Written by Christine Hobson, presently working on a project on noteworthy women of the Georgian/ Victorian era
How many women have you ever seen in movies or on television working alongside men during naval battles? The answer if probably “None”, yet many were there! There were lots of women aboard navy ships during before, during and after the Napoleonic Wars. And some, like Nancy Perriam, taking ‘more of a man’s part’, in the action, as she put it later.
Ann Hopping, born Ann Letton and known as Nancy, was a woman from Exmouth, married to second gunner Edward Hopping. She went to sea with her husband in 1795 as a seamstress aboard ‘HMS Crescent’ and later, aboard ‘HMS Orion’, when she heard the drums beating the sailors to their posts for battle she began carrying gunpowder cartridges to the gun deck, working alongside the sailor boy ‘powder monkeys’.
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