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A Short History of Gibraltar

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My husband and I just spent a few days in Gibraltar, so I thought I’d give you a bit of history in a nutshell for this unique territory:

Gibraltar is a tiny outpost of Britain at the gateway to the Mediterranean, spitting distance from Spain (as a matter of fact I walked across the border and it took all of 2 minutes).  Its history is disproportionately immense, spanning thousands of years, as it has always been a strategic nautical or military location.  You can’t walk down a single street or lane without being reminded in some way of its military history:  There are cannons everywhere, street names and square names reflect either military leaders or garrison locations, and even the town’s parks are walled in by fortress walls.  The first known name of Gibraltar was “Calpe”, likely the Phoenician verb “kalph”, to hollow out, perhaps in reference to what is now known as St. Michael’s Cave.  There was a Roman occupation, and in 400 AD eastern barbarians invaded; Vandals, then Goths, and then Berber Muslims followed.  In 711 AD Tarik ibn Zeyad landed, and left behind his name:  The Arabic phrase “Jebel Tarik” (Tarik’s Mountain) has been corrupted into the modern name of Gibraltar.  For over six centuries, with the exception of 1309 to 1333, the Rock was under Moorish occupation, though no town existed until 1160 (there were only fortifications).

In 1462 Gibraltar was retaken from the Moors by the Spanish; from there it was quibbled over between Spanish dukes, kings and queens until the Treaty of Utrecht in which Gibraltar was yielded to the Crown of Great Britain “for ever”.  The Great Siege, 1779 to 1783, was Spain’s last great attempt to reclaim the Rock, and led to vast destruction of the town and fortifications.

In the 19th century the phrase “As safe as the Rock of Gibraltar” entered the English language, as Gibraltar became renowned for its impregnability.  A civilian community began to grow up within the safety of the fortified walls, earning their living from commercial trade.  Today there is still a British and American military presence, and the local language is a mixture of Spanish and English.

The Rock is dominated by the presence of the only wild monkey population in Europe, all of the Barbary macaques breed; they were most likely brought as pets during the Moorish occupation.  Tourists are lower in the pecking order than the monkeys, because in their hierarchy, the lower in rank give their food to the higher in rank… just remember that the next time you want to feed monkeys.

Gibraltar Rock

The Rock of Gibraltar, with Spain in the distance just beyond the airport’s single runway.

Gibraltar - Reminders of Military Past, Russian Cannon

The Promenade, showing the City War Memorial honouring Gibraltarians who gave their lives in World War One. In the foreground is one of four Russian cannons (24-pounders) that arrived in GBZ in 1858 from England, having been captured in the Crimean War.

A Barbary macaque; Spain in the distance.

A Barbary macaque; Spain in the distance.

Battle Of Trafalgar from the H.M.S. Tonnant

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The Battle of Trafalgar, by William Clarkson Stanfield.  Source:  Wikipedia

The Battle of Trafalgar, by William Clarkson Stanfield. Source: Wikipedia

Trafalgar is one of the most famous British battles of all time, right alongside the Battle of Hastings and other pivotal moments in the history of the British Isles.  While most people know of the story of Admiral Lord Nelson, here is a first-hand account of the battle from the perspective of Captain Frederick Hoffman, who was aboard the H.M.S. Tonnant, an 84-gun ship of the line (one which could hold its own in a formation of battleships).

The following is chapter 16 of Captain Frederick Hoffman’s A Sailor of King George”:

In a week’s time we formed one of the squadron, and shortly after were joined by fourteen sail of the line under Lord Nelson. The salutation was heartfelt and most gratifying. The dispositions of the fleet were soon made, and as they were as simple as possible, there could be no mistake. A cordon of frigates were ordered to repeat signals to us from the one nearest the shore, whilst we kept nearly out of sight of the land, and all our ships’ sides were ordered to be painted yellow with black streaks, and the masts yellow. We now mustered twenty-seven sail of the line, four frigates, and a schooner, and were waiting impatiently for the joyful signal from the frigates that the enemy were coming out of harbour. On the afternoon of the 20th of October, 1805, our longing eyes were blessed with the signal. We cleared for quarters and were in high spirits. At daylight we had the felicity to see them from the deck, and counted thirty-three sail of the line and three large frigates. They extended in line ahead.

