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A Bounty Boy

Frank Thomas Bullen (April 5 1857 – March 1 1915), British author and novelist, was born of poor parents in Paddington, London, on 5 April 1857, and was educated for a few years at a dame school and Westbourne school, Paddington. At the age of 9 he left school and took up work as an errand boy. In 1869 he went to sea and travelled to all parts of the world in various capacities including that of second mate of the Harbinger and chief mate of the Day Dawn, under Capt. John R. H. Ward jun in 1879 when she was dismasted and disabled. A parallel may be drawn with Joseph Conrad’s career at sea aboard Torrens 1891–1893. He was a clerk in the Meteorological Office from 1883 to 1889. His reputation was made over the publication of The Cruise of the “Cachalot” (1898); and he also wrote, amongst other books, Idylls of the Sea (1899); Sea Wrack (1903); The Call of the Deep (1907) and A Compleat Sea Cook (1912), besides many articles and essays. He lectured extensively and was highly critical of Australasia’s lack of defences against what he saw as imminent naval threats from Germany and Japan. He died at Madeira on 1 March 1915.

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