Thomas Hayward (Royal Navy officer)

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Commander Thomas Hayward (1767–1798?) was a British sailor who was present during the Mutiny on the Bounty. He was born in Hackney, where his father, Francis Hayward M.D., was a noted physician.[1]

Hayward's oldest sister, Ann, was a close friend of Betsy Betham, who married William Bligh. Through Betsy, Hayward managed to obtain a position as a midshipman on the Bounty. His service on the Bounty seems to have been lacklustre, but he remained loyal to Bligh and a staunch opponent of Fletcher Christian, who disliked him immensely. He was the second person ordered into the boat carrying the loyalists, the first being Bligh himself. Heywood also disliked Hayward, calling him a 'worldling', raised a little in society, as a result of which he typically affected airs and graces beyond his station.

Upon returning to England with Bligh, Hayward set out as third lieutenant under Captain Edward Edwards on HMS Pandora. Although they succeeded in finding some of the mutineers on Tahiti, and Hayward evidently performed well, it was an unfortunate voyage, ending with Pandora shipwrecked, and for the second time in as many years Hayward found himself without a ship, in an open boat making for safety. He eventually returned to England with other survivors from the Pandora, after which his career is uncertain. It has been suggested, based mainly on nearly illegible papers, that Hayward commanded the sloop HMS Swift. If so, he drowned when the ship was lost with all hands in a typhoon in the South China Sea in 1797 or 1798.

Hayward is frequently confused with Peter Heywood – a fellow Bounty midshipman – because of their similar-sounding names; for instance, in the 1984 film The Bounty, Hayward was characterized as one of the mutineers who decided to stay at Tahiti.


  1. ^ Gentleman's Magazine. 101 (part 1). London: Gentleman's Magazine. 1831. pp. 469–471.

Further reading[edit]

  • Conway, Christiane (2005). Letters from the Isle of Man - The Bounty-Correspondence of Nessy and Peter Heywood. The Manx Experience. ISBN 1-873120-77-X.