Author Topic: OWpedia  (Read 35313 times)


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« on: September 26, 2012, 06:58:22 pm »
This is a collection of quotes from various topics explaining some naval terms.

I have tried to put them in alphabetical order, but the choice of the word to use was not always obvious. Items where alphabetic order didn't make sense are at the end.

You can use your browser's search function.


If you have additions, corrections, questions, etc., put them in OWpedia - Feedback
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 02:44:24 am by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 06:59:16 pm »
The Actaeon sweep, called after the parent ship of the Sheerness torpedo school ... was a single-ship sweep, consisting of a light wire, a small kite, a depth float and an explosive grapnel, and was towed from each quarter of a minesweeper. On meeting a mine, the explosive grapnel parted its mooring; the sweep proved particularly useful in locating new fields, and had the advantage over the " A " sweep that it could be used by night. - [Maikel]

One Inch Aiming Rifle See Deflection Teacher.

Airing of bedding - Their bedding was taken to an open deck and draped across lines, etc to air.  Imagine what sweat, condensation would do to your bed? [kin47]

Always done to discharge ammunition before docking. This is then taken to a specific wharf for storage right away from the main port area if possible. [dorbel]

Two anchors is always preferable if there is likely to be a blow or if the holding ( the state of the sea bed) isn't good. It takes longer to weigh of course, so you will see "at single anchor" when your vessel is making a short visit or is required to put to sea at short notice.
It is actually the weight and drag of the anchor chain (or cable) lying on the sea bed that keeps the ship where it is. The flukes of the anchor do dig in of course but once the cable is veered out, the strain on the anchor itself should be minimal or non-existent.
A careful skipper will always take bearings on two or more points when anchoring in any bay, enabling the officer of the watch to see at a glance if she is dragging her anchor. [dorbel]
I found a reference to sorting out cats, fish and capstans (can't quite recall where - sorry!) the other day. Finally looked this up: refers to hauling up anchors. The 'cat' is the cathead, and the 'fish' the fish-davit. Found these articles (first short, second leeeeeengthy)., [AvastMH]
[AND] [Randi]
"BOWER-ANCHORS. Those at the bows and in constant working use. They are called best and small, not from a difference of size, but as to the bow on which they are placed; starboard being the best bower, and port the small bower."

Anchor buoy and barricoe: "An anchor Buoy is used  to mark the position of the anchor  when it is on the bottom, and is always streamed before the anchor is let go. Its use is of particular importance in crowded anchorages to enable other vessels to keep clear of your anchors and cables. The anchor buoy used in the Royal Navy usually consists of a strengthened barricoe, fitted with slings to which the buoy rope is bent." - [lollia paolina]

Ardois system: "A widely used system of electric night signals in which a series of double electric lamps (white and red) is arranged vertically on a mast, and operated from a keyboard below." -

The armed merchant cruisers' crews in WW I were mostly Mercantile Marine Reserve, civilians under military discipline.  The officers were Merchant sailors with RNR commissions.  As a whole, you are only going to find a few sailors, telegraphists, and signalmen from the Regular Navy in converted merchant ships. [kin47 - Don]

Compulsory for the Captain to read the Articles of War to his Ship's Company at least once a month. These are the regulations by which the ship is governed and cover the offences with which a seaman may be charged and the penalties thereto. Usually read on a Sunday at divisions. [dorbel]
The 1866 version of the "Articles of War" read to the sailors on all of our ships:
The 1884 version does not seem to be digitized, but a listing of the changes made through 1884 (the version our sailors heard) can be found at:
The earlier version of 1757 with its more draconian punishments: [Janet Jaguar]

Badgemen: Sailors of the Royal Navy with good conduct badges. [Caro]

Bank fires See Drew fires / Draw fires

... they did take the barometer down (and presumably pack it in a padded case) during practice firing on some ships. [dorbel]

Barricoe: A small water barrel carried in boats. The word comes from the Spanish "Barrica" - a cask - [Caro]
See breaker

Base ships were floating barracks, offices, store ships, etc, etc.  You see a base ship usually in the circumstance where the shore command has outgrown its space and needs more room.  I.E. about any of the major naval commands. [kin47]

Basnett's sounding machine:

A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a nation's naval power from the 19th century up until World War II. With the rise of air power and guided missiles, large guns were no longer deemed necessary to establish naval superiority, and as a result there are no battleships in active service today....The word battleship was coined around 1794 and is a contraction of the phrase line-of-battle ship, the dominant wooden warship during the Age of Sail. [Janet Jaguar]

Beating See Tacking and Beating

After a sighted bearing is noted, we sometimes (and should always) see (M), (T) or (S) after the bearing. Sometimes the letter is lower case and I don't think that that matters. (M) is short for magnetic and indicates that the bearing is with reference to Magnetic North and is the uncorrected bearing straight off the pelorus. (T) is short for  True and indicates that the bearing is with reference to True North. The navigating officer has corrected the bearing and laid it off on the chart. More rarely though we see (S) and this one I don't know. [dorbel]

'Beckets', or rope handles (see  [Steeleye]

I remember a time in my life when beef was the usual for Sunday lunch and chicken was a once-a-year Christmas dinner treat. - Same back then.[navalhistory (Gordon)]

"Belum" is a kind of Mesopotamian river boat (various spellings). [Janet Jaguar / edited]

Bend - Verb: To fasten, as one rope to another, a sail to its yard or stay, or a cable to the ring of an anchor. Noun: A knot by which one rope is fastened to another or to some object. [randi_2]

Beset (in ice): Situation of a vessel surrounded by ice and unable to move. (WMO Sea Ice Nomenclature) [Danny252]

Bethel flag:
At the opening of the nineteenth century the merchant seamen of both England and America were a spiritually neglected class. 'Floating Chapels' or 'Ship Chapels,' which were called 'Bethels,' were started in London and vicinity about 1814.
The Bethel flag first appeared in the United States on a vessel entering New York harbor in March 1821. Under the leadership of John Allan, who had been commissioned by the Bethel movement in England to carry the idea to America, a group was soon at work in New York. The zealous members of this organization supplemented the activities of the Navy chaplains in ministering to the spiritual needs of naval personnel.

Bight - The double part of a rope when bent; that is, a round, bend, or coil not including the ends; a loop. [randi_2]

The ship's Binnacle List is the medical department's report of personnel at sick bay, excused from that day's duty. [Caro]
"Binnacle List - A ship's sick-list. A binnacle was the stand on which the ship's compass was mounted. In the eighteenth century and probably before, a list was given to the officer or mate of the watch, containing the names of men unable to report for duty. The list was kept at the binnacle." [randi_2]

Bits/Bitts A frame composed of two strong pieces of straight oak timber, fixed upright in the fore-part of a ship, and bolted securely to the beams, whereon to fasten the cables as she rides at anchor; in ships of war there are usually two pairs of cable-bitts, and when they are both used at once the cable is said to be double-bitted. Since the introduction of chain-cables, bitts are coated with iron, and vary in their shapes. There are several other smaller bitts; as, the topsail-sheet bitts, paul-bitts, carrick-bitts, windlass-bitts, winch-bitts, jear-bitts, riding-bitts, gallows-bitts, and fore-brace bitts. and and
A pair of short metal or wooden posts extending up from a base plate usually fastened to a dock or deck and used for securing lines.

Blacking down aloft - It is blacking for the standing rigging, whether of wire or rope and it is done mainly for smartness before entering a harbour. I have never enquired what it is actually made of but I suspect it is very like stove black, graphite and carbon in a paste, which dries to a nice dull sheen.
The Royal Navy, a deeply conservative organisation, has always been fanatical about cleanliness, partly for smartness, partly for hygiene but most of all to keep a large crew occupied! They have to do something every day, so they may as well keep the ship clean. [dorbel]
BLACKING. For the ship's bends and yards. A good mixture is made of coal-tar, vegetable-tar, and salt-water, boiled together, and laid on hot.
BLACKING DOWN. The tarring and blacking of rigging; or the operation of blacking the ship's sides with tar or mineral blacking.

"Blocks" - supporting the ship clear of the bottom of the dock to allow access to the whole underside, except where the bits where the blocks were in contact with the hull. [Bunting Tosser]

Blue light: A pyrotechnical preparation for signals by night. Also called Bengal light.

Any reference to boat masts and/or sails definitely means the cutters, pinnaces etc. Boats are things that are hoisted onboard ships. Confusingly sailors (and particularly submariners) often refer to their ship as "The boat", although not I fancy in the log. [dorbel]

Boat pulling is just rowing by another name. [dorbel]

Bower anchor - An anchor carried at the bow. (In 1928 dictionary: A bower anchor for a modern battle-ship weighs a much as 18,000 pounds; kedges vary from 100 to 900 pounds.) [randi_2]

The boys are what we would now call junior seamen, early teens. I think at this time they took them from 12 years old and they would indeed have school and a ship of this size [HMS Yarmouth] would have a schoolmaster in her complement. [dorbel]
At the time of WW1, Boys could be taken on as young as 14. Don't forget the school leaving age in the UK was that until some years after WW2. Also the youngest Victoria Cross winner was Boy Cornwall at the Battle of Jutland. He was just 15 and a national hero.
Contrary to all our fears for youngsters these days, I get the impression they were well cared for - tough and strictly disciplined yes, but fairly, and probably free, in all but the most exceptional cases of real abuse. I posted a link in one of the forum about naval court martials in the First World War. I don't recollect seeing any cases of Boys being abused.
If anyone finds evidence to the contrary, I'd like to know about it. [navalhistory (Gordon)]

Brats in lucky bag - Middle English cloak of coarse cloth ; from Old English bratt ; from Gaelic mantle, cloth, rag [mapurves]

The biscuit breaker has fallen out of the boat. This is a small sealed barrel full of ship's biscuit, permanently stowed in the sea boat in case of emergency. There will also be at least one water breaker [dorbel]
BREAKER - A small wooden barrel, primarily used for holding water supplies in boats. The day's rum ration for mixing into grog is kept in a special breaker, under a sentry's charge, until mixed into grog. Some years ago the synonym "Barricoe" was invariably pronounced "breaker." -

breast in - to bind (an object, as a boatswain's chair) securely under a projection, as the flare of a bow.
breast off - a. to thrust (a vessel) sideways from a wharf. b. to keep (a vessel) away from a wharf by means of timbers. [randi_2]

breast line: a mooring line securing a ship to that part of a pier alongside it.

