This nautical term is dedicated to Snaz, for her vibrant imagination, and for getting up early on a cold wintry morning to come and walk the puppy with me.
When there weren't enough people in the Navy (ie. during the Napoleonic wars), the navy had to get able seamen to 'volunteer' to join. Except 'able seamen' was often defined as 'hanging about near the sea' or 'drinking at a pub near the sea', and 'volunteer' meant 'being chased by a gang of Navy people and sat on until you agreed to go on the ship'. The men who 'persuaded' the 'seamen' to 'volunteer' were called Press Gangs. (from the French prest meaning 'loan': you got an advance on your wages if you agreed to volunteer)