We answered with alacrity the signal to make all sail for the enemy, preserving our order of sailing. The sails appeared to know their places and were spread like magic. The wind was very light, and it was nearly noon before we closed with the enemy. We remarked they had formed their ships alternately French and Spanish. All our ships that had bands were playing “Rule Britannia,” “Downfall of Paris,” etc. Our own struck up “Britons, strike home.” We were so slow in moving through the water in consequence of the lightness of the wind that some of the enemy’s ships gave us a royal salute before we could break their line, and we lost two of the band and had nine wounded before we opened our fire. The telegraph signal was flying from the masthead of the Victory, “England expects every man to do his duty.” It was answered with three hearty cheers from each ship, which must have shaken the nerve of the enemy. We were saved the trouble of taking in our studding-sails, as our opponents had the civility to effect it by shot before we got into their line. At length we had the honour of nestling His Majesty’s ship between a French and a Spanish seventy-four, and so close that a biscuit might have been thrown on the decks of either of them. Our guns were all double-shotted. The order was given to fire; being so close every shot was poured into their hulls, down came the Frenchman’s mizzen-mast, and after our second broadside the Spaniard’s fore and cross-jack yards. A Spanish three-decker now crossed our bows and gave us a raking broadside which knocked away the fore and main top-masts, the main and fore-yards with the jib-boom and sprit-sail yard, part of the head, and killed and wounded twenty-two of the men. One midshipman was cut literally in half. This was the more provoking as we could not return her the compliment, having full employment with those we first engaged.

We were in this situation about half-an-hour, when the Spaniard called out he had struck, but before we could take possession of him, a French ship of eighty guns with an admiral’s flag came up, and poured a raking broadside into our stern which killed and wounded forty petty officers and men, nearly cut the rudder in two, and shattered the whole of the stern with the quarter galleries. She then in the most gallant manner locked her bowsprit in our starboard main shrouds, and attempted to board us with the greater part of her officers and ship’s company. She had rifle-men in her tops who did great execution. Our poop was soon cleared, and our gallant captain shot through the left thigh and obliged to be carried below. During this time we were not idle. We gave it to her most gloriously with the starboard lower and main-deckers, and turned the forecastle guns loaded with grape on the gentleman who wished to give us a fraternal hug. The marines kept up a warm and destructive fire on the boarders. Only one man made good his footing on our quarter-deck, when he was pinned through the calf of his right leg by one of the crew with his half-pike, whilst another was going to cut him down, which I prevented, and desired him to be taken to the cockpit. At this period the Bellerophon, seeing our critical position, gallantly steered between us and our first French antagonist and sheeted her home until she struck her colours. Our severe contest with the French admiral lasted more than half-an-hour, our sides grinding so much against each other that we were obliged to fire the lower deck guns without running them out.

At length both ships caught fire before the chest-trees, and our firemen, with all the coolness and courage so inherent in British seamen, got the engine and played on both ships, and finally extinguished the flames, although two of them were severely wounded in doing so. At length we had the satisfaction of seeing her three lower masts go by the board, ripping the partners up in their fall, as they had been shot through below the deck, and carrying with them all their sharp-shooters to look sharper in the next world, for as all our boats were shot through we could not save one of them in this. The crew were then ordered with the second lieutenant to board her. They cheered and in a short time carried her. They found the gallant French Admiral Magon killed at the foot of the poop ladder, the captain dangerously wounded. Out of eight lieutenants five were killed, with three hundred petty officers and seamen, and about one hundred wounded. We left the second lieutenant and sixty men in charge of her, and took some of the prisoners on board when she swung clear of us. We had pummelled her so handsomely that fourteen of her lower deck guns were dismounted, and her larboard bow exhibited a mass of splinters.

After she cleared us another Spanish three-decker drifted nearly on board of us. We received her fire, which shot away the gaff. We returned her salute with interest, and her foremast went about four feet above her deck. We cheered and gave her another broadside, and down came her colours. We manned the jolly boat—the only boat that we thought would float—to take possession of her, but she had not proceeded more than a few yards when down she went, leaving the fourth lieutenant and her crew paddling like sea nondescripts. Having no boat that would float, four of the seamen jumped overboard to rescue those who could not swim, and they all regained the ship. Mr. C., the lieutenant, was nearly drowned, and had it not been for a black man, who took him on his back, he must have sunk. (This man he never lost sight of and left him a handsome legacy when he died.) We were drifting like a pig upon a grating, and as helpless as a sucking shrimp, when the signal was made to repair damages. We soon cut away all that was useless, and in twenty minutes we were under topsails as courses, and top-gallant-sails as topsails.

The carpenters had cobbled up one of the cutters, in which I was sent on board the Royal Sovereign to report our condition and to request the assistance of one of the fleet to tow us, as in consequence of our rudder being so much shattered by shot it was rendered unserviceable. The Defiance was ordered to take us in tow; we shortly afterwards made the signal, that we were able to renew the action. The enemy’s fleet were making for Cadiz. Nineteen sail of their line of battleships had surrendered, and one, the Achille, had blown up. The explosion she made was sublime and awful; a number of her crew were saved by the Pickle schooner. The wind still continued light, and the signal was flying to renew the attack. In about twenty minutes we were again in the rear of the enemy, who appeared to have had enough of it, as they had neared Cadiz, and all the prizes except four seventy-fours were making for the harbour. This was owing to their having so few of our men on board them, and to our not being able, in consequence of the loss of boats, to take out the prisoners. We gave them some parting salutes. There were so many of us in a crippled state it was thought prudent to haul to the westward, as the swell was throwing us towards the shore, and the sky had all the tokens of a gale of wind from the west-south-west. The signal was out to prepare to anchor if necessary. The Royal Sovereign, which had only her foremast standing, with four other ships of our fleet, had already anchored.

