Pacific News Minute: HMS Bounty Cannon Sold at Auction in Scotland

Jun 12, 2018

Mutineers turning Bligh and crew adrift, by Rober Dodd, 1790
Credit Wikipedia

A cannon from the HMS Bounty has been sold at auction in Scotland, of all places. It fetched almost $23,000. The cannon was salvaged from the Bounty after it sank off Pitcairn Island.

The story of the infamous 1798 mutiny has been told in a best-selling book and no fewer than five movies.

Entranced by the tropical paradise of Tahiti, First Mate Fletcher Christian organized a rebellion, cast Captain William Bligh and his loyalists into an open boat, and sailed on to Pitcairn – an island so remote, he hoped he would never be found. 

The ship was set afire and sank in what’s now called Bounty Bay. It carried four relatively small naval guns: four pounders. Two of them remain on Pitcairn, another was taken to Norfolk Island when some Pitcairners settled there.

The fourth was presented to the captain of a British ship named the Oreala when she called at Pitcairn in 1898. He, in turn, gave it to the owner of the shipping company who installed it on an island he owned in the Firth of Clyde. The island, and its historic cannon passed to a businessman and maritime collector named Peter Kaye in 1960.

Pitcairn Island
Credit NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

Following his death last year, the estate was put up for auction. A descendant of Fletcher Christian hopes the cannon can somehow find its way back to Pitcairn.

Meralda Warren told RNZ Pacific that just a few remnants of the Bounty remain on the sea bed. “A lot of it has been picked up and scattered all over the world,” Warren said. “It’s very hard to swallow that people are using Pitcairn Island and HMS Bounty for personal gain.”