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Peter Heywood
Birth: Jun. 6, 1772
Death: Feb. 10, 1831

British Naval Officer. Acting Midshipman on the HMS Bounty. He came from a distinguished family and, after John Hallett, was the youngest officer aboard. Heywood was described as highly intelligent and mature for his age; Fletcher Christian took an immediate liking to him and he was assigned to Christian's shore party during the Bounty's five-month stay in Tahiti (1788-89). This sparked jealousy in fellow Midshipmen Hallett and Thomas Hayward, who would later exact a spiteful revenge. While on the island Heywood compiled material for a Tahitian dictionary that would prove invaluable to British missionaries; some believe it is due to him that the word "tattoo", derived from the native "tata'u", has entered many western languages. When the mutiny erupted on April 28, 1789, Heywood grabbed a cutlass and ran up on deck to fight the mutineers. He was stopped by Ship's Carpenter and fellow loyalist William Purcell, who looked at the youth incredulously and said, "In the name of God, Peter, what will you do with that?" Commander William Bligh apparently saw him with the weapon and assumed he had joined the mutineers, remaining convinced of this for the rest of his life. The truth was that Christian ordered Heywood below deck for his own protection, and then refused to let his friend risk his life by joining Bligh in being put off the ship. He had no part whatsoever in the mutiny. Along with Midshipman George Stewart, he returned to Tahiti with Christian under an officer's agreement not to try to retake the ship. On March 15, 1791, when the HMS Pandora arrived in Tahiti to search for the mutineers, Heywood was the first to report for duty---and the first to be arrested. He survived the sinking of the Pandora in August and was safely returned to England. At the 1792 Bounty court-martial Midshipmen Hallett and Hayward gave the most damning testimony against Heywood, backing up Bligh's mistaken assertions and adding falsehoods and speculations of their own. He was found guilty and condemned to death. The judges were quite impressed with Heywood, however, and the President of the court-martial, Admiral Lord Hood, was among those who petitioned King George III to spare the young officer. Heywood received the King's pardon three weeks before he was scheduled to be hanged. He went on to an excellent career in the Royal Navy, attaining the rank of Post Captain, but had to turn down a Commodore's command and later a Rear Admiralcy because of health reasons (his experiences after the mutiny had permanently weakened his heart). He retired from active service in 1816 and died in London at the age of 58. For all the grief the mutiny on the Bounty caused him, Heywood never got over his friendship with Fletcher Christian. Towards the end of his life he swore he spotted Christian on a Plymouth Street in 1808, but the man had run away when he approached him. This has given rise to the improbable legend that Christian somehow escaped from Pitcairn Island and made it back to England. In their classic novel "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1932), authors Nordhoff and Hall made Heywood the narrator, giving him the fictional name Roger Byam to better distinguish him from his enemy, Midshipman Hayward. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Frances Simpson Heywood*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
St Michael Churchyard
Highgate
London Borough of Camden
Greater London, England
Plot: In a vault beneath the center aisle
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Aug 06, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9278367
Peter Heywood
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Peter Heywood
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Peter Heywood
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
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- MosherSt.Munger
 Added: Feb. 10, 2014
Rest in Peace---after the Bounty incident you more than redeemed yourself by distinguished naval service. Readers, see Caroline Alexander's book "The Bounty".Rest in Peace.
- USMC1960s
 Added: Sep. 25, 2013

- Mellissa Lake Co. Illinois
 Added: Aug. 9, 2013
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