|Produced for:||Fantomen 19/1977|
|# of pgs:||32|
|Writer:||Peter Andersson & Ulf Granberg|
The story starts one night in Plymouth harbour during the Napoleonic wars (year not explicitly mentioned). The 13th Phantom and his Bandar friend Nuran intend to leave England on the ship Gilyacht to go to Gibraltar and from there to home. While having a glass of milk at a pub, the Phantom gets into a fight with two men who are forcibly recruiting seamen to the British navy. While fighting with one of the men, the other puts a sleeping potion in his milk. Unconscious he is taken into custody and a navy officer declares that he has been recruited since he has been found to be a vagrant lacking identification papers. Ironically, the Phantom finds himself recruited as a sailor on the Gilyacht.
The next afternoon Nuran boards the ship, expecting that the Phantom will arrive before the ship leaves port. Instead, the Phantom is kept locked up with the other forcibly recruited seamen. After dinner the captain invites the passengers for a glass of port. The invitation also goes to Nuran but the captain is revolted when the Bandar come to the captain's quarters. He is thrown out but Nuran's wit impresses two young ladies also travelling on the ship, Dora and Emmy.
The next day the ship has left Plymouth and the new recruits are taken up on deck. A navy officer, lieutenant McDuff, explains that their days of leisure are over and that each of them will learn a useful trade on board. The officer orders the Phantom to take off his glasses, but the attempt is interrupted by the arrival of a French frigate who attack the Gilyacht. Assisted by the young midshipman Horaty, the Phantom is instrumental in fighting off the enemy frigate. After the fight captain Lexter praises the young midshipman for his courage and initiative.
Nuran is concerned that the Phantom did not show up in Plymouth and has decided to return to England from Gibraltar to search for him. Captain Lexter is furious when he discovers Nuran on deck and try to kick Nuran back to the cabin. The Phantom attack the captain and carry the wounded Nuran to the cabin. For attacking the captain the Phantom is sentenced to keelhauling. Underwater the Phantom manages to cut off his ropes and hide in the stem of the ship.
The next night, the Phantom enters the captain's cabin and forces him to sign a confession that he has used a press gang to forcibly recruit sailors. The captain is then forced to hand the confession to midshipman Horaty with instructions to leave the document to the commanding officer in the port of Gibraltar. But when the Phantom has left, the captain orders lieutenant McDuff to throw midshipman Horaty overboard, getting the confession back. The young midshipman is saved by the Phantom and together they hide in the captain's cabin. They retrieve the written confession and the captain and the lieutenant are tied up. Midshipman Horaty take command of the ship.
When arriving to the port of Gibraltar, midshipman Horaty presents the confession to the admiral there. The admiral follows midshipman Horaty back to the ship where captain Lexter and lieutenant McDuff confesses that they have indeed forcibly recruited seamen. The Phantom and the other recruits are released from duty. The admiral praises the midshipman for his courage and initiative. The Phantom and Nuran continue on a different ship to Bengali.
- Count Thomas Lexter, ship's captain
- Lady Dora Wimlington, passenger
- Lady Emmy Wimlington, passenger
- Lieutenant McDuff
- Midshipman Horaty
Behind the Scenes
- According to Fantomen Krönika 21 the story is set in 1804.
- Peter Andersson won a competition to write a Phantom story in the Swedish Fantomen magazine held in the autumn 1976. When the story was reprinted in 1987, Ulf Granberg was given co-writing credit.
- According to Wikipedia: "There is no basis to the widespread impression that civilians without any seafaring background were randomly seized from home, country lane or workplace by press gangs [...]"
This story has been published in the following publications:
- "Matros Walker", Fantomen 19/1977
- "Matros Walker", Fantomen 21/1987
- "Matros Walker", Fantomen Krönika 2/1997
- "Matros Walker", Fantomen Krönika Band 5, del 1 (2003)