Breech Loading (B.L.) Guns: [Caro]
[AND] [Tegwen]
A breech-loading weapon is a firearm in which the cartridge or shell is inserted or loaded into a chamber integral to the rear portion of a barrel. and [randi_2]

A bridle is commonly used when a ship ties to a mooring buoy. It is a piece of steel wire rope with an eye on each end large enough to pass over cleats to either side of the bow. You put one eye over one cleat then pass the other end through the ring on top of the buoy, then bring it back to the cleat on the other side of the bow. This arrangement is much more stable than a single line and is always to be preferred, even for yachts. [dorbel]

"Broke" simply means that the flag was run up the mast and flying there. (I have a feeling that, sometimes, a flag is put in place while it is tied up with a cord which can be pulled off at an appropriate time to allow the flag to come loose and "fly"; but I may have made that up.) [Bunting Tosser]
We are indebted to former Commander Parparatt his explanation of the naval term "Broke his flag", a term we have used several times in our stories about our guys that served in the navy. Quoting Everett, "Officers of the rank of Rear Admiral, Vice-Admiral, or Admiral are designated as flag officers. When one of them takes command of a ship, a task force or a fleet, the chief signalman is given the job of raising the Admiral's flag."
The Admiral's flag is blue with white stars. A Rear-Admiral will have two stars on his flag, a vice-admiral will have three stars, and a full Admiral rates four stars. A very rare case would be five stars for a fleet admiral. "During the ceremony the flag is bunched up into a ball and hoisted up in that fashion until it gently bumps the masthead and the balled up flag breaks open to a full flag furl. When this takes place the flag officer's flag has broken open and he has taken command."
To say that a Commander "Broke his flag," means that particular officer has been assigned task force or Fleet Commander. Read more:  [Steeleye]

The brow in nautical terms is what is more commonly known as a gang plank, often made with a slight arch (for strength) which no doubt accounts for the name. [dorbel]

Bulwark: The extension of the plating of the ship's side above the weather deck. It helps to keep the deck dry and serves as a guard against losing deck cargo or men overboard.
The planking or wood-work round a vessel above her deck.

by account is old usage synonymous with DR (dead reckoning). [Kevin]
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 04:10:42 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 07:00:06 pm »
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 06:00:19 pm by Randi »


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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 07:01:02 pm »
I have seen it used in reference to the torpedo boat depot in Kowloon as in 'naval camber '. It refers to an enclosure formed by the breakwaters. But any sea area surrounded by breakwaters can be referred to as a camber, such as the Port of Dover. [CharlesNorrieTemp]
In Hong Kong harbor (HMS Otter) they use 'camber' to indicate temporary docks made with floating breakwaters or buffers as opposed to permanent structures. [Janet Jaguar]

Camouflage painting - Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle or dazzle painting, was a military camouflage paint scheme used on ships, extensively during World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II. [Janet Jaguar]
False bow-waves seem to have been one of the more common anti-submarine subterfuges employed over the years.  On the website there is an amusing photo of HMS Medusa (ex-M29), a monitor with a top-speed of 10 knots when new, with a 'bow-wave' that gives the impression that she's doing 15-20! [Steeleye]

Cant - To take an oblique direction or course; swing around, as a ship. [Caro]

Capital ship - [Bunting Tosser]

Captains defaulters means that someone has broken the rules and has to appear before the captain or first lieutenant for trial and sentencing.  They were marched up to the table escorted by two guards and presented their version to the captain who then passed sentence. [elynn]
Captain's Mast: See Mast.

Carley Floats were primitive liferafts - very basic but easy to deploy and probably rigged so they floated free if the ship sank. [Haywain]
[AND] [CHommel]

Cathead See Anchors

Cheered Ship See Manning and Cheering

Cherub See Log

Church is Rigged on the Quarter-deck Royal Navy in World War 2 --- NAVAL LIFE and CUSTOMS, Part 2 of 2

Clock See Time

Closed Fireroom See Natural Draft and Forced Draft

CPO is a Chief Petty Officer, the highest rating that can be achieved and a man of some influence aboard, to whom even junior officers will defer ("What do you think we ought do Chief?"). [dorbel]

Clear view screen or clearview screen or clear sight: A glass disk mounted in a window that rotates to disperse rain, spray, and snow. A clear view screen is typically driven by an electric motor at the center of the disk, and is often heated to prevent condensation or icing.

Cleat - They come in all shapes and sizes but it is just a post with a cap or bar on the top that prevents the eye of a rope riding up and off. [dorbel]

The term closed up applies to almost any team assembled at their duty point, sea boat crew closed up, special duty men (mooring parties) closed up and the like. [dorbel]

Coaling See, also Stokers

Coir is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses, etc. Technically, coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir (made from ripe coconut) are in upholstery padding, sacking and horticulture. White coir, harvested from unripe coconuts, is used for making finer brushes, string, rope and fishing nets. ... Ropes and cordage made from coconut fibre have been in use from ancient times. Indian navigators who sailed the seas to Malaya, Java, China, and the Gulf of Arabia centuries ago used coir for their ship ropes. Arab writers of the 11th century AD referred to the extensive use of coir for ship ropes and rigging. A coir industry in the UK was recorded before the second half of the 19th century. ... The coir fibre is relatively waterproof, and is one of the few natural fibres resistant to damage by saltwater. [randi_2]

colt - Naut. A short rope knotted or having something heavy attached to the end, as that formerly used as an instrument of punishment in the navy. Websters, 1928 [randi_2]

... A commodore is an anomalous rank, held temporarily by a Captain when he is the officer commanding a squadron of vessels acting outside the direct control of an admiral. Sometimes he also captains his own vessel as well, sometimes he has a captain under him. If for some reason he moves into a smaller ship than his own, to reconnoitre a coastline for example, his pendant goes with him. When their particular mission is over, he reverts to being a captain. [dorbel]

Compass error See Swinging the ship

Compasses T, PSC, PGC, PSTC.
See Compasses

Condition (of Readiness) See Condition II, Material Condition Baker

Confused Sea - This is waves of irregular heights, wavelengths and direction. Occasionally observed after seismic disturbance but more often caused by a conflict of wind, tide and/or current in relatively shallow water. Deeply annoying to yachtsmen, shouldn't bother a ship much unless they are very severe. [dorbel]

Shells were propelled by cordite cartridges at this time, the shell and the cartridge being stored separately. The cordite, although not explosive in the same way as the shell, could and did become unstable in conditions of heat and damp. Many WW1 ships were lost by careless use and storage of cordite and careful gunners took no chances and threw old charges overboard, particularly if they had been brought up to the gun on a "fire first" basis and then not used. [dorbel]

cornet - Naut. A pennant or flag (in the U.S. navy only the latter) used in signalling. Websters, 1928 [randi]

This entry is "Read Quarterly Court Martial returns". These are a summary of all the Royal Navy's courts martial for the preceding quarter, read to the crew as an awful warning to them of the penalties for comitting a court martial offence. [dorbel]
The Court-Martial gun (known unofficially as the "Rogue's Salute" or a "One-gun salute") is the signal gun fired at 'Colours' on the morning of the day on which a naval court-martial has been ordered to assemble. A Union flag is flown from the peak halliards (at the yard arm in a single-masted ship) while the Court is sitting. [Bunting Tosser]
US Navy: Summary Court-Martial, Special Court-Martial, General Court-Martial

The booms of small sailing craft have crutches fitted at the trailing end to support them during transport or hoisting out, but I think that I have heard crutches used to describe rowlocks, the u-shaped attachments in which the oars sit on the gunwhales of pulling boats. [dorbel]

I've noticed that "Cutters" may be the only class of ships whose name does not apply to size (above the minimum) or function. From the United States Coast Guard site:
The Coast Guard's official history began on 4 August 1790 when President George Washington signed the Tariff Act that authorized the construction of ten vessels, referred to as "cutters," to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling.  ...  A "Cutter" is basically any CG vessel 65 feet in length or greater, having adequate accommodations for crew to live on board.  ...  All (CG) vessels under 65 feet in length are classified as boats and usually operate near shore and on inland waterways. [Janet Jaguar]

Dan buoy - a small buoy, made of cork with a small flag, used to temporarily mark a position at sea, normally to mark a fishing ground or a minesweeping area [CHommel]

Any of various types of small cranes that project over the side of a ship and are used to hoist boats, anchors, and cargo. -
A spar formerly used on board of ships, as a crane to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow, without injuring the sides of the ship; - called also the fish davit.- [Randi]

Dazzle painting See Camouflage painting

Deflection Teacher - [sean0118]

Deck Common names for decks:

Degaussing "At the start of WWII, the Germans developed a new magnetic trigger for mines- one based on the mine's sensitivity to the magnetic field of a ship passing nearby. ... The effort to defeat these magnetic mines took several forms. One such approach was to attempt to negate the magnetic signatures of metal ships through a process known as "degaussing,"" -

Discipline - It's worth remembering the tremendous authority a ship's captain had over his crew.  I'm ex-Army so less familiar with Naval law, but on the Western front at that time, unfortunately we were executing soldiers, many of whom today would be diagnosed with stress related disorders.
Military law has specific offences to deal with the nature of the job; sleeping on duty, failing to obey an order, insubordination, losing kit, cowardice etc.  In the Army there was also a marvellous catch all, Section 69 "prejudice of good order and military discipline " max sentence 2 years.  Sections of military law also allow any criminal or common law offences to be tried, such as theft or murder, with corresponding sentences.
For more serious offences, a Courts Martial was formed with a panel of officers but minor crimes would be dealt with summarily.  Even so, sentences could be harsh; restrictions of privileges, stoppages of pay (i.e. fines), reduction in rank or jail (up to 56 days). 
I believe it is still the case, that any Captain grounding or losing his ship (even through enemy action) automatically faces a Courts Martial, along with any of his officers that may be to blame. [Haywain]

Diaphone - a foghorn that emits a two-toned signal [szukacz]

A lighthouse dips when you can first see the blink above the horizon (or when it just disappears).
Before that you can see the loom when it is still below the horizon (like the sun before dawn).  [Caro]

Disrated - To reduce in rank or rating; demote. / to punish (an officer) by lowering him in rank, [randi_2]

Steam engines require fresh water, as they can't use sea water because of the corrosion. They do have distillation plants that can be used for drinking water, but these do consume fuel, so a good skipper in rainy climes will take any opportunity to add fresh water to his tanks, by setting out canvas funnels, that feed straight into the fresh water tanks. [dorbel]
It's not only the corrosion. Salt water when heated -- the water boils and the salt would be left. It would clog the tubes in the boilers and either render the engine plugged an unusable OR there could be enough pressure build up to explode the boiler! [dmaschen]
[AND] [Janet Jaguar]

... a dodger is 'a canvas shelter, mounted on a ship's bridge or over the companionway of a sailing yacht to protect the helmsman from bad weather'. [Caro]

Dog Watch [Geoff]

donkey boiler: A donkey boiler is used to supply non-essential steam to a ship for 'hotel' services such as heating or lighting when the main boilers are not in steam, for example, when in port. Donkey boilers were also used by the last sailing ships for working winches and anchor capstans.
A donkey engine is a small diesel (or petrol) engine, used for auxiliary power around the ship, operating a derrick, a pump, a generating set, anything really. Donkeymen were responsible for the care and maintainance of these. [dorbel]

"The dotter was a device for measuring the gunlayer's ability to hold "continuous aim". It consisted of paper targets in front of the sights, with the targets able to move around constantly. The gunner looked through his sight and manipulated his controls of the actual gun to keep the sight centered on the moving target at all times. Attached to the sight was a pen that moved back and forth every second or so to make a dot on the paper corresponding to the sight's position relative to the target at that time. The goal was to get all the dots densely clustered in the center of the target regardless of its motion." - [thursdaynext]
[AND] [Steeleye] ;)

DB party - I think it's the Double Bottom Party. The cavity between the inner and outer skins of the boat could be used for storage, of oil, water, ballast and coal. Even when just an empty space though, it's desirable to get into it to dry it out, brush or chip off the rust and apply some red lead. Paradoxically iron and steel ships tend to rust from the inside more than the outside! A dirty and unpleasant job. [dorbel]
[AND] DJ_59

Dress See Uniforms.

