“Naked Luck”

"Naked Luck"

During their time at Chatham, French prisoners used to gamble food and clothes away to their fellow comrades. Some had “naked luck” and some even starved.

” There is such an irresistible spirit of gambling existing among the French prisoners lately arrived at Chatham from Norman Cross, that many of them have been almost entirely naked during the late severe weather, having lost their clothes, not excepting even their shirts and small clothes,  to some of their fellow prisoners; many of them are also reduced to the chance of starving by the same means, having lost seven or eight days’ provision to their fortunate comrades, who never fail to exact their winnings. The effervescence of mind that this diabolical pursuit gives rise to, is often exemplified in the conduct of these infatuated captives, rendering them remarkably turbulent and unruly. On Saturday a quarrel arose between two of them in course of play, when one of them, who lost his clothes and food, received a severe stab in the back with a large knife from his companion, whose anger had been kindled by the invectives which a run of ill luck had excited in his adversary. Every care was taken of the wounded man by surgeons.”

Stamford Mercury, 18th December 1807.