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I Read the News Today

Weird and wonderful, it all happened in March

THE UTMOST INJUSTICE

1757 THE BELL RINGS FOR BYNG

His name is still synonymous with ‘cowardly’ to some, but AdmiralJohn Byng has perhaps been hard done by. At the start of the Seven Years’ War, the British Navy officer was sent to defend Menorca from the French. But, with ill-equipped, inadequately manned and leaky ships, plus the delay of his orders, Byng was unable to repe the French siege – for which he was court-martialled for failing “to do his utmost”. On 14 March 1757, the 52-year-old Byng was taken, blindfolded, onto the quarterdeck of HMS Monarch, where he kneeled on a cushion. He gave the firing squad the signal that he was ready by dropping his handkerchief.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The March 2016 issue of History Revealed.