Dressing and full-dressing ship - rainbow -

Drew fires / Draw fires / Pull fires - "Draw or pull<a fire> is a set phrase in boiler operation, but it means just about what it says. You actually draw or pull the burning bits of coal from under the boilers to let them cool down (in this case [talking about the sinking of the Titanic] to prevent an explosion when cold water comes in contact with the boilers). Cold water hitting the burning coals could cause an explosion of steam, but it would not be nearly as violent as the failure of a boiler. The one might kill some people, the other would tear the ship in half. The difference is between steam at near-atmospheric pressure, and super-critical water and steam as found inside hot boilers. Note that the hot coals would still be on the boiler-room floor, but they are not worried about that, just about getting the boilers down to 212F (100C) or below." - (also [Randi]
To bank the fire on a steam engine, you rake out all the ash and build a pile of the remaining coals at the back of the firebox. Then you put fresh coal at the front. Then in the morning everything should still be warm enough to get it all going again and raise steam quickly. To draw the fire is to remove everything, which you would do if you didn't intend to use the engine the next day. A steam pinnace alongside a warship will have her fires banked overnight and drawn when she is no longer required for duty and is to be hoisted in. [dorbel]
Haul fires - Seems to mean draw fires -

Drifters were robust boats built, like trawlers, to work in most weather conditions, but designed to deploy and retrieve drift nets. They were generally smaller and slower than trawlers. If requisitioned by navies, they were typically armed with an anti-submarine gun and depth charges and used to maintain and patrol anti-submarine nets. [jennfurr]

Drills collision stations, Abandon ship, Fire Quarters.
Thus, "collision stations" will include closing all water tight doors, damage control and fire parties close up to their stations, and petty officers all round the ship will report the state of their part of it.
"Abandon ship", all crew will close up to their boat or raft stations with a life jacket. Those officers and senior ratings with specific duties to perform before they leave will simulate them.
Fire Quarters. This happens daily in well regulated ships, where hands fall in at their correct stations for fire drill. There are a great number of these drills, action stations, abandon ship station and the like, but fire, the seaman's deadly enemy is religiously exercised. They will use the opportunity to check that the correct gear for their station is present and that there is water at the cock too. [dorbel]

driver screw - They've just stripped down a gun and I fancy the lost item is the breech closure which has a screw thread to push home (drive) the shell and seal the breech. [Bunting Tosser]

The Dumaresq is a mechanical calculating device invented around 1902 by Lieutenant John Dumaresq of the Royal Navy. The dumaresq is an analog computer which relates vital variables of the fire control problem to the movement of one's own ship and that of a target ship. It was often used with other devices, such as a Vickers range clock to generate range and deflection data so the gun sights of the ship could be continuously set. [AvastMH]

Dumb Compass: See pelorus.

A floating barge, connected to a pier, is called a dummy. [Caro]
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 12:10:29 am by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 07:32:33 pm »
Part 5

« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 03:10:59 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 07:35:10 pm »
Part 6

Evening quarters is daily at 4pm, the start of the first dog watch. The work of the day is finished, but "Jimmy the one", the first lieutenant will often use this time to exercise his crew in one of the many evolutions that they may have to perform one day in the dark and under fire. [dorbel]
Carried out for two special reasons - (1) a complete muster of the hands, especially necessary in the larger ships where it is possible for a man to be locked in a compartment or a confined space where he has been working; and (2) to see that all decks are thoroughly cleared up and tidy on completion of the day's work. Formerly (and now, when a state of war exists) the ship's company was summoned to Action Stations or General Quarters before dark, to clear away the guns, and see everything in a state of preparedness for immediate action. Until very recently the bugle (drum) call for Evening Quarters was the same as that for General Quarters. ( [randi_2]

Evershed Bearing Indicator - [jil]

Evolution is an exercise. [navalhistory (Gordon)]

As I recall, "exercise sea boat's crew" varied widely depending on the officer of the watch. Standing orders required their regular exercise, so into the log it must go. It usually meant them closing up to the station to be counted and make sure they were all awake with the correct gear on! Actually launching the thing at two in the morning was a rarity. Even so, they did and do exercise a lot. The ability to put a boat into the water with a trained crew at great speed has saved many a life, then and now, particularly operating in cold waters where three minutes is about the maximum a body can stand.
"Away sea boats crew" is a standard order for the designated sea boat's crew to lower their boat with it's crew. The first lieutenant will be timing them with a stop watch. If it isn't a drill, e.g. if they are required to do something, pick up a man overboard for example, they will knock out the pin that attaches the boat to the falls as they reach the water and pull away from the side of the ship. For a drill and particularly if it is blowing and a strong sea running, they will usually lower the boat to somewhere near the sea level and then just hoist it back inboard. [dorbel]

Fall - That part of the rope of a tackle to which the power is applied in hoisting.
Falls - The tackle which is used in lowering and hoisting a ship's boat from or to the davits. [randi_2]

False fire, Blue flames: A composition of combustibles filled into a wooden tube, which, upon being set fire to, burns with a light blue flame from a half to several minutes. They are principally used as night-signals, but often to deceive an enemy.

Fid: 1. A square bar of wood or iron, with a shoulder at one end, used to support the weight of the top-mast when erected at the head of the lower mast, by passing through a mortise or hole at the lower end of the former, and resting its ends on the trestle-trees. The topgallant-mast is retained at the head of the top-mast in the same manner. Illustration: Figure 192, element a
2. A conical pin of hard wood, of any size from 10 inches downwards, tapering to a point, used to open the strands of a rope in splicing.
Additional details and definitions at:

Fidded: When a mast has been swayed high enough the fid (see above, definition 1) is then inserted, and the mast-rope relieved of the weight.

Fiddle: A contrivance to prevent things from rolling off the table in bad weather. It takes its name from its resemblance to a fiddle, being made of small cords passed through wooden bridges, and hauled very taut.

fiddley "the vertical space above a vessel's engine room extending into its stack, usually covered by an iron grating. Also applied to the framework around the opening itself" - [Caro]

Fine: See Relative bearings.

Yachtsmen often refer to flares as fireworks [dorbel]

Fish See Paravane AND Sail and Wind Powered Sailing Terms AND anchors AND davit.

... fire control table, where the information coming in from lookouts regarding the positions of enemy ships and the fall of shot could be collated and used to control the guns. On sophisticated purpose-built warships this was a very complex affair, a sort of mechanical computer which needed 8-10 operators to turn all the wheels, but on the Mantua it may well be something much simpler. [dorbel]

Flinders bar: I think that they are adjusting the standard (compass) with F & A magnets, i.e Flinders and Airy bars or correctors. Mr Flinders gave his name to the correction of compasses to adjust for the magnetism of the iron in the ship and Mr Airy refined his ideas later. [dorbel]

flood-cock A cock for letting water into a magazine, or shell-room on board a man-of-war, to flood it, in case of fire. - The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia [Craig]
(cock: A faucet or valve by which the flow of a liquid or gas can be regulated.)

Forced Draft See Natural Draft and Forced Draft

Franklin buoy: Life-buoy. Traditional ring form, but visible at night due to calcium phosphide.

Full and by See Sailing Terms

Gatling gun "The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. Invented by Richard Gatling, it is known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat." -

GMT See Time

Green - Starboard.
Navigation lights - Port Red, Starboard Green
Imagine a line down the middle of the ship, bow to stern, and extended forwards. Anything to the left would be "Red x degrees" or to the right "Green y degrees". [Bunting Tosser / edited]

GTC - I think it is Gunnery and Torpedo Classes, having seen it written out in full on several ships. [dorbel]
[AND] ;)

guess-warp or guest warp -

"A rifle is not a gun, by military standards, despite civilian use making firearm and gun synonymous. A gun, by definition, is a firearm requiring a crew to operate." [HatterJack]
"GUN. The usual service name for a cannon (which see); it was originally called great gun, to distinguish it from the small or hand guns, muskets, blunderbusses, &c."
List of naval guns of all countries, in increasing caliber size
Naval Weapons of the World - From 1880 to Today

GUNNER, of a Ship of War. A warrant-officer appointed to take charge of the ammunition and artillery on board; to keep the latter properly fitted, and to instruct the sailors in the exercise of the cannon. The warrant of chief-gunner is now given to first-class gunners. - Quarter-gunners. Men formerly placed under the direction of the gunner, one quarter-gunner being allowed to every four guns. In the army, gunner is the proper title of a private soldier of the Royal Artillery, with the exception of those styled drivers. -

Just as his rifle is described as a soldier's best friend, his hammock is described as a sailer's best friend. When properly lashed up, a sailor's hammock will support a man in the sea for 24 hours. ( [Randi]
When a seaman leaves his canvas hammock (and they all slept in hammocks then), he rolls his blankets in it and binds it all into a sausage shape with seven turns of the rope. Of course this has to be neat enough to pass an inspection and mustering bedding is just that, an inspection. [dorbel]
In the sailing war ship days the hammocks were passed through a hoop to insure they were 'properly tight' and then they were stacked and pressed against the outer walls of the decks (Gunwales) so as to try to stop the incoming cannonballs and or splinters from hits in an attempt to protect the crew during battle. [Dean]

A handy billy is a small tackle for general purposes.
Small, portable, power-driven water pump. [Randi]

HAWSE - 'This is a term of great meaning. Strictly, it is that part of a vessel's bow where holes are cut for her cables to pass through. It is also generally understood to imply the situation of the cables before the ship's stem, when she is moored with two anchors out from forward, one on the starboard, and the other on the port bow. It also denotes any small distance between her head and the anchors employed to ride her, as "he has anchored in our hawse," ... "Clearing hawse," is untwisting or disentangling two cables that come through different holes, and make a foul hawse.' -

Hazelwood fenders - These were certainly in use in the Navy in the sixties. More like a large and substantial basket they were very handy for the focsle party to drop down between the wharf and the bow as they came alongside, being very much lighter than a rope fender of the same size. They sprung back into shape remarkably as the pressure came off. Once moored, more substantial rope fenders were substituted. [dorbel]
As for the fenders, the crew seem to spend an awful lot of time repairing and refitting fenders ... If they are made out of twigs that might explain it. [thursdaynext]

Headed Sea - With a strong wind and a big sea running, even quite big ships will prefer to steam into the wind, rather than take the force of wind and wave on the side or stern of the vessel.
When the vessel is turned head to wind the object is to make very little progress over the ground, just enough to keep the vessel steering and the engine speed will be adjusted accordingly. You'll see this referred to as "hove to" in the logs sometimes, a relic of sailing ship days when the mainyard was hove round to the wind to stop the ship temporarily, to speak another vessel or the like.
Of course sailing ships couldn't adopt the steamers tactic of heading into the wind and wave and faced with a very strong blow would be obliged to put before the wind with as little sail as possible, dangerous but their safest course. Some sailing ships also do well "lying a-try", taking all sail off and allowing the ship to adapt to the weather by herself. Very small motor vessels, trawlers for example, adopt a tactic called "dodging" to deal with big waves, heading into the wave with very little power at a slight angle. No doubt their many other ways of dealing with heavy weather, as many as there are different sea going craft probably. [dorbel]

HEAVING DOWN. (See Careening.) The bringing one of a ship's sides down into the water, by means of purchases on the masts, in order to repair any injury which is below her water-line on the other.

Heel - The tilt of a ship to one side; also, angle of heel, the degree of such a tilt. And [randi_2]

Heeling System - "Heeling systems, which roll the ship from side to side and reduce the effect of static friction, are helpful if the ship is stuck in pressured ice, or beached on an ice feature." [Danny252]

Holosteric Barometer: (Rare.) Same as aneroid barometer. ("Holosteric" means "wholly made of solids," while "aneroid" means "devoid of liquid.") - Glossary of the American Meteorological Society:
An image of a German Holosteric Barometer put up for auction (or so the auction house said although the face is entirely worded in English):

[Janet Jaguar]

Holystone [Bunting Tosser]
From Two Years Before the Mast Chapter 23 (1835): "... and the decks were wet and sanded all over, and then holystoned. The holystone is a large, soft stone, smooth on the bottom, with long ropes attached to each end, by which the crew keep it sliding fore and aft, over the wet, sanded decks. ... when the head-pump was manned, and all the sand washed off the decks and sides. Then came swabs and squilgees; and after the decks were dry, each one wnnt to his particular morning job."

Hotchkiss gun -

Inclination test - ... I found it in one of my pages. The ship had just come out of dry dock and it was used to check the center of gravity to see if it had changed after some work had been done on the ship. [pommystuart]

Indicator card - [Caro]

Wrist and Leg Irons: in
BILBOES. Long bars or bolts, on which iron shackles slid, with a padlock at the end; used to confine the legs of prisoners in a manner similar to the punishment of the stocks. The offender was condemned to irons, more or less ponderous according to the nature of the offence of which he was guilty.

DOUBLE-IRONED. Both legs shackled to the bilboe-bolts.

SHACKLES. Semicircular clumps of iron sliding upon a round bar, in which the legs of prisoners are occasionally confined to the deck. Manacles when applied to the wrists. (See Bilboes.)

Jag - To lay in bights and to secure with stops, as a rope. [randi_2]

A jumping ladder is a rope ladder. [Caro]

Watch, out kedge anchor, i.e the watch on deck have to lay out a kedge. This is just a light weight anchor that can be dropped into a boat with a line attached, then rowed out to a suitable position and dropped in. The boat rows back and the hands on deck take up the slack. Useful as haywain says to stop her swinging about and often used for other evolutions, turning the ship in a restricted space for example or pulling her off when aground. Sailing vessels had to be good at this, often the only way of leaving a harbour in an emergency when the wind was foul. [dorbel]

Kentledge - Pig iron used as permanent ballast. [Caro]

Knots, Fathoms, Tenths - Knot can be 1) A division on a log line used to measure the speed of a ship. 2) A unit of speed (one nautical mile per hour). 3) A distance of one nautical mile.
In many of our log books, you see headings of Knots and Fathoms or Knots and Tenths. For an explanation of that, see: A treatise on navigation and nautical astronomy (pages 27 and 28). [randi_2]

Kroomen (also Kroumen or Krumen) See Seedies and Kroomen

Kyar: Cocoanut fiber, or the cordage made from it. See Coir.
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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 11:49:15 am »
Part 7

Larboard: Old term for port (as opposed to starboard).

lard oil - oil consisting chiefly of olein that is expressed from lard and used especially as a lubricant, cutting oil or illuminant -

'lay apart store' - a store for equipment from vessels under repair. [Caro]

LCVP - The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in amphibious landings in World War II. [randi_2]

Leeway - That sideways movement of a vessel away from the designated course due to the force of the wind.,%20terminology%20and%20shipboard%20phrases.pdf
In the US logs it is measured in points (1 point = 11.25 degrees). [randi_2]

A lighter is a type of flat-bottomed barge used to transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. Lighters were traditionally unpowered and were moved and steered using long oars called "sweeps" and the motive power of water currents. [randi_2]

On ships with a steel hull, the lightning conductor, which is of course higher than any other part of the vessel, is grounded to the hull with a bronze plate. The huge area of the ship in contact with the water means that the electrical charge is dissipated harmlessly. ... Big ships are often struck, without any ill effect. The conductor just means that the lightning will strike there first, rather than say the radio aerials. [dorbel]

Streaming the log:  drop log into water behind ship / are dragging log behind ship
All navy ships, pre-GPS, dragged instruments behind them to measure their speed through the water, or simply dropped them (originally logs of wood) in the sea and measured how quickly the ships passed them by feeling how many knots in the attached rope slid through their hands.  Recording these measurements is critical to being able to estimate location, so the book they were recorded in was called the 'log book', and the speed recorded was the number of knots, not bothering to ever translate it into length.

Chip Logs:

Patent or Taffrail Logs:
The Admiralty Manual of Seamanship in use in WW1 describes two towed logs (Trident electric and non-electric)and one bottom log (Forbes' Ship's Log and Speed Indicator). The towed logs were secured aft in the ship and the rotator streamed astern on a log line. The bottom log used a sea cock in the bottom of the ship and consisted of "a manganese bronze tube having one opening facing forward for the admission of water as the tube is carried forward by the ship, and another opening facing aft to allow the water to escape. Between these two openings is a propellor operating the transmitting mechanism, and so designed as to make a certain number of definite revolutions while the ship travels one sea mile". This log had both distance and speed indicators. The sea cock allowed the tube to be drawn upwards through the bottom of the ship and the aparatus could then be cleaned etc.
The advantages of the bottom log were many, including the freedom from likely damage if the ship goes astern, not vulnerable to damage from other ships in company, readiness for use at any moment and accuracy over a wide range of speeds.
Brand names for models of patent logs are 'Neptune', Trident and 'Cherub' - just in case someone records dropping an angel overboard. :)
[Janet Jaguar / Randi]
Walker's Cherub III Ship-Log:

[AND] [HatterJack]

Lucky bag The lucky bag is also defined as a where loose items from a ship are stored until being returned to the owner. According to the 1940 edition of the Blue Jackets' Manual (a handbook for U.S. Navy enlisted personnel), "The lucky bag is a place where the police petty officers stow for safe-keeping effects that are found adrift about the ship. All clothes, etc., found about the decks are placed in the lucky bag. When clothes are piped down, the police petty officer attends and takes care of all clothes not called for and places these in the lucky bag. All effects in this bag belong to the person who lost them. At frequent intervals the lucky bag is opened and the effects distributed to the owners. Where persons have been guilty of carelessness in leaving their effects adrift, they are placed on the report." According to the log of the USS Yosemite, on June 24, 1898 several sailors were given 72 hours extra duty for having an article in the lucky bag. - [randi_2]
The Lucky Bag is a practice still followed on some school ships. We had a 'gear adrift' locker for such things - one could retrieve items at any time, but on field day (cleaning day) anything left there would be auctioned for a song (or other performance) with preference for the actual owner. Socks not so much but foulies commanded a high price, especially on northbound voyages. [krwood]

Luff See Sailing Terms
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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2014, 01:24:14 pm »
Part 8

Made daily inspection of magazines and smokeless powder samples, conditions normal. See smokeless powder

Magnetic deviation and variation See Swinging the ship

"Mahailla" is a kind of Mesopotamian river boat (various spellings). [Janet Jaguar]

'Make and Mend'  Originally it was exactly that - a period of time without work when sailors were allowed to make and mend their own clothes.  Nowadays it just refers to time given off without work to do. [TenDown]
While "Make & Mend" does mean crews making, repairing or cleaning their kit (not just clothes), it also refers to time spent doing other activities other than 'work' but not time ashore or 'leave'. This can be sport, studying for promotion, writing letters home, or any other beneficial task. [Gixernutter]

"Manning and Cheering ship as a collective mark of respect in honour of a person or of another ship is a very old custom. In the days of sail the yards and shrouds were manned as well as the decks, but now a days only decks are manned. Some example of occasions on which this mark of honour is paid are: visit of Sovereign to the Fleet, the entry into port of ships which have shared a victory, the final departure of a ship from a foreign station on her way home to pay-off." [helenj]
Manning the yards: the 1887 photograph Manning the Yards, the crew of the USS Atlanta

Manning the rail: Sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln man the rails during her return to port after participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom
[Janet Jaguar]

"The patent slip or Marine Railway was invented[1] by Scot Thomas Morton[2] in 1818 as a cheaper alternative to a dry dock for ship repair. It consisted of an inclined plane, which extended well into the water, and a wooden cradle onto which a ship was floated. The ship was then attached to the cradle and hauled out of the water up the slip."

Mast (disciplinary hearing): A captain's mast or admiral's mast is a procedure whereby the commanding officer must:
Make inquiry into the facts surrounding minor offenses allegedly committed by a member of the command;
Afford the accused a hearing as to such offenses; and
Dispose of such charges by dismissing the charges, imposing punishment under the provisions of military law or referring the case to a court-martial.

