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William Purcell
Birth: 1762
Death: Mar. 18, 1834

British Naval Officer. Ship's Carpenter on the HMS Bounty. A proud, truculent man and an early unionist, he refused to be intimidated by Commander William Bligh and clashed with him from the beginning. Conscious of his importance to the ship, he refused to take part in general duties and insisted on his proprietary rights to his tools. Bligh could have arrested Purcell for insubordination but didn't because his skills were needed on the long voyage to Tahiti; and since officers were exempt from flogging, he punished the carpenter by confining him to his cabin, depriving him of rations, and ordering him to do manual labor. Overall, Purcell's attitude was the most "mutinous" of the Bounty crew. And yet when the mutiny erupted on April 28, 1789, Purcell joined the loyalists who were put off the ship---not out of allegiance to Bligh, as he pointed out, but to England itself. During the open boat journey to Timor Purcell continued to challenge Bligh's authority, and as soon as they reached port the exasperated Commander had him clapped in irons. After the 1792 Bounty court-martial Bligh had Purcell brought before the Admiralty on seperate charges of "misconduct, insubordination, and refractory behavior"; he was found guilty on two counts and reprimanded. After retiring from the Navy he settled in Portsmouth. Around 1831 Purcell began exhibiting "signs of dementia" and was confined in Portsmouth's Haslar Hospital. Ironically, his room had a view of Spithead, where the Bounty had set sail nearly five decades earlier. When Purcell died at 71 on March 18, 1834, he was the last survivor of the men who had sailed on the Bounty. His burial location in Portsmouth is presently unknown to historians, but there is a cenotaph for him at the gravesite of his second wife, Hannah Maria Purcell, in London's Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
Family links: 
  Hannah Maria Castlake Purcell (____ - 1843)*
  Charles Purcell (1813 - 1891)*
*Calculated relationship
Tower Hamlets Cemetery
Tower Hamlets
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Greater London, England
Plot: * Cenotaph
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Aug 07, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9280449
William Purcell
Added by: Dale Anderson
William Purcell
Added by: Bobb Edwards
William Purcell
Added by: Bobb Edwards
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