The Santissima Trinidada, one of the Spanish prizes, went down in consequence of having received so many shot between wind and water. Her crew were taken out by our frigates and she was scuttled. She was the largest ship and had four regular tiers of guns, mounting in the whole one hundred and thirty-six. About 7 p.m. the wind began to freshen from the westward. The signal was made from the Royal Sovereign for all those ships that could carry sail to proceed to Gibraltar. About 9 p.m. the wind increased to a heavy gale, and the ship which towed us was obliged to cast us off. We fortunately had been able to fix the quarter tackles to the ring-bolts of the rudder before the gale came on. The night was passed in much painful anxiety, and we expected every time we wore to strike on the rocks of Cape Trafalgar. Providentially the wind drew more round to the north-east, and at daylight we weathered the Cape and about noon anchored at Gibraltar. We found the four prizes with several of our fleet lying there, and we were congratulated most cordially on our having escaped a lee shore, as they had given us up as lost.

I must retrograde a little here and relate a few occurrences which took place during the action, and of which I was an eye-witness. We had hoisted our colours before the action in four different places, at the ensign-staff, peak, and in the fore and main top-mast shrouds, that if one was shot away the others might be flying. A number of our fleet had done the same, and several of the enemy followed our example. The French admiral’s ship who so gallantly attempted to board us had his flag hoisted in three places. One of our men, Fitzgerald, ran up his rigging and cut away one of them and placed it round his waist, and had nearly, after this daring exploit, reached his ship, when a rifleman shot him and he fell between the two ships and was no more seen. The principal signalman, whose name was White, and a captain of one of the guns on the poop, had his right great toe nearly severed from his foot. He deliberately took his knife and cut it away. He was desired to go below to the doctor. “No, sir,” was his reply; “I am not the fellow to go below for such a scratch as that. I wish to give the beggars,” meaning the enemy, “a few more hard pills before I have done with them.” Saying this, he bound his foot up in his neck-handkerchief and served out double allowance until his carronade was dismounted by the carriage of it being shattered to pieces. He then hopped to another gun, where he amused himself at the Frenchman’s expense until the action ceased.

We had fought on nearly empty stomachs. At the time we began the action it was dinner time, i.e. twelve o’clock; a small proportion of cheese had been given out and half allowance of grog. During the latter part of the action the captain, who was lying on a cot in the purser’s cabin, sent for me.  On entering the cockpit I found fourteen men waiting amputation of either an arm or a leg. A marine who had sailed with me in a former ship was standing up as I passed, with his left arm hanging down. “What’s the matter, Conelly?” said I to him. “Not much,” replied he; “I am only winged above my elbow, and I am waiting my turn to be lopped.” His arm was dreadfully broken by a grape-shot. I regret to mention that out of sixteen amputations only two survived. This was in consequence of the motion of the ship during the gale. Their stumps broke out afresh, and it was impossible to stop the hæmorrhage. One of them, whose name was Smith, after his leg was taken off, hearing the cheering on deck in consequence of another of the enemy striking her colours, cheered also. The exertion he made burst the vessels, and before they could be again taken up he died.

When I was sent on board Admiral Collingwood’s ship during the action I observed a great anxiety in the officers’ faces. It immediately occurred to me that Lord Nelson had fallen, and I put the question to one of the lieutenants, who told me he was mortally wounded and that he could not live long. Thus gloriously fell in the arms, and on the deck, of Victory, as brave, as intrepid, and as great a hero as ever existed, a seaman’s friend and the father of the fleet. The love of his country was engraven on his heart. He was most zealous for her honour and welfare, and his discernment was clear and decisive. His death was deservedly and deeply felt by every man in the fleet. I must not omit that when the Commander of the French fleet, Admiral Villeneuve, was brought alongside us instead of the Victory, he was informed it was not Nelson’s ship. “My God,” said he, “you are all Nelsons!”5

On mustering our ship’s company after we were tolerably in order, we found we had twenty-six killed and fifty-eight wounded, the captain included, who, as soon as we arrived, went on shore. We sent our wounded men to the hospital, and began to refit. Our rudder was unshipped, or rather the wreck of it, to be spliced. On the fourth morning, at daylight, during a fog, we were not a little astonished at finding ourselves bombarded, and the shells and shot flying fast and thick amongst us. We had taken the precaution of keeping our guns towards the enemy shotted, but fortunately for us and for those people who were amusing themselves in the enemy’s gun-boats, the fog was so dense that we neither could see them or they us. However, we fired as nearly as we could judge in the direction from whence their shells came, and I presume we must have done some execution among them. After our second broadside all was silent. We had only a few ropes shot away and one man wounded. The shells fell either short or over us on shore, where they did no injury. The shot were the most destructive. After this freak, which might have proved serious, we had additional guard boats during night.

