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 Hannah Snell

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Hannah Snell

Birth
Death 8 Feb 1792 (aged 68)
Burial Chelsea, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 23544265 View Source
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Englishwoman famous for becoming a soldier and a sailor, masquerading as a man. She was born into a large Worcester family in 1723. Her parents both died when she was seventeen but, three years later, she found short-lived happiness with a Dutch seaman, named James Summs, whom she soon married. However, in mid-1745, her husband abandoned her while she was pregnant. After the baby's premature death, Hannah decided to pursue her lover, disguising herself in a suit belonging to her brother-in-law, James Gray. A victim of her success at masquerade, she was pressed into the English army and forced to march in pursuit of the fleeing troops of Bonnie Prince Charlie to Carlisle. She then joined the marines and was sent to India, where she fought against the French at Pondicherry. She claims to have been severely injured at Pondicherry, but managed to conceal her sex by treating her wounds in secret. Whilst in Lisbon, she finally heard some news of her husband, that he had been executed in Genoa. So, when the man-o'-war 'Eltham' paid off at Gravesend in 1750, Hannah finished with her tour of duty, and with her disguise. After four and a half years of dressing as a man, she arrived back in London and quickly revealed her secret to an excited public. She presented a petition to the head of the British army, the Duke of Cumberland, requesting financial recognition for her service. While the military was examining the truth of her claims, her story was a best seller and her portrait was sold on every street corner. In November 1750 she was granted a lifelong pension. She lived for another forty years, marrying twice, raising two sons and running a pub called ‘The Female Warrior'. In 1791, she was admitted to the lunatic asylum, Bedlam, where she died six months later, aged sixty-nine. She was buried among the old soldiers at Chelsea Hospital as she had always wanted.


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  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 24 Dec 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 23544265
  • Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/23544265/hannah-snell : accessed ), memorial page for Hannah Snell (23 Apr 1723–8 Feb 1792), Find a Grave Memorial ID 23544265, citing Royal Hospital Chelsea Burial Ground, Chelsea, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .