The following story is based upon a real life account written by Forrest Frank based upon a story by Captain Henry Nicholson. These appeared in the Scarborough Daily Post in 1920 as part of the 'Sea Dogs' stories by Forrest Frank.
"...The following day we sailed for Quebec in ballast, and before we cleared the Rock Light there was trouble on deck, owing to the crew having brought grog on board. I was on the poop, and happened to look forward as the men were passing the bottle round. The Captain said: "See that?"
There was one thing about Captain Roberts I learned. He was always at your back in any trouble; he wasn't one of those masters who simply tell the mate or second mate to unravel a tangle and keep out of trouble himself. So we took the grog from them. We worked down the Irish Channel, and on Sunday morning - we had sailed on the Friday - the wind came fair, and we went along with square yards.
Seven bells struck, and the master and the mate were at the after end of the poop, preparing to take the sun, when I looked on the main deck, and saw three men coming along - one with a bread barge, another with a beef kid, and a third with another kid in which was a white mixture of some sort.
They told me they wanted to see the Captain. "All right," I said: "Stay there a moment," and I went aft and told Captain Roberts that three men wanted to speak to him. He left the mate at once, told the men to come up on the poop - it was really a man-o'war quarter deck - and asked: "What's your trouble?" Addressing the man with the bread barge. "Can't eat this bread, sir," the man answered.
The Captain took a bite. "You can't eat that bread," he repeated, "then you'll starve before you get to Quebec. Stand on one side." He looked next at the man with the beef kid, and said: "What's your trouble?" The man held out the kid with the words: "Is that enough meat for sixteen men?"
The Captain looked, and said: "Did you see that meat weighed last night?" "No, sir," replied the man. "Well, then, tonight see your pork for tomorrow weighed; see that you get your full weight; and I'll see you don't get any more.
Stand on one side." In like manner he asked the third man what his trouble was, and he advanced his kid and said:"Do you call that duff, sir?" The Captain was a conscientious man, and replied:
"I won't say that it is; but is there anything wrong with the flour?"
"Then", said the Captain addressing all three, "you say there are sixteen of you forward, throw the cook out of the galley. Surely there must be one among you who can boil beef and make duff." And he dismissed them from the poop.
Next day the cook was dis-rated to ordinary seaman, and an A.B. selected by the crew, was promoted cook. He proved to be alright, and kept strict discipline in his galley, for he was the best man in the crew, and they were all hard packet sailors - a stiff lot of boys I can tell you.
For some reason he took a big fancy to me, int he belief that I had had something to do with the Captain's approval of his choice by the men - he had been in my watch - but I had no more to do with it than Adam.