The Governor, General Fox, sent an invitation to all the officers of the fleet requesting their company to a ball at the Government House. I understood it was well attended, and the ladies very amiable. I, having received a wound in the left hand, which was painful, did not attend. Before we sailed we had several dinner-parties and made excursions to St. George’s and other caves. One afternoon I had been rambling with another brother officer over the Rock, when, as we reached the O’Hara Tower, we were overtaken by a thunder-storm. As we stood in the tower, which, as Paddy would say, is no tower at all, we saw the thunder-clouds descend under us, and could distinctly see the lightning. It was to us a novel and awful scene. We soon removed from our position, as the small building under which we had taken shelter had been formerly struck by lightning, and we began to be apprehensive of its second visit. In descending we started two large baboons, who appeared as much surprised as we were. We soon lost sight of them among the rocks. It is strictly forbidden to use fire-arms or to destroy anything on the Rock. We also saw a few red-legged partridges, which were not very shy, and some large lizards. The officers of the garrison gave a horse race on neutral ground, and invited the Governor of St. Roch with his staff. He came with a numerous retinue. Flags of truce were stuck up beyond the Gibraltar limits, and we were at liberty to go nearly as far as the nearest Spanish fort. It was a singular coincidence to see us shaking hands and offering cigars to men whose duty it was an hour before to shoot us. Everything went off very pleasantly except with the poor, distressed horses, who had to run over deep sand. After the Spanish Governor and his officers had partaken of a plentiful collation under a large marquee, they took their departure, and we gave them three cheers. We at length received our rudder from the hands of the dockyard mateys. They had made a good job of it, and it answered admirably.

The book in its entirety can be found at Gutenberg Press – if you don’t know this website, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of great books!

A Sailor of King George

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Captain Frederick Hoffman, HMS Apelles - 1808

As part of the research I’m conducting for a novel I’m working on, I’ve just finished reading a rip-roaring tale of high adventure – and it’s all true!  Straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were, from an officer and gentleman who saw and survived 45 years in His Majesty’s navy (according to his own reckoning at the end of the tale).  Captain Hoffman, who began as a lowly mid (midshipman), survived yellow fever twice, was a prisoner of war twice, lost the hearing in one ear (and part of the ear), survived countless battles (including Trafalgar), and spent years at a time separated from his family, yet all with a keen eye for detail, and a sailor’s knack for conveying what he saw with humour and a vivid imagination.  He had a tongue-in-cheek writing style, and I found myself laughing many a time at his gentlemanly wording of euphemisms, such as when they attacked an enemy vessel and boarded her: “She (the ship) received us as warmly as if she had known us for years. I took the liberty of shooting a man in her main rigging who was inclined to do me the same kind office, had I not saved him the trouble.”

He also had an amazing repertoire of similes, and here are just a few:

  • “don’t be after splicing yourself (getting married) until you have a commission, and if you do then, you will have as much business with a wife as a cow has with a side pocket…”
  • “I walked the deck as surly as a bear with the Caledonian rash.”
  • “…(sitting) on the back of an animal as obstinate as a boat’s crew…”
  • …”we were as helpless as a cow in a jolly-boat…” (due to being short-handed)
  • “We were drifting like a pig upon a grating, and as helpless as a sucking shrimp…”
  • “My mind was like a coal-barge in a waterspout when I heard…”
  • “…his eyes glistening like a Cornish diamond…”
  • “Our prizes (ships captured, to be sold for prize money) made their eyes shine like a dollar in a bucket of water, and their mouths water like a sick monkey’s eyes with a violent influenza.”
  • “…we daylighted the anchor, mastheaded the sails, crested the briny wave like a Yankee sea-serpent…”
HMS Apelles

HMS Apelles; Illustration from the book.

Captain Hoffman was commander of several vessels, including the HMS Apelles; Wikipedia has an interesting article regarding the fate of that particular ship; Hoffman was taken prisoner as a consequence of his gallant actions, and spent over two years as a POW in France; Bonaparte refused the usual gentleman’s agreement of prisoner exchange, leaving men to languish in prisons until he was defeated and deposed (for the first time, in April 1814).

This gem of a book can be found free of charge at Gutenberg.org, and I would highly recommend reading it if you have any interest in military history, natural history, or social history, or just love a good tale – Hoffman covers it all!

