6-Year-Old Girl Becomes Youngest Person in the Australian Navy

In November 1920, 6-year-old Nancy Bentley was playing in the bushland of Tasmania when she slipped and fell, surprising a snake that proceeded to bite her on the wrist. There was just one problem: the closest doctor was in the town too far away for Nancy’s family to get her there in time. That’s when Nancy’s father came up with idea to row her to the HMAS Sydney, which was anchored nearby. Regulations at the time didn’t allow for civilians to receive medical treatment aboard a Navy ship, so Captain Henry Cayley ordered that Nancy be formally enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy. Her official rating was “mascot” and her period of service was annotated as “until fed up.” Medical treatment was immediately administered before the ship transported Nancy to Hobart, where she received further medical treatment. Nancy was officially “discharged” from the Navy 8 days later, with the reason listed as “being required by her parents.”