Pistol bullet ('bullet weight')

(Updated, August 2017) A pistol bullet mounted in a metal urn-shaped plate topped with a hanging ring. The plate is engraved on the front: 'This bullet 1/25th of a lb was the allowance of bread which supported 18 men for 48 days served to each person 3 times a day.' On reverse: 'Under the command of Captain William Bligh from 28 April 1789 to 14 June following.' The equivalent metric weight is just over 18 grams (18.16): a standard large digestive biscuit weighs 14 to 16 grams (2017).

Lieutenant William Bligh used the bullet, then unmounted (and reportedly others, of which he only retained this one), as a weight to measure out rations during the voyage of the 'Bounty' launch to Timor, following the mutiny of 1789. He and his 18 companions were provided with 150 lbs of ship's biscuit and 32 lbs of salt pork. One man was killed at Tofua where the party obtained additional water and provisions.

See also ZBA2701 and 2703

Object Details

ID: ZBA2702
Collection: Relics
Type: Bullet
Display location: Display - Pacific Encounters Gallery
Date made: circa 1787; 1789
Exhibition: Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Purchased with assistance from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Friends of the National Maritime Museum, and the Valentine Charitable Trust, 2002.
Measurements: Overall: 63 x 35 x 10 mm

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