Mast (spar): Masts have several uses other than carrying sails, for spotting platforms, aerials, derricks, anything that needs to be higher than the deck really, so the masts would remain even if sails were never set on them.
Masts on these sloops would be probably be wood and assembled in two or three parts, hence the reference to the sending down of topgallant and topmasts, usual in preparation for heavy weather, in order to reduce the weight and wind resistance high on the ship, technically known as tophamper. [dorbel]
Someone queried the matter of topgallant masts on steam ships. Masts were very high, with topgallants to get wireless aerials as high as possible. [navalhistory (Gordon)]

Material Condition See Condition II, Material Condition Baker

Invented by Hiram S. Maxim in the U.S. in 1884, the Maxim Gun comprised the world's first automatic machine gun. When war in Europe broke out in the summer of 1914 the major armies largely made use of machine guns based upon Maxim's original design. The Maxim Gun was water-cooled and fed from fabric belts ... 1914 machine guns weighed from 40-60kg ... The Maxim was usually operator by a four to six man team. [Janet Jaguar]

'Paid Monthly Payment' - ... this is in the days before the widespread use of bank accounts.
I think the way it used to work for married personnel (and also families of single men if they wanted), was for the serviceman to decide on an allocation of his pay.  Part was available for him to draw on locally and the balance was available to a nominated person at his home port. [Haywain]

Morris Tube: A calibre adapter used for training. [Maikel]

Senior warrant officers, the Gunner, the Bosun, the Carpenter and the like are always referred to as Mr by the immemorial custom of the service. [dorbel]

Natural Draft and Forced Draft "To make steam, fuel must be burned ... so air must be supplied to the furnace or firebox of a boiler and the method of doing this is called draft.
NATURAL DRAFT ... In a boiler the hot gases rise up the stack and the relatively cold air in the fireroom sinks down and flows into the front of the furnace. ...... When a greater quantity of steam is necessary some other means of supplying air must be provided. This is known as forced draft."
closed fireroom system: A fireroom system in which combustion air is supplied via forced draft resulting from positive air pressure in the fireroom.

The nautical day started at noon on the previous (conventional) day and ran to noon on the next day - so Nautical 21st Oct ran from Noon on the (civil) 20th to Noon on the civil 21st. Nautical days are standard in older ships logbooks (at least from the UK). The Admiralty abolished it in 1805 so I'm surprised to see it in these logs. It was usual to switch back to the civil day when in port, but the older logbooks I've looked at so far don't have data while in port so I've never before seen a logbook where they are actually doing the transition. [philip.brohan]

Negative "anything" is navyspeak for omit, leave out, cancel, or as the lower deck would say, "scrub round it". It comes from the days of flag hoists, where the Negative flag turns the accompanying signal into "do not". [dorbel]

Neptune See Log

Night clothing is not pyjamas, but just the old casual clothing that a seaman wears on his off duty evenings aboard. An old shirt, a patched pair of trousers, a sweater, that sort of thing. [dorbel]

Oakum: The state into which old ropes are reduced when they are untwisted and picked to pieces. It is principally used in caulking the seams, for stopping leaks, and for making into twice-laid ropes. Very well known in workhouses.

Record of Observations for Deviation See Swinging the ship

Octant Forerunner (around 1730) of the sextant. "One common practice among navigators up to the late nineteenth century was to use both a sextant and an octant. The sextant was used with great care and only for lunars, while the octant was used for routine meridional altitude measurements of the sun every day. This protected the very accurate and pricier sextant, while using the more affordable octant where it performs well." - [Randi]

Open Fireroom See Natural Draft and Forced Draft

Muster by the Open List - This is a muster of the entire ship's company, wherein each member, in alphabetical order  reports name, rank and duties on board to the captain.. This practice originated  to counteract the practice of some ship's pursers of having non-existent people on the ship's rolls (and thereby pocketing the pay and benefits of these non-people). [dorbel]

otters are paravanes [navalhistory (Gordon)]
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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2014, 01:24:32 pm »
Part 9


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2014, 01:24:51 pm »
Part 10
I think "P.V." is being used for Paravane ... These are described as underwater kites, used to stream wires away from ships for minesweeping or other purposes and invented during WW1. [Haywain]
The RN did use towed devices for a number of purposes.  Towed paravanes were used for mine detection and destruction, as Badskittler stated.  The towed body was shaped like a seal and was used to draw strong cables out from the ships side. It was hoped these would snag on the cables of moored mines.  I device on the cable would then fire to cut the wire on the mine.  Once released it would float to the surface where it could be destroyed by gunfire.
The devices used on HMS CHRISTOPHER had hydrophones to listen for the acoustic signatures of submarines, what was known in those days as HE or Hydrophone Effect.  Getting the hydrophone away from your own ships noise was essential to have have any hope of success.  You wil note that HMS CHRISTOPHER always reduces speed to 10 kts or so when streaming the Fish - this was because this was her best search speed, a combination of quietness but tactically useable speed over the ground. Haywain (my Captain?) you are correct about Portland and Weymouth Bay - there used to be a lot of acoustic research done in this area. [TenDown]
[AND]  reply #114 [Bunting Tosser]
Algerines RN Minesweepers 1942-1961 - [studentforever] ;)

Parchment - The old naval name for a rating's Service Certificate which, until the 1914/18 war, was on real parchment.
"When the man is discharged from one Ship to another, or is to be paid off, the Commanding Officer is to certify on his Parchment Certificate the rating he holds, his character, and the description of Badge he is entitled to wear, and the date of its having been conferred." [Caro]

 Having passed an examination for promotion, and awaiting a vacancy in the senior grade: as, a passed assistant surgeon in the United States navy; a passed assistant engineer - [Randi]

Patent Log See Log

To pay implies to daub or anoint the surface of any body, in order to preserve it from the injuries of the water, weather, &c.
Thus the bottom of a ship is paid with a composition of tallow, sulphur, resin, &c. ...
The sides of a ship are usually paid with tar, turpentine, or resin; or by a composition of tar and oil, to which is sometimes added red oker, &c. to protect the planks thereof from being split by the sun or wind. The lower-masts are, for the same reasons, paid with materials of the same sort, if we except those, along which their respective sails are frequently hoisted and lowered; such are the masts of sloops and schooners, which are always paid with tallow for this purpose: for the same reason all top-masts and top-gallant-masts are also paid with hog's lard, butter, or tallow...
Pay down. Send chests or heavy articles below.

Pelorus: a device for measuring in degrees the relative bearings of observed objects.  [propriome]
Also called a dumb compass.

I found this as a def. for pendant. (Transport / Nautical Terms) Also called pennant Nautical a length of wire or rope secured at one end to a mast or spar and having a block or other fitting at the lower end.
The flag that is dipped as a salute is an ensign, presumably fixed to a pennant or pendant. [dorbel]
The Pendant is a flag indicating the presence of the senior officer of a group of ships so that the others know where to report, and to pay attention to any orders by signal flags shown on that ship. [Bunting Tosser]
Wiki says a broad pennant/pendant is: a swallow-tailed tapering flag flown from the masthead of a ship to indicate the presence of a commodore on board. It is so called because its dimensions are roughly 2:3. [Caro]
Used to connect the boat to the mooring buoy. [Steeleye]

Auction of Personal Effects - "Sale of effects - started at least in the 18th century, and finished, I don't know when - during or after World War 2? When someone died or was killed, their personal effects - clothes etc. were auctioned off and the proceeds sent to their next of kin. I believe that if the man was popular, his mates or oppo's (opposite number) would sometime pay ridiculous prices for ordinary items just to make sure, say his widow, received a good sum." Quote from I question I had asked navalhistory [elizabeth]
Whilst it may seem impersonal, it would have been much easier to ensure the money got back to the relatives rather than their effects.  A lot more opportunity for things to go missing in transit.  As Gordon has said, there is plenty of evidence that depending on their circumstances, prices became inflated to help reduce immediate hardship.  There was also the thought that one day it might be their belongings being auctioned to help their own dependents. [Haywain]

Pipe All orders passed out to the entire company over the tannoy are preceded by a pipe, a signal blown on a small whistle by a Bosun's mate. Pipe down is blown to tell the ship's company that it's bed time. You might not want to sleep, but you must keep quiet. [dorbel]
Mess Call - The pipe Mess call is the longest of the lot; it should cover not less than a minute. It consists of  All hands, a long Heave around., and a long Pipe down, in that order  [szukacz]

Pintle (sometimes pintol) (and gudgeon) - ... hold the rudder on to the boat, while allowing it to move from side to side. [Tegwen]

Pitching, Rolling, Pooping - Pitching is the bow going up and down, while the stern does the opposite.
Rolling is as it says rolling about the long axis so the top of the mast is going from side to side.  [Tegwen]
Rolling is far more dangerous in terms of buoyancy. While taking water is never good, generally speaking a ship won't sink as long as it has headway and can take the seas on directly. However, if it takes waves from the side (rolls), the risk of broaching -- that is, rolling over -- is significant.
Then there's the risk of a following / cross sea slapping the vessel in the stern and checking its way -- or "pooping." When that happens, it is possible for the ship to suddenly turn, roll and broach to.
That's why, in the logs, you occasionally see course corrections, during heavy seas, to turn into the wind. (Usually, the seas and the winds are running in the same direction. But not always.) As a rule, in a heavy sea, taking the waves head-on is the safest option. [Doug Vanderweide]
In a 'heavy' sea (i.e. lots of wave movement with a big difference (2-3m) between the peak and trough (bottom) of the wave), ships will pitch and roll at the same time and usually end up doing a corkscrew movement. The bigger ships tend to move about less (inertia, mass, displacement etc etc), but smaller ships like destroyers, frigates, sloops would constantly be smothered in sea water with their crews soaking at their stations. Ships with high sides and flat bottoms (early aircraft carriers) were even worse. [Gixernutter]
"Actually setting sails" in the "What does that mean?" section. Wendolk draws our attention to HMS Foxglove, sailing South across the China Sea in 1923 in a heavy swell and setting staysails on both masts to counteract the rolling. Her relatively shallow draft made these little sloops very vulnerable in a sea and the sails would have helped a lot to make everybody more comfortable. [dorbel]

... the plotting table, where all the info is co-ordinated to be sent to the guns. The "table" on the more modern WW1 ships was actually a sort of mechanical computer developed by the navy and operated by 8 men twirling little wheels! They entered the bearing, distance, course and speed of the target, along with the course and speed of their own vessel and came up with a direction and elevation for the gunners to use. Could be shockingly accurate too. [dorbel]

Sounds like an old sailor man on your sail-less vessel. Pointing ship means to take care of particular details of maintenance like whipping rope ends (a 'pointing' is a fancy type of whipping that actually results in a point which makes reeving the line through a block easier, or may be used to attach a messenger line etc.).  ...the term may be used in the sense 'to clean up loose ends' before sailing...
Also - to position a ship in preparation for fleet movement. [Kevin]

Points of Sail:

Police - To inspect and/or clean up. -

Interestingly enough, Wikipedia's article on the Maxim gun mentions that it was sometimes called the "pom-pom" due to its sound. [CHommel]

3 pounder - Refers to a gun which fired projectiles weighing approximately three pounds. [loerie]
QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss - [Bunting Tosser]

Pratique is the license given to a ship to enter port on assurance from the captain to convince the authorities that he/she is free from contagious disease. The clearance granted is commonly referred to as Free Pratique.
A ship can signal a request for "Pratique" by flying a solid yellow square-shaped flag. This yellow flag is the Q flag in the set of International maritime signal flags. [montanaisaleg]

Priming Mines - Fixing the fuses and first explosive charge so that they will go off. [Tegwen]

An able seaman will certainly want to advance and that is initially by examination. He can pass for a Leading Seaman and then for Petty Officer, but his actual promotion will come with a vacancy and his captain's recommendation. A Petty Officer promotion will usually come with a change of ship. [dorbel]

Pudding also Puddening: A thick wreath of yarns, matting, or oakum (called a dolphin), tapering from the middle towards the ends, grafted all over, and fastened about the main or fore masts of a ship, directly below the trusses, to prevent the yards from falling down, in case of the ropes by which they are suspended being shot away. Puddings are also placed on a boat's stem as a kind of fender; and also laid round the rings of anchors to prevent hempen cables or hawsers from chafing.

