Mary Lacy (b. 1740)

In 1759, Mary Lacy stole a set of men’s clothes and ran away from home. Taking the name William Chandler, she became a ship’s servant before ultimately completing a shipwright’s apprenticeship in 1763. After being forced by rheumatism to retire, she was awarded a pension, revealed her sex, and published this extraordinary autobiography. She was probably the first woman to have been given a pension for her service to the British Admiralty.