 

The Widow’s Man

18centuryship-16-wiki-19011Back before the days of pension funds, insurance and the like, a man who went to sea left behind a family relying on his income and his return to survive.  If he were killed or died, the widow was left with no source of income, vulnerable, and likely to end in poverty; I can imagine that their children may have often ended in workhouses, or on the streets begging or stealing for food if the father had been a common sailor with no pecuniary connection to ensure the survival of his bereft family.  To counter this problem, the royal navy kept a man on their payroll, called the “widow’s man”, whose income would be sent to the widow directly.  There could be several in any given ship’s complement, proportional to the ship’s size.  As you can imagine, this gave a greater incentive for men to join the Royal Navy as opposed to another maritime employer such as the Merchant Navy, but this accounting tactic led to several problems, not the least of which was to know how many hands on deck were actually alive when, for instance, a ship sank – or in other words, how many were alive before they died…

The history of pensions in the UK is an interesting topic; if you’d like to learn more, click here, with a section on the Royal Navy here.

Pitch vs. Tar

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Pitch Drop Experiment, begun 1927

The Pitch Drop Experiment

If you’re like me and just naturally curious, and combine that with writing, you’ll find that it leads you down curiouser and curiouser paths.  Today it led me down the path to find the difference between pitch and tar, which came from the search for the etymology of the idiom “toe the line”.  So what is the difference between the two?  Quite a bit and not a lot, it turns out.

Pitch is a general term for either natural resins or manufactured derivations.  When it comes from plants it’s known as resin (and products made from this, such as violin string conditioner, are called rosin), and has a surprisingly wide range of applications, from waterproofing ships, Norse Longhouses and Stave churches to use as a glazing agent in medicines and chewing gum. The confusing thing is that some forms of pitch can be called tar.  Bitumen is a natural asphalt, also known as “oil sand” (an irregular petroleum deposit), which is a type of pitch.  Pitch is a natural viscoelastic polymer, which basically means that even though it seems hard and may shatter on a hard impact, it is actually a liquid.  The  Pitch Drop Experiment was started in 1927; since then, only 9 drops have fallen from the funnel filled with pitch.  That’s patience.  They were able to determine that the viscosity of pitch is roughly 230 billion times that of water.  Just thought you should know.

Tar is obtained through a process called “destructive distillation”, along with other products such as coal gas, coal tar, coal oil, gas carbon, Buckministerfullerene, coke, and ammonia liquor.  Its connection with pitch is that it can also be derived from pine.  I’ve seen puddles of natural tar all over the Highlands of Scotland, as the pressure of weight from the dense peat moors presses the tar out, much like a sponge being squeezed.  It can make hiking through the wilds of Scotland a messy business.  In fact, in Northern Europe the word tar refers to the substance obtained from pine wood and roots.  The distinction between pitch and tar is that the former is denser, more solid, while tar is more of a liquid form. So, it seems, that’s all the difference between the two terms comes down to:  Viscosity.

And that brings me full circle in understanding the idiom to “toe the line”:  The “line” was the strip of weather-proofing between a ship’s deck boards; this was made by packing a mixture of natural debris (sawdust, straw, etc.), pitch and tar between the boards.  It would be therefore logical to assume that tar and pitch were mixed together to make it both spreadable and solid.

Famous Deceptions of World War 2

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Enigma - Sketched

The Enigma Machine

Everyone knows about D-Day, 6 June having been the 70th anniversary and mentioned everywhere in Cyberspace and beyond this weekend.  But how many have ever heard of Operation Bodyguard, Slapton, or Major Martin – the man who never existed?

Operation Bodyguard was specifically crafted to mislead the German high command as far as the exact date and target of the D-Day invasion.  At the time of the Normandy invasion, the German military resources were spread thinly along the Atlantic coast; they knew something was coming, but not when or where, and their interceptors and spies were hard at work trying to catch any information that might tip them off in order to concentrate their forces in the correct location and timing.  The allies knew that if Normandy were spotted as a possible landing place, all might be lost; so to cover any correct information, they intentionally leaked bogie information – namely, that Normandy was a diversionary ploy; it was a tactic used several times during the war because the German spy network in the UK had been compromised though not exposed, so that the allies could use them against their own side unwittingly (or employ double spies); Bletchley Park had also been able to crack the Enigma codes to a sufficient extent, and as long as that stayed secret they could not only decipher the enemy’s encoded messages, but know which “spiked” information had been swallowed.  The allies gave several bogus targets along the Atlantic front, as scattered as Calais in northern France,  the Balkans and Norway.  Hitler was so convinced he’d interpreted the bogus information as valid that he delayed reinforcements to Normandy by seven weeks.  The operation was a strategic success; General Omar Bradley called it the “single biggest hoax of the war”.

