Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Death in the Gaming Community

When I got up this morning, I was greeted by an email from Vol Williams.  In that email, he told me that Rory McCreadie had died.  Rory had been fighting cancer for some time.  I hadn't spoken with him recently, but every person handles that fight in their own way and he wanted to be private with his.  Vol did tell me that Rory passed away in his wife's arms, just as he had wanted.

Rory was an enthusiastic naval gamer, but was more than just that.  He was also an expert on the medical side of life at sea, particularly in the earlier part of our genre.  Rory had even written a book on the subject, entitled The Barber Surgeon's Mate of the 16th and 17th Century.  It's here on Amazon:

More than just being a book writer, Rory also traveled around presenting the barber surgeon's mate to various history and medical groups.  I've looked around the web, and found some pictures of him "in action," so to speak.  I've posted them below, but if there are any objections from the owners I will remove them.

An important thing to know about Rory was that he believed in doing things the right way.  He knew that taking shortcuts in research would only lead to faulty results.  More importantly, he knew those faulty results would be picked up by people later and used to justify their own shortcuts.  This was an area he did not compromise on.  This meant that he could sometimes come across as a bit brusque when he thought someone whose work he respected had fallen short.  In fairness though, he held himself to the same high standards he held others to.

So, until the next sailing ship post, the blog is in mourning.  When a ship is in mourning, her yardarms are arranged cockbilled, like you see in the drawing at the beginning of this post.  I don't know Rory's religious affiliation if any, and would not have asked it of him.  I think, though, that given the era he specialized in, he would know this passage from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:

WE therefore commit his body to the deep, to be turned into corruption, looking for the resurrection of the body, (when the Sea shall give up her dead,) and the life of the world to come, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who at his coming shall change our vile body, that it may be like his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.
Requiescat in pace