Pulling boat - A rowing boat, usually with a range of rowing stations for several oarsmen seated facing astern.

Punishment - "A method for classifying offences and punishments on board vessels of the U.S. Navy, with directions as to good-conduct lists, badges, and discharges, and as to liberty on shore and liberty money" [Bob]
See also: Captains defaulters/Captain's Mast, Court Martial, and Warrant punishments.

purchase - Any mechanical hold, or advantage, applied to the raising or removing of heavy bodies, as by a lever, a tackle, capstan, and the like; also, the apparatus, tackle, or device by which the advantage is gained. -
[AND] (very helpful details and illustrations)

QC Sonar See Sonar

Quarantine The restriction within limits awarded to naval cadets as a punishment. -

Quartermaster Nautical, a petty officer who has charge of the steering of the ship, the signals and soundings, and the running lights, leads, colors, log, compasses, etc., as an assistant to the navigator. Quartermasters keep regular watch during the whole time a ship is in commission, and are selected from the steadiest and most trustworthy seamen. On mail steamers the quartermasters steer and keep the fiags and running-lights in order. -

Quarter-Gunner see Gunner

Quick Firing (Q.F.) Guns (Q.F. guns are also loaded at the breech end.): [Caro]
[AND] [randi_2]

« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 06:25:24 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2014, 01:25:06 pm »
Part 11

Rake Party - [Caro]

Rank - Related to target practice - [navalhistory (Gordon)]

A rating is any man below officer rank. [dorbel]

I have seen the phrase "Read stations for.... " a few times. It seems to mean that they read out to the relevant crew members what they need to do, when and where. ie gave out instructions before they started to do something that they haven't done very often, ... [Tegwen]

Recommissioned - The only thing that I would add to these interesting and informative posts, is that crews get very set in their ways, from officers down to scullions. Breaking them up and moving them on prevents bad habits becoming routine and of course teaches old dogs new tricks. This is particularly true of small ship's companies, where discipline is usually easier than in the cruisers and battleships. [dorbel]

Red - Port.
Navigation lights - Port Red, Starboard Green
Imagine a line down the middle of the ship, bow to stern, and extended forwards. Anything to the left would be "Red x degrees" or to the right "Green y degrees". [Bunting Tosser / edited]

Red oxide was (and is) the best primer for protecting steel and wood from the sea. Provided you didn't actually eat the stuff it wasn't harmful to health although the dust from chipping and grinding it off again undoubtedly was. It's use on boats was largely banned due to its detrimental effect on sea-life...
[Also called red lead] [dorbel]
"red lead" is another name for lead tetroxide, "...most often used as a pigment for primer paints for iron objects. Due to its toxicity, its use is being limited. In the past, it was used in combination with linseed oil as a thick, long-lasting anti-corrosive paint..." [CHommel]

1. To pass (a rope or rod) through a hole, ring, pulley, or block.
2. To fasten by passing through or around. - [Randi]

Reeving: In polar voyaging, following up serpentine channels in the ice, till the vessel reaches open water, or reeves the pack.

To the best of my knowledge the larger warships did have refrigerators, and there were refrigerated cargo ships carrying meat from Australia, Argentina, New Zealand etc. [navalhistory (Gordon)]

Relative bearings:
Admiralty Manual of Seamanship
Compass Degrees From The Bow And Their Bearing

Rolling See Pitching, Rolling, Pooping

Rounds Correct
Well what actually happens is that the officer of the watch, with a small entourage (a CPO and a midshipman perhaps) tours the ship, covering every station where duty men are closed up, as well as the galleys and the mess decks which have been prepared for inspection, i.e. clean and tidy. As he reaches each section a PO or Leading seaman will report and accompany them on to the next part of the tour. Unless something is horribly wrong, a word in the ear of the man responsible ("See to it that those mops and buckets are properly stowed away Killick") is plenty and "rounds correct" means that the whole timeless procedure has been carried out, rather than that everything was perfect. Discipline was and probably still is strict in the Royal Navy, but there is a great deal of informal give and take, particularly in the small ships and it is no coincidence that "to turn a blind eye" is a naval expression.
Rounds are always correct, because minor imperfections are not meant to be noticed (the pile of dust hastily swept under a coiled cable) and major imperfections, a man not on duty for example is immediately rectified and dealt with at defaulters parade the next day. Nobody on board has anything to gain by noting a list of things that are wrong in the log for their Lordships to contemplate, least of all "Jimmy The One", the First Lieutenant who is responsible for just about everything in this line. [dorbel]

Rouse To man-handle. "Rouse in the cable," haul it in, and make it taut.

route marching is marching over rough ground, usually with full kit, and would be for when your ships company (especially if they had marines) needed to operate as a landing party.
Ceremonial marching is what the tin says. It usually takes place on a parade ground or flat piece of ground and consists in marching according to shouted orders. It often involves rifle drill - 'present arms' etc. This would be used if providing guards of honour at events or if taking part in formal ceremonies. [studentforever]

rove - It's the past participle of "to reeve" [above], to pass a rope through something. A slip rope is one that moors to the quayside in such a way that the crew can release it from the ship and retrieve the rope, rather than having to rely on the dockside workers to unhitch the rope at the correct moment. [dorbel]

« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 05:58:02 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2014, 01:25:26 pm »
Part 12

A sail loft is an upper floor in a building where sails are made. It is large enough for the entire sail to be laid out and worked on. If sails were made flat this wouldn't be necessary, but the square sails of square-rigged ships are stitched together from bolts of canvas so that they have a "belly" and for this you need to have the whole sail laid out.
Many RN ships at this time could and did set sails; we note Foxglove setting fore and aft sails when on a long beam reach as late as 1922 and of course there were still a lot of sailing ships trading, so the sail loft was still a feature of most ports. [dorbel]

Seedies and Kroomen (also Kroumen or Krumen) [Janet Jaguar]
All is explained in great detail at [dorbel]
A seedie boy is an East African or Indian native labourer working in H.M. Ships. Don't let the term "boy" conjure any images of young, strong men.  I think the oldest "Boy" I've encountered was in his late 70s. They did get all the dirty jobs. Being PC wasn't an issue then. [kin47 - Don]
Back to Africa: A Liberian Tragedy - The Kroomen

SEIZING. Fastening any two ropes, or different parts of one rope together, with turns of small stuff. -

Sennit also spelled senate and sennet: Cordage formed by braiding several strands of rope fiber or similar material.

Shackles were a measure of the length of cable. According to a 19th Century Seamanship Manual, ships were usually equipped with 12 shackles of bower cable where each shackle was a 12.5 fathom length. These 12.5 fathom lengths were joined by shackles (hence the name) and by swivel links to overcome twisting. When paying out the anchor cable, counting the number of shackles passing gave a measure of the length used. In 1949, the Royal Navy switched from 12.5 fathom shackles to 15 fathom shackles. Modern heavy mooring chain is usually sold in 15 fathom lengths or 'shots'. The specification sheets quote the number of links per shot. Here is a formula for calculating the amount of anchor chain to put out in your warship: Twice the square root of the depth of water in fathoms = the number of shackles of cable.  [AvastMH]

Shear legs, Shears are a form of two-legged lifting device, that were used by sailboats and dockyards for tasks such as lifting masts and heavier parts of the rigging on board. - [camiller]

Definitely sheering (considerably), a particularly nasty phenomenon where wind and wave carry you back over your own anchor. The danger in this situation is that you foul the anchor chain around your propeller and/or rudder, greatly increaing the risk of plucking your anchor out of the ground with the extra leverage and then being blown ashore unable to use your engines because of the chain around the prop. Not unheard of to be driven ashore in this way. [dorbel]

Sheet anchor - an extra large anchor used in emergencies [wendolk]

Pretty standard to sink any floating object out at sea, empty lifeboat, drums, barrels etc. Good gunnery practice and means that your patrolling vessels won't be altering course to investigate them in the future. A ship that has sent 400 men to action stations because an alert lookout has spotted a periscope that turns out to be an old fisherman's net marker delights in smashing it to pieces. [dorbel]

"'All hands to dance and skylark' was historically a command from a ship's officer for his crew to take brisk exercise in the fresh air, shinning up and down the rigging (hence 'skylark'). It was given when, confined at sea, the men became sluggish and listless; so it was, if you like, an early form of fitness training." [wendolk]

Slops. Clothing, tobacco, etc., issued from the ship's slop-chest by the paymaster. Unlike "issue" (q.v.), slops must be paid  for.
Uniform for ratings was first established by the Admiralty in 1857. Prior to this, most seamen wore "slops", or ready-made clothing sold to the ship's crew by a contractor; many captains established general standards of appearance for the seamen on their vessel, but there was little or no uniformity between ships.
A name given to ready-made clothes, and other furnishings, for seamen, by Maydman, in 1691.
[ - AND - ]
Unappetizing watery food or soup.

Made daily inspection of magazines and smokeless powder samples, conditions normal. Brave Ship, Brave Men - by Arnold S. Lott

Sonar and

Sounding: Ships in unknown waters like to know the depth of water underneath them. Also, charts are marked with the depth of water, so it is a navigational aid.
In early days they found this out by sounding, that is dropping a heavy weight on a long piece of rope over the side, letting it sink to the bottom and marking the length of the rope used.