There were dozens of similar operations throughout the war, some more successful than others.  The village of Slapton, along the Devonshire coast, was a dress rehearsal for the real thing; while in itself not a deception, it aided the allied troops invaluably in preparing for a swift and successful invasion to establish a beachhead and eventually win the most decisive battle of World War 2.  The beach near Slapton was considered a close match to the conditions the allied troops would face on the beaches of Normandy and Omaha.  The town was evacuated for their own safety, and rigorous training ensued along the coastal beach and cliffs, beginning as early as July of 1943, including landing craft maneuvers and beach obstacles.   It was kept fairly secret, but in April of 1944 a surprise torpedo attack from a German speedboat ended the lives of nearly 750 American sailors and soldiers.  To bolster the strength of the diversionary operations and reduce any radio static connected to further preparations in Slapton, travel and communication along the coast of Britain and the Republic of Ireland were limited or blocked altogether, in effect creating a news blackout.  The preparations there enabled the allies to beach successfully.

Major Martin, though he never existed, was invaluable to the success of the allies:  In “Operation Heartbreak”, a novel by Duff Cooper, and “The Man Who Never Was” (also known as Operation Mincemeat) a historical account by Ewen Montagu, the history and eye-witness accounts of men involved in the deceptions reads like a great mystery novel – but it’s all real:  In the early hours of 30 April, 1943, a corpse was dumped off of the coast of Spain; but the corpse had a greater mission in death than it had in life:  Wearing a high ranking Royal Marines uniform and with a “spiked” briefcase attached to its wrist, it was sure to wash into the port and its information intercepted by the corrupt spy network in bed with the Nazis.  The misinformation was swallowed whole, and the operation was a success.

The above-mentioned book is well worth reading (it’s actually two in one), and another that I would highly recommend is “Station X – The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park”, by Michael Smith.  The film Enigma (with Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott) is a great one on this topic, if you’re interested in the topic.

A Brief History of the World in Maps

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I came across an interesting collection of maps representing changes to the world through the history of maps; historically- and geographically-speaking, maps did not have a tendency to be too accurate as far as actual coastlines, and they may have taken a bit of artistic license as to the size of the artist’s patron country or enemy nations, but they give a fascinating insight to the mentalities and techniques behind their creations.  And I didn’t find a single “thar’ be dragons” on any of these maps.  Just click on the photo below to follow the link.

1675 Dover to London Map, John Ogilby

1675 Dover to London Map, John Ogilby

New Book Release: Redemption, the Northing Trilogy, Book 2

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Redemption CoverAnnouncing the release of my second book, Redemption!  At the moment both books are available on Kindle, and coming soon in paperback.  If you enjoy 18th century fiction a la Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, I think you’ll love these two books!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing them; before writing the third book in this series, however, I’ll be finishing two other manuscripts, in vastly different genres.  So keep your eye out for more news!

The reason for the brief interlude between the releases of The Price of Freedom and Redemption is that the second was nearly complete when I released the first one; POF had been done for a few months by the time I actually had time to sit down and go through the publication process for the first time properly; don’t think either book was rushed, as I’m meticulous with the nuts and bolts, and I would like to think quality, though that is up to the reader to assess, not me!

To read a snippet of the book and find out more, please check out my “The Northing Trilogy” page and let me know what you think – I’d love to hear from you!

This Day in History: 7 December

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eternal clock History is an amazing, living creature:  If we do not look back at our past, we are doomed to repeat it; if we look back too much, we miss our present and future.  But all three phases in our life, measured as we do by the passage of time on this planet, are simultaneous, important, and influential on the other two at any given moment:  If you decide not to get out of bed in that fleeting moment of “now,” the events that unfold in your future will be altered.  If you decide to pass on an act of kindness done to you by someone in your past, you will change the state of your present attitudes and outlooks, and change the course of events in someone else’s life in the process.

With that in mind, here are a random selection of historical events that took place on this day, 7 December.  They may be mere statistics to us now, but at the time they were life-altering, history-changing, significant events to be overcome, survived, or defeated by.  Of those tragic events that took place within your lifetime, take a moment of silence out of respect for the loved ones that were left behind to pick up the pieces of a life altered without warning… it’s a day relatives, children, spouses and parents will never forget.

  • 521 – Columba, Irish missionary, monk, and saint was born (d. 597)
  • 574 – Emperor Justin II retires due to recurring seizures of insanity, he abdicates the throne in favor of his general Tiberius and proclaims him Caesar.
  • 1869 – American outlaw Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
  • 1917 – World War I: The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.
  • 1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor – The Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, causing 2,400 deaths and a declaration of war upon Japan by the United States. Japan also invades Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies at the same time (December 8 in Asia).
  • 1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia kills 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.
  • 1949 – Chinese Civil War: The government of Republic of China moves from Nanking to Taipei, Taiwan.
  • 1972 – Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as The Blue Marble as they leave the Earth.
  • 1987 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shoots both pilots and himself.
  • 1988 – Spitak Earthquake: In Armenia an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale kills more than 25,000, injures 30,000 and leaves 500,000 homeless out of a population of 3,500,000.

