Graeme Lay is the author of several works of fiction and non-fiction set in the islands of the South Pacific. The latest of these is his novel ‘Fletcher of the Bounty.’
On April 28th 1789, off the Tongan island of Nomuka, Acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian (aged 25) and several armed followers seized command of HMAV Bounty from Captain William Bligh (aged 35). This became the most notorious mutiny in Royal Navy history, and one whose consequences lap at the shores of several South Pacific islands to this day.
Was Fletcher Christian guilty of a capital crime, or did he do what any civilised person would – depose a commander whose conduct had become intolerable to many of his crew?