Prize Money ?

Gents in last couple of days Jolly Jack has 'captuired' a large quantity of Drugs said to be Cocain in the West Indies.
Last night in The Pub we old lads where wondering would Jack be entiteled to a 'Share' of the 'Prize' at 'street' or 'Medical' value, or is the practice now gone with the TOT.
Interesting question John. Even back in the good old days of Nelson prizes were only allowed to be claimed if the country of origin of the ship/craft taken was formally at war with Britain. In which case the boys miss out.

However as the value of the capture is put in 'street value' terms I'm not sure there is any real, recoverable value anyway. It's not as if the Navy are going to sell it for cash. Is it?

What if you extend the question to the Falklands. Could Britain have seized an Argie merchant ship with the skipper and crew receiving prize money?


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On my grandfather's discharge certificate from the Royal Marines Light Infantry in 1919 there is a reference to his receipt of a final payment from the prize fund so the practice survived the first world war.
My questions are:

Where are the prisoners and drugs taken to?

and who deals with them legally?


The prisoners are flown to Britain where they will be given jobs as outreach workers. The drugs are shipped to Kate Moss's basha!
There were some claims from early tankies in 1916, as an early name was Land-Ships and some crews were naval types. I think there might have been some one-off payments to allow the rules to be changed.

I've no idea where I read this, though.
IIRC prize money could also be paid on pirate vessels and contraband during peacetime.
However I do know that during the Napoleonic wars the Army could also be paid prize money for usefull items captured such as horses, guns and powder, it was less important to soldiers though because the potential for general "off the book" plunder was so much greater. Whether this survived until WWI I don't know.
According to Flashman, Prize money was doled out after the Indian mutiny to the Army and Navy (1858), and after the Pekin Expedition (1860). GMF is usually pretty hot on his historical accuracy, so I have no reason to doubt him. As to when it was taken off the statute books, I'm afraid Flashman's involvement has yet to be published!
Interesting doco on Fox, "Myths of Nelsons' Navy", showed some of the family fortunes that were made through the prize system. If applicable these days, lucky matelots who intercept people smugglers might get an illegal immigrant to take home.

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