From the 1867 Sailor’s Word-Book: Nautical Orders

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Shot from the British mini-series "Hornblower", with Ioan Gruffudd.

Shot from the British mini-series “Hornblower”, with Ioan Gruffudd.

As part of my research for novels, I came across the 1867 “The Sailor’s Word-Book:  An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms, including some more especially military and scientific, but useful to seamen; as well as archaisms of early voyagers, etc. by the late ADMIRAL W. H. SMYTH, K.S.F., D.C.L., &c.”  It’s a massive document, but below is a gleaning of the orders listed in the word-book.  It’s a fascinating insight into life and demands at sea in the 18th & 19th centuries especially.  Enjoy!

Nautical Orders

ABOUT. Circularly; the situation of a ship after she has gone round, and trimmed sails on the opposite tack.—Ready about! and About-ship! are orders to the ship’s company to prepare for tacking by being at their stations.

ADVANCED SQUADRON. One on the look-out.—Advance, or vanguard, that division of a force which is next the enemy, or which marches before a body.—Advance fosse, a ditch of water round the esplanade or glacis of a fortification.—Advance! the order to marines and small-arm men to move forward.

AFTER-ORDERS. Those which are given out after the regular issue of the daily orders.

A-LEE. The contrary of a-weather: the position of the helm when its tiller is borne over to the lee-side of the ship, in order to go about or put her head to windward.—Hard a-lee! or luff a-lee! is said to the steersman to put the helm down.—Helm’s a-lee! the word of command given on putting the helm down, and causing the head-sails to shake in the wind.

ALL. The total quantity; quite; wholly.—All aback, when all the sails are taken aback by the winds.—All ahoo, or all-a-ugh, confused; hanging over; crooked.—All-a-taunt-o, a ship fully rigged, with masts in and yards crossed.—All hands, the whole ship’s company.—All hands ahoy, the boatswain’s summons for the whole crew to repair on deck, in distinction from the watch.—All hands make sail! the cheering order when about to chase a strange vessel.—All hands to quarters! the call in armed merchantmen, answering to the Beat to quarters in a man-of-war.—All in the wind, when a vessel’s head is too close to the wind, so that all her sails are shivering.—All over, resemblance to a particular object, as a ship in bad kelter: “she’s a privateer all over.”—All overish, the state of feeling when a man is neither ill nor well, restless in bed and indifferent to meals. In the tropics this is considered as the premonitory symptom of disease, and a warning which should be looked to.—All ready, the answer from the tops when the sails are cast loose, and ready to be dropped.—All standing, fully equipped, or with clothes on. To be brought up all standing, is to be suddenly checked or stopped, without any preparation.—Paid off all standing, without unrigging or waiting to return stores; perhaps recommissioned the next day or hour.—All’s well, the sentry’s call at each bell struck (or half hour) between the periods of broad daylight, or from 8 P.M. to 4 A.M.—All to pieces, a phrase used for out-and-out, extremely, or excessively; as, “we beat her in sailing all to pieces.”—All weathers, any time or season; continually.

ARRAY. The order of battle.—To array. To equip, dress, or arm for battle.

ASSEMBLY. That long roll beat of the drum by which soldiers, or armed parties, are ordered to repair to their stations. It is sometimes called the fall-in.

AVAST. The order to stop, hold, cease, or stay, in any operation: its derivation from the Italian basta is more plausible than have fast.

AVAST HEAVING! The cry to arrest the capstan when nippers are jammed, or any other impediment occurs in heaving in the cable, not unfrequently when a hand, foot, or finger, is jammed;—stop!

AWAY ALOFT. The order to the men in the rigging to start up.

AWAY SHE GOES. The order to step out with the tackle fall. The cry when a vessel starts on the ways launching; also when a ship, having stowed her anchor, fills and makes sail.

AWAY THERE. The call for a boat’s crew; as, “away there! barge-men.”

AWAY WITH IT. The order to walk along briskly with a tackle fall, as catting the anchor, &c.

AYE, AYE, SIR. A prompt reply on receiving an order. Also the answer on comprehending an order. Aye-aye, the answer to a sentinel’s hail, from a boat which has a commissioned officer on board below the rank of captain. The name of the ship in reply from the boat indicates the presence of a captain. The word “flag,” indicates the presence of an admiral.

BACK-HER. The order, in steam-navigation, directing the engineer to reverse the movement of the cranks and urge the vessel astern.

