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The notorious press gangs dragged men off, often using violence, to serve in the Navy's warships.
But, for some unsuspecting men, they would find a shilling in their coat pocket, whereby a witness for the press gang would then swear they saw the man take it - and so they joined the Navy.
CAROUSING SAILORS: Jack Tars from a bygone age and (inset) the Press Gang at work
Men dragged off the streets and out of taverns by press gangs wielding clubs; when on board they were fed on biscuit full of weevils, stale water, salt beef and the saving rum ration.
Whitby is preparing a vivid and realistic re-enactment of navy life and the dreaded press gangs to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Under the rubric of "Crime" Peter King argues in "War as a Judicial Resource: Press Gangs and Prosecution Rates, 1740-1830" that press gangs did the work of magistrates by reducing crime in time of war.