By WW1 this process was a little more sophisticated and a thin wire with a weight [and tube] was used, lowered and raised by a powered winch. ... The tube is there to collect samples from the sea bed. It was driven into the sea bed by weights, a flap closed and when it was brought to the surface the tube contained a sample. The material on the bottom (mud, sand, shell for example) is also useful information  [dorbel / edited by randi_2]
Equipment - from SOUNDING POLE AND LEADLINE to TODAY'S SYSTEMS: [Janet Jaguar]
[AND] [Janet Jaguar]
[AND] - Describes and illustrates Kelvin Sounding Gear. I think the Royal Navy gear was very like this, although the surveying vessels, which could sound to depths of over 1,000 fathoms, may well have had something more sophisticated. They even allowed for the speed of the vessel through the water. [dorbel]
From the Seamanship Manual section on Sounding Machines: "The glass chemical tubes are coated inside with chloride of silver, which shows red, but is turned white by the action of the water. Thus, the deeper the tube goes, the greater the pressure and the further the water is forced up the tube ....." [navalhistory (Gordon)]
[AND] [randi_2]
[AND] [propriome]

Splice the Main Brace - [randi_2]

Spoke for seamen of that era really did mean that, with a megaphone! Radio was still morse code and flag or aldiss lamp signalling with merchantmen notoriously cumbersome. They closed and shouted. [dorbel]

Splinter Mats - These large and bulky objects, certainly 6" thick, were erected around exposed gun positions in action, but were a blasted nuisance at any other time and were often dumped ashore at the first opportunity.
Nice picture of some rigged on HMS Hood here. as well as many other fascinating photos for us all to waste time on. [dorbel]

Gun barrels were regularly sponged out, as the cordite propellant in use at this time was highly corrosive and could quickly damage the bore of the barrel. [dorbel]
Ahem ...
"spongeing" is the correct Br. Eng. spelling (not always used on dry cleaners' signs); otherwise you have a hard "g" as in "springing".  ;) [Bunting Tosser]

Spotting Table: See Fire Control Table

Spun yarn: "A small line, formed of two, three, or more old rope-yarns not laid, but twisted together by hand or winch. Spun-yarn is used for various purposes, as seizing and serving ropes, weaving mats, &c." -  [Randi]

"running out springs" . In the naval sense, a spring is a rope running from the side of the ship to the anchor cable or to bollards on the shore.
If it is running to the anchor cable from a point on the side of the vessel, it enables you to adjust your position in relation to the anchor by hauling on the rope, or slacking off. More commonly when moored alongside a jetty or wharf it runs from ship to shore at a diagonal. It will prevent the ship surging backwards and forwards. When moving away from the side, it can be used to manouevre the bow or the stern away from the wharf by hauing on it or slacking away. [dorbel]
"Coir Springs: Heavy duty harbour moorings manufactured in coir rope. They are designed to be picked up by a vessel mooring in a harbour, usually where heavy swells are experienced.,%20terminology%20and%20shipboard%20phrases.pdf [Bunting Tosser]

storm oil is used to keep the seas from breaking. Usually you would think of it as a small-boat measure -- for example a cutter might deploy storm oil when trying to pick up survivors in heavy weather. I've never read about trying to use it protect a larger ship like this. In the shallow seas around the Pribilof Island it must have been really quite horrifying. They're running the oil through the crew toilets (which dumped right into the sea in those days) in order to avoid going on deck, which likely would've been ridiculously dangerous. [Kevin]

"is a strip of planking in a wooden vessel or of plating in a metal one, running longitudinally along the vessel's side, bottom or the turn of the bilge, usually from one end of the vessel to the other" -

determination of longitude by Sumner Line (so named for Captain Thomas H. Sumner, who devised the method when his ship and crew were in grave danger during heavy weather and rough seas, which prevented making observations in a regular and timely manner), which involves using observations of altitude of known celestial bodies to triangulate position when likelihood of error by dead reckoning is likely to be in error, but direct observation is impossible. It is surprisingly precise when you've got a capable navigator, but can be disastrous if calculated incorrectly. [HatterJack]
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 06:04:05 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2014, 01:25:43 pm »
Part 13

Stand, Stood - To take or hold a particular course or direction: a ship standing to windward.
Stand off, stand out - To maintain a course away from shore. [randi_2]
To stand off and on (Naut.), to remain near a coast by sailing toward land and then from it. [Caro]
It may include tacking. If you follow any of the 'old' naval stuff (Hornblower, Nelson, 'Master and Commander,' etc.) the British and /or the French would 'blockade' the other's ships in harbour to keep them there. It entailed in some cases MONTHS of just sailing back and forth off shore to keep the enemy bottled up. That was considered 'standing off and on' to the shore. [dmaschen]

Starshell - [szukacz]
I found a discussion on Naval History Forums:  Battleship Bismarck Forums, that indicates star shells were special shells used to illuminate enemy ships for night battles.  Based on what Szukacz found, it seems they were used on land as well. [wendolk]

Looks like 'starting the water' - which would mean opening the bungs, letting the water drain into the bilge, and then pumping it overboard. Unless the barrels were on a deck with scuppers, in which case it would just run out into the sea. [Kevin]

Steaming lights are the lights carried by all ships at night. They include port and starboard lights of red and green, a white mast light and stem/stern lights. [Tegwen]

The Royal Navy didn't have Trimmers just Stokers, who were an all encompassing Marine Fireman. The Stoker was trained in the loading, distribution, storage and use of coal. The basics of a Royal Navy steam propulsion system that uses coal, has to use three compartments firstly the bunkers where the coal was stored, then the stokehold where the coal was held until required to be sent down chutes to the boilers.
Bunkers where strategically placed around the ship and used as extra armour by being placed between the outer skin and the boiler/engine rooms, so usually long thin compartments. Coal also came in different grades and calorific values the lower values being used for normal cruising, the higher saved for exercise or battle and stowed near the stokehold (Welsh coal being the preference).The location of coal within the ship would effect the ship's "trim" (i.e., if all of the bunkers on one side of the ship were emptied, she would lean drastically to one side), so the use of coal was monitored to keep the ship in trim. This was supervised by the Chief Stokers and their tanky's the water used to feed the boilers was also a large part of this equation both in what was used and what was produced.
As you could imagine during normal cruising this was a calm steady process, well oiled and managed by the Chief Stoker with Stokers manning or managing the three parts of ship, this gave the younger Stokers time to train and perfect their skills. A large ship would use 500 tons of coal a day under normal cruising conditions, three times that if on exercise or in battle conditions.
The bunkers were hot, often humid, and the air thick with coal dust. Each bunker had to be periodically emptied totally and the build up of dust cleaned out to stop the chance of spontaneous combustion, caused by the coal absorbing moisture and creating heat which would build up until the coal began to burn, a problem to put out usually done by flooding the bunker pumping out and then using the coal straight away.
Working within the bunkers was a terrible job. Since the coal bunkers could be long, men had to shovel the coal around in the bunkers, so that the bunkers could be filled evenly. When the coal was being used, a shovel relay would be set up in the bunkers, so that the coal in the bunker could be used evenly, and a ready supply kept at the entrance to the bunker for transfer to the stokehold. From this point it was shovelled in manageable quantities into the boiler rooms.
The job of 'Trimming' the bunkers was normally done by Sailors and Marines and the first place any army embarked where employed, this task was supervised by PO and Leading Stokers. The Stokers moving the coal from the stokehold to the boiler rooms and feeding the furnaces.  [Bunting Tosser / Charles]

Stop - A piece of small line, or the like, used to bind or secure something; as, to secure a furled sail with stops.

Stream Anchor - A light anchor sometimes carried at the stern of the vessel. Alternatively called a stern anchor or kedge anchor.,%20terminology%20and%20shipboard%20phrases.pdf

... you strike a flag when you lower it. [dorbel]

Strongback - from Wiki:
1. (nautical) The fore-and-aft spar extending from stem to stern on a lifeboat and serving as a raised spreader for a boat cover. (FM 55-501).
2. (nautical) A strong bar placed across a hatch opening to hold hatch boards or hatch covers. (FM 55-501).
It's also used, differently, in housing and ship construction. [Janet Jaguar]
"The same with Samson's post (which see). Also, an adaptation of a strong piece of wood over the windlass, to lift the turns of a chain-cable clear of it." -

Strop 1.   (Naut.) A piece of rope spliced into a circular wreath, and put round a block for hanging it.

A Sub-caliber round is a round the diameter of which is inferior to the barrel diameter. An expendable sabot is used to expand the diameter to the full barrel width of the firing gun. -
Sub-caliber training - is used to save wear and expense when training with a larger gun by use of smaller weapons with identical ballistic characteristics. The smaller weapons could be inserted into the larger weapon's barrel, externally attached to the barrel or mounted above the weapon. -

Worth noting that at this time suicide was both a crime and a sin. Successful suicides could not be buried in consecrated ground and there was a great sense of family shame attached to it. Hence authorities would bend over backwards to find a form of words that avoided stigmatising the unhappy person concerned, as appears to have happened here. [dorbel]
If the suicide was due to an action while the person was of unsound mind, it was not necessarily as serious in the legal text.  And some allowance could be made to the next of kin.  Exceptions to every rule, but this should be known. [kin47 - Don]

Swinging the ship - Magnetic variation is the difference between true north (geographic north) and magnetic north. Deviation is the difference between magnetic north and ships compass north. It is due to the distortion of the magnetic field as it passes through the various metal parts of the ship before it gets to the compass.  Thus variation deviation [ShedMonkey] is different for every compass point on which the ship steers. When a ship comes out of dock she has her compass "Swung" which entails swinging the ship around a known point so that she points at at marks ashore the true direction of which is also known. A deviation table is then compiled. It follows that the table is applicable only to that specific ship at that specific time. [Cunimb]
Compass "Error" is the combination of variation and deviation and it will usually be one of a watchkeeper's duties to check compass error (and thereby derive deviation) every watch either by observing a geographical transit, or by celestial observation - Azimuth or Amplitude. In these days of gyro compasses, this is still a duty of a navigator, but gyros don't suffer from variation or deviation - they just have "error" - but nowhere near that of a magnetic compass. [ShedMonkey]
[AND] [dmaschen]
[AND] "Magnetic Deviation: Comprehension, Compensation and Computation (Part I)" [Bunting Tosser]
They put iron shims [thin wedges] in to counteract the magnetic effects of the metal around the ship, of which of course there is loads, but the magnetic effect of the ship can change due to slight moves of plating, guns etc. The shims are placed so as to neutralise the effects of all those changes ensuring that the main effect on the compass is the earth's magnetic field, not the ships. [Tegwen / Janet Jaguar]

Swinging to flood tide - I believe it indicates that the ship is riding at one anchor (usually the bow) so that the ebb tide had carried the stern away from land. When the tide turns, the current - being in the opposite direction - will push the stern around.  It's just physics or hydrodynamics, no active participation from the ship's engine or crew, although the result is as you describe - sharp end towards the incoming tide.  :) [Bunting Tosser]
« Last Edit: August 15, 2015, 06:09:02 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2014, 01:25:56 pm »
Part 14

