from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the British navy: Money given to those who apprehend deserters or others who have straggled or overstayed their leave of absence.
- n. Money deducted from the wages of a man absent from duty without leave.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
One was the "straggling-money" paid to him for the apprehension of deserters -- 20s. for every deserter taken, with "conduct" money to boot; the other, the anker of brandy designedly thrown overboard by smugglers when chased by a gang engaged in pressing afloat.