Chief mourner's costume, Tahiti
Francis Godolphin Bond (1765-1839)
Francis Godolphin Bond was born in Plymouth. He was 11 years old when he joined the Royal Navy. Bond was 13 when he was injured in a battle. His most significant role came in 1791 when he served with the infamous Captain Bligh – who was his uncle.
The Second Breadfruit Voyage wasn’t a success. The purpose of the voyage was to take breadfruit plants from Tahiti to the Caribbean. These plants would be cultivated as food for enslaved people who were forced to work on the plantations.
Bond served as First Lieutenant on the HMS Providence. He enjoyed a better relationship with his captain than the mutinous Fletcher Christian did aboard the Bounty in 1789.
In 1797 Bond was promoted to Captain. A few years later he retired from active service after his marriage, settling in Exeter on half pay. In 1839, shortly after reaching the rank of Rear admiral, he died.
Bond became a founder member of the Devon & Exeter Institution. He donated some of the wonderful treasures he gathered during his naval career to their collection. The most spectacular is the costume of a chief mourner worn during the funeral of a nobleman. This was given to Bond in Tahiti in 1791. This rare and fragile costume was added to RAMM’s collections in 1868.
Bond’s family history, service records and travels were researched 2014-16.