Tacking and Beating [randi_2]

Taken aback See Sailing Terms

Tampion/Tompion: A plug or cover for the muzzle of a cannon or gun to keep out dust and moisture. [dorbel/Randi]

"Orcoma" at this time has 10-13 on the sick list every day. TB was very much the lower deck sailor's disease. Common in the population as a whole at this time, the close living conditions (all men still slept in a hammock that touched that of his neighbour), dampness, the very high number of smokers and the seaman's invariable habit of stuffing up any ventilation, all made for ideal conditions for the passing on of TB. In the notoriously damp HMS "Hood" between the wars, where sea water came down the ventilators into the mess decks in any sort of a sea when travelling fast, lower deck TB was almost endemic. [dorbel]

"Telaupad is the contemporary British term for headphones used in a variety of shipboard applications, often in Fire Control tasks where the operator had to keep his hands free and be attentive to a remote source of information and command." [thursdaynext]

Thermometer for sea temperature.
Pictured: Negretti & Zambra recording deep-sea thermometer, English, late 19th century, the brass frame with loop handle mounted with mercury thermometer and vertical copper screw propeller, signed Negretti & Zambra London Patent No. 24, 24in (61cm) high.
The instrument works on the following principle: "In its decent the thermometer acts as an ordinary instrument, the mercury rising or falling according to the temperature of the stratum through which it passes; but as soon as the descent ceases and a reverse motion is given to the line, so as to pull up the apparatus towards the surface, the thermometer turns once upon its centre, first bulb uppermost and afterwards bulb downwards. This causes the mercury, which was in the left hand column, first to pass into the dilated syphon bend at the top and thence onto the right hand tube, where in remains indicting on a graduated scale the exact temperature at the time it was turned over."
[Kevin and Janet Jaguar]

"Throw-off shoot Shoot at a live target (aircraft or ship) with extra right deflection applied to avoid actually hitting it."
"in a throw off shoot the exact range was used but hopefully a corrected bearing allowing the shells to fall either ahead or astern thus allowing a judgement made on the accuracy, another method was to adjust the range with either an under or over range shoot but on the correct bearing."

Time Ships keep local time wherever they are, so on a voyage the clocks may change daily. When clocks are put back it makes the watch longer, very unpopular as you can imagine, so it was often done in in two stages, once in the first dog watch (4-pm to 6pm) and once in the second, (6-8pm). [dorbel]
Before the days of GPS, the only way to find local time at sea was to shoot the sun, that is to use a sextant to find the moment when the sun is at an angle of 90 degrees to the visible horizon. If either is not visible, you don't know when local noon is and you can't reset your ship clocks. Perhaps in those circumstances you might note an important time in GMT, which you have on your chronometers.
It occurs to me that an exact time of rendezvouz or when to expect a signal might well be given in GMT to avoid confusion, but I don't know that. [dorbel]
A.T.S. - Apparent Time at Ship, S.A.T. - Ship's Apparent Time, MTS - ? -- "Ship's time: the local mean time of the meridian where a ship is located.
"Before 1920, all ships kept local apparent time on the high seas by setting their clocks at night or at the morning sight so that, given the ship's speed and direction, it would be 12 o'clock when the Sun crossed the ship's meridian (12 o'clock = local apparent noon)."" [lollia paolina]
AND [HatterJack]

Time ball - [Caro]

I think "Told Off" means "Assigned to" in the way it's used here - old military speak [Haywain]

A naval trawler is a vessel built along the lines of a fishing trawler but fitted out for naval purposes. Naval trawlers were widely used during the First and Second world wars. Fishing trawlers were particularly suited for many naval requirements because they were robust boats designed to work heavy trawls in all types of weather and had large clear working decks. One could create a mine sweeper simply by replacing the trawl with a mine sweep. Adding depth charge racks on the deck, ASDIC below, and a 3-inch (76 mm) or 4 in (102 mm) gun in the bows equipped the trawler for anti-submarine duties. [randi_2]

The triatic stay ( I didn't know it was called that either) serves the purpose of extra fore-and-aft support for the masts. It is possible, likely even, that this ship will rig a derrick on the foremast to lift the coal out of the lighter alongside and swing it inboard over a hatch in the fore deck. The weight of this will of course tend to pull the foremast forward, so the triatic stay will transfer some of this load to the mainmast.
The definition refers to mast heads, but I suspect that this, in this case, refers to the tops of the lower masts, rather than the tops of the topmasts if you see what I mean. You wouldn't want to apply any strain to the peak of your topmast. [dorbel]

Trimmers See Stokers

Lines of ships singly or more than one abreast, moored in a bay, river or creek - also alongside a bigger ship - "(ship) on her trots" - In the RAN we say "rafted up alongside" or "raft on a (ship)" - "tie up alongside another (ship)". - [lollia paolina]
The moorings may be individual or on a "trot", that is a line of moorings attached to a long heavy chain on the bottom. - [Caro]

Union Jack on American ships "The blue, starred jack is referred to as the Union Jack, not to be confused with the British Union Jack of the same name." - [propriome]

Uniforms / Dress [Tegwen],, [randi_2] (especially no.# 15) [Bunting Tosser]

Up Spirits [randi_2]

Usudurian: A packing-material prepared from unvulcanized rubber combined with other materials.
It will pack any kind of steam, hot air or 'hot water joints and is a non-conductor.

To veer in this sense is to let out, so they are increasing the amount of cable (or chain) between the ship and the anchor. This decreases the likelihood that they will drag the anchor if the wind gets up.
Not to be confused with veer in the sense that a wind direction may veer, or move clockwise around the compass rose, e.g. "North, veering to North East later". [dorbel]
It is actually the weight and drag of the anchor chain (or cable) lying on the sea bed that keeps the ship where it is. The flukes of the anchor do dig in of course but once the cable is veered out, the strain on the anchor itself should be minimal or non-existent.  [dorbel]

He also received a War Gratuity, whatever that was. Any comments?
A gratuity was a sum of money paid to servicemen and women when they had completed a period of service for which they were contracted. it was an inducement for those serving shorter term engagements which did not entitled them to a pension. The war gratuity will have been paid for those who volunteered for war service. ([Bunting Tosser]

Warrant punishments are severe!  We had one once where a Petty Officer had a warrant punishment.  The whole Ships company and all officers form up in their best No 1 uniforms.  The offender is marched in before the Captain.  He is not allowed to remove his own cap - it is snatched from his head by the Master at Arms standing right behind him.  The warrant is read and the punishment starts there and then.  The mans Petty Officers badges are torn from his sleeves, his Good Conduct Badges are torn from his sleeves and he is marched away to RNDQ's (RN Detention Quarters).  The re-offender rate in the Navy is a fraction of that in civilian justice system. [TenDown]

Watches on board are four hour watches commencing at midnight, except for the dog watches, 1600 to 1800 and 1800 to 2000. The purpose of these is to arrange watch keeping so that you don't always come on watch at the same time every day. Ships usually keep three watches in port but revert to two watches (4 hours on, 4 hours off) at sea, Port and Starboard. Not all hands are watch and watch about, certain trades, cooks, carpenters etc are day men, sometimes referred to as the idlers. [dorbel]

Water Whip: a gun-tackle purchase hooked to a yard (as of a ship) and used in hoisting in moderate weights
"Water Whips are tackles for hoisting in water, when it is brought off in gang casks; or for medium weights generally." [Randi]

Wearing (also jibe or gybe) [randi_2]

WEATHER is also used as an adjective, applied by mariners to every thing lying to windward of a particular situation. Thus a ship is laid to have the weather-gage of another, when the is further to-windward. Thus also, when a ship under sail presents either of her sides to the wind, it is then called the weather-side; and all the rigging and furniture situated thereon are distinguished by the same epithet; as, the weather-shrouds, the weather-lifts, the weather-braces, &c. See the article LEE.  -

Well deck:

Whitehead Pistols: Which turned out to involve torpedoes, not small arms. [CHommel]

Wind [a] ship, to: To change her position by bringing her stern round to the place where the head was.

Wind hauling, veering and backing
I have come across the phrase "wind hauling" a couple of time. According to my 1928 Websters:
"To change direction, as the wind. ... A distinction is often made between haul and veer, as said of the wind. Perhaps the more general usage is to say that the wind hauls from north to west (counterclockwise) and veers from north to east (clockwise); but some authorities support the contrary usage."
On the USS Rodgers, they seem to only use the term hauling and they use seem to clockwise and counterclockwise. [randi_2]
I found a longer definition of wind hauling, veering and backing, that includes the various (contradictory) uses from different ships. [Janet Jaguar]
Hauling (veering is the modern term) is clockwise and backing is counterclockwise... in the northern hemisphere! If you are in the southern hemisphere, it's the other way around: hauling is counterclockwise and backing is clockwise. It is based on the way the wind changes as weather fronts pass a designated point. For the same weather pattern, the wind changes opposite ways in the north and south hemispheres, but the terminology remains the same so you know where you are relative to that weather pattern. [Jeff]

Wind sail - A wide tube or funnel of canvas, used to convey air for ventilation into the lower compartments of a vessel. [randi_2]

Writer ratings keep all the books aboard. Accounts, stores, personnel, anything really, as well as typing all the ships letters and despatches. A writer probably prepares the copies of the logs that we see. They are seamen, so have basic training in seaman skills, but "writing" is their speciality. A very large ship would certainly have a Chief Writer, but one imagines that a smaller ship would be managed by a PO Writer or even a Leading Writer. [dorbel]

zig-zagging -
By the way, failure to zig-zag was the main factor in the court martial of the commander of the Indianapolis.  They'd just delivered the atomic bomb and were headed back when a Japanese sub got them.  If you've never heard that story, and if you aren't easily unnerved, Google it.  Or watch the movie Mission of the Shark.  By the way, the commander of the Japanese sub testified at the court martial and said he would have been able to sink him even if he zig-zagged.  Still convicted him.  The US Navy has since admitted it was the wrong thing to do, but it remains on his record because there's no procedure for removing such a thing.  Crazy, huh? [DJ_59]
... to avoid being predictable to reduce risks of torpedo attacks from Submarines? If I understand correctly they would not always make the same angle of turn and would vary the frequency while still heading in the same overall direction.
I haven't transcribed much of the N Atlantic convoy ships, but those I have done stopped zig zagging at night fall when it was more difficult for subs to spot them and make predictions about directions etc. [Tegwen]

It's quite common to refer to a hand from [the ship] "Topaz" as a Topaz. [dorbel]
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 06:34:41 pm by Randi »


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Re: OWpedia
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2014, 01:26:11 pm »
Part 15

« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 05:49:20 pm by Randi »