During the Napoleonic wars, Portsmouth Harbor, in England, had a Royal Naval Hospital where wounded soldiers were sent to recover or die. This hospital, up Halsar Creek, or ‘Up the Creek,’ was considered by some to be a prison, where patients were kept in inmate-like conditions so they couldn’t run away from the horrors of their patriotic duties they’d be sent back to upon recovery. One means of escape, however, was through the sewers. Hence the name ‘Shit Creek.’
Another story about The Halsar Creek hospital states that there was no way to paddle the wounded soldiers up the creek, so the boats had to be pulled upstream with ropes from the mouth of the creek. Therefore, wounded soldiers made it up the creek without a paddle. Then, if they recovered, they’d have to swim through ‘Shit Creek’ to get out!
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