Show the Colours Wiki

Terry Button is a 12-year-old ship's boy aboard HMS Terpsichore. He is played by Sharpie. His PB is an unknown extra from Hornblower: The Even Chance ('The Duel' in America).

Early History[]

Terry was born in 1797 and until 1807, his home was London, where he had spent his childhood (if it could be called that) in a foundling home. Once he reached the age of ten, or thereabouts, he found himself being escorted to a brick building which, he was informed, was Jonas Hanway's Marine Society, which had been set up to give boys such as himself a worthwhile career in His Majesty's Royal Navy.

He wasn't sure he liked the sound of that, having never seen the sea. He hadn't, in fact, been allowed to leave the forbidding grounds of the foundling home before now. His details were written down in a big black book before the man from the foundling home left him alone to contemplate the new life he was about to embark on.

It was only about a week or two later when Terry, along with a number of other boys, began the longest journey of his life so far, to Portsmouth. Each boy clutched a canvas bag that contained more material wealth than they had ever seen before: three shirts, two pairs of trousers, a waistcoat, a jacket, a pair of shoes, a knitted hat and two or three pairs of stockings. The men escorting them had warned the boys not to let the bags out of their sight until they arrived, and Terry ended up sitting on his for the entire three-day journey.

On arriving in Portsmouth, Terry was dumbstruck by the sight of the ships alongside. He quickly overcame his awe when he was taken aboard a smaller ship, which was still much larger than he was used to, with masts that seemed to touch the clouds. He was glad to find that he wasn't starting out on this adventure alone but would be accompanied by Jacky Fisher, who he had got to know slightly on the journey down from London.

He quickly overcame his initial fear of heights and threw himself into doing what was asked of him, thinking that it was a much finer life than living in London. Although he is still young, he has the potential to become a good topman when he grows a bit older, especially if he can overcome his nerves around officers and those in authority.

Appearance and Personality[]

Terry has the unusual combination of brown eyes and blond hair, the latter of which is usually hidden under a woollen hat to stop it getting in his eyes. He wears the same sort of trousers and checked shirt as the adult sailors, with a blue jacket in colder weather – or cooler latitudes. He is usually barefoot, as he has been all his life. On the very few occasions that he wears shoes, they are light, soft-soled things unlike those that the Marines wear, but they still feel uncomfortable because he isn't used to wearing shoes. He is naturally slender, and two years of having three square meals a day means that he has nearly lost the unnatural thinness that goes with a poor irregular diet, which was all he knew before was sent to sea.

He doesn't mind the hard work that comes with being in the Navy, although he is quick to drop it if something more exciting seems to be going on. He is always willing to join in with pranks and general mischief, being fairly outspoken among the other boys, though he is more of a follower than a leader. He gets nervous around those in authority, especially if he thinks he might be in trouble for something, and this shows as clumsiness or mumbled speech.

Life at Sea[]

Terry has settled down to life aboard HMS Terpsichore, his first ship. He started out by being made servant to the purser, who was somewhat of a bully and petty tyrant towards the boy, leading Terry to skive off as much as he dared to get away from the man[1]. On one occasion, this led to Terry's being able to help Mr Midshipman Fletcher down from the mizzenmast, with the help of Terry's close friend and fellow ship's boy Fingers Smith[2], a feat that was noticed by Lieutenant Leat, who hid his relief in anger with the boys, sending Terry and Fingers to spend the rest of the watch under the purser's supervision.

On occasion, Terry was to find that his position as ship's boy was distinctly unappealing, such as the time when the officers decided that all the boys should be properly scrubbed[3]

It was in May 1809 that a new midshipman came aboard, who almost immediately began throwing his weight around. He got drunk at dinner in the Captain's cabin, and was thrown overboard by a couple of unknown sailors. What they hadn't realised was that Terry had seen them, a circumstance he reported (rather belatedly) to the Captain[4], after asking for Tide Evans' advice on what to do[5]

Terry likes skylarking and was involved in a game of tag on the 2nd June.[6]

Things changed on the 3rd June, when Terry was told to report to Lieutenant Leat, as his position had changed and he was to be the Lieutenant's servant in future[7].


" Bobby.., Buttons, Green, Tupper..Oi, you lot, get t' rest! I've jus' heard summat nobody else knows 'bout!!" He grinned.

"It's Button, just one of 'em. Or Terry," the owner of that name said huffily, before grinning.
- random unnamed boy and Terry Button.

Referenced Threads[]