Military History/Great Expectations


Dear Bob

Can you do a question on Charles Dickens? I know it's not the usual sort of thing I send you, but...

In "Great Expectations", the convict Magwitch has to keep his return to Britain secret because - according to Dickens - if he is caught returning he will be hanged. Dickens says that any convict who was deported to Australia must never return to Britain, or he will be hanged.

So my question is, was this true? And were any convicts ever caught returning, and hanged?

Many thanks,

Paul Murphy (denberg2 on the old Answerway).

Dear Paul,
         This is false. Once the convict had completed his/her term, they were issued a certificate of freedom. It was impossible for anyone to escape from Australia and hide out on a ship and get to England. At that time, Australia was an inhospitable country and few places for any convict to hide out. While Dickens is considered one of the greatest literary figures of the 19th Century, he wrote fiction. May God Bless-Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard  

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LTC Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard


I can answer both specific and general military history questions from ancient times to the present. I also provide references and footnotes where I obtained the answers from.


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