due to counter the level of inbreeding there.

  4. I think that one of the South Atlantic islands, Saint Helena, Ascension or Tristan da Cunha, is more likely than Pitcairn.

  5. There have in the past been ships called HMS Mars and HMS Marathon but I cannot find one called HMS Snickers.

  6. Having once been married to a far-distant relation of Mr Christian (now there’s an opening line!), and learning quite-a-bit about tge history, I doubt very much it was Pitcairn. Visits the island after the settlement of the mutineers were very infrequent – as seldom as once every 5 or 6 years throughout the C19 – and almost-always by commercial vessels like whalers. The Royal Navy visited only 3 or 4 times in the C19. The islanders are famously-inbred, being all descended in one way or another from just 2 of the surviving mutineers, and any genetic diversity comes more from the arrivals of other South Sea Islanders, not passing Europeans.



  7. May be off topic, but could be in “Rascals in Paradise”. Written by James Michener, of South Pacific fame, it’s a collection of short stories of those that went to the South Pacific in search of better lives.

    The opening dedication tells of an Australian foreseeing WW2 in Europe, he scouted the atlas for a quite place to hide out. He thought Guadalcanal was the best choice.

    Or the first ever time share scam by some Frenchie, who threw the settlers overboard at the Solomon Islands to be eaten, a few survived and made it Sydney

  8. It was the Isle of Wight, and it wasn’t the Navy, it was the garrisons of the Palmerston forts. Obviously not the ones isolated in Spithead, but the ones on the island, some of which were later turned into prisons!

  9. Is that why there is a governmental reluctance to curb the cross-channel boats – aiming to improve the genetic diversity of the British Isles?

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