BACK OFF ALL. The order when the harpooner has thrown his harpoon into the whale. Also, to back off a sudden danger.

BADGER, To. To tease or confound by frivolous orders.

BEAT TO QUARTERS. The order for the drummer to summon every one to his respective station.

BECKET, The Tacks and Sheets in the. The order to hang up the weather-main and fore-sheet, and the lee-main and fore-tack, to the small knot and eye becket on the foremost-main and fore-shrouds, when the ship is close hauled, to prevent them from hanging in the water. A kind of large cleat seized on a vessel’s fore or main rigging for the sheets and tacks to lie in when not required. Cant term for pockets—”Hands out of beckets, sir.”

BELL. Strike the bell. The order to strike the clapper against the bell as many times as there are half hours of the watch elapsed; hence we say it is two bells, three bells, &c., meaning there are two or three half-hours past. The watch of four hours is eight bells.

BOUT. A turn, trial, or round. An attack of illness; a convivial meeting.—‘Bout ship, the brief order for “about ship.”

BRACE UP AND HAUL AFT! The order usually given after being hove-to, with fore or main top-sail square or aback, and jib-sheet flowing, i.e. haul aft jib-sheet, brace up the yards which had been squared, for the purpose of heaving to.

BRAIL UP! The order to pull upon the brails, and thereby spill and haul in the sail. The mizen, or spanker, or driver, or any of the gaff-sails, as they may be termed, when brailed up, are deemed furled; unless it blows hard, when they are farther secured by gaskets.

BREAK-OFF. “She breaks off from her course,” applied only when the wind will not allow of keeping the course; applies only to “close-hauled” or “on a wind.”—Break-off! an order to quit one department of duty, to clap on to another.

BRIGADE-ORDERS. Those issued by the general officer commanding troops which are brigaded.

BRING-TO, To. To bend, as to bring-to a sail to the yard. Also, to check the course of a ship by trimming the sails so that they shall counteract each other, and keep her nearly stationary, when she is said to lie by, or lie-to, or heave-to.—Bring to! The order from one ship to another to put herself in that situation in order to her being boarded, spoken to, or examined. Firing a blank gun across the bows of a ship is the forcible signal to shorten sail and bring-to until further pleasure.—Bring-to is also used in applying a rope to the capstan, as “bring-to the messenger.”

BRING-TO AN ANCHOR, To. To let go the anchor in the intended port. “All hands bring ship to an anchor!” The order by which the people are summoned for that duty, by the pipes of the boatswain and his mates.

CAPSTAN, To come up the. In one sense is to lift the pauls and walk back, or turn the capstan the contrary way, thereby slackening, or letting out some of the rope on which they have been heaving. The sudden order would be obeyed by surging, or letting go any rope on which they were heaving. Synonymous to “Come up the purchase.”

CAPSTAN, Surge the. Is the order to slacken the rope which is wound round the barrel while heaving, to prevent it from riding or fouling. This term specially applies to surging the messenger when it rides, or when the two lashing eyes foul on the whelps or the barrel.

CEASE FIRING. The order to leave off.

CLAP ON! The order to lay hold of any rope, in order to haul upon it. Also, to “Clap on the stoppers before the bitts,” i.e. fasten the stoppers; or, “Clap on the cat-fall,” i.e. lay hold of the cat-fall.—To clap a stopper over all, to stop a thing effectually; to clap on the stopper before the bitts next to the manger or hawse-hole; to order silence.—To clap in irons, to order an offender into the bilboes.—To clap on canvas, to make more sail.

CLUE UP! The order to clue up the square sails.

COME NO NEAR! The order to the helmsman to steer the ship on the course indicated, and not closer to the wind, while going “full and by.”—Come on board, sir. An officer reporting himself to his superior on returning from duty or leave.—Come to. To bring the ship close to the wind.—Come to an anchor. To let go the anchor.—Come up! with a rope or tackle, is to slack it off.—Comes up, with the helm. A close-hauled ship comes up (to her course) as the wind changes in her favour. To come up with or overhaul a vessel chased.—Come up the capstan. Is to turn it the contrary way to that which it was heaving, so as to take the strain off, or slacken or let out some of the cablet or rope which is about it.—Come up the tackle-fall. Is to let go.—To come up, in ship-building, is to cast loose the forelocks or lashings of a sett, in order to take in closer to the plank.

DEPRESS. The order to adjust the quoin in great-gun exercise; to depress the muzzle to point at an object below the level, in contradistinction to elevate.

DOWN ALL CHESTS! The order to get all the officers’ and seamen’s chests down below from off the gun-decks when clearing the ship for an engagement.

DOWN ALL HAMMOCKS! The order for all the sailors to carry their hammocks down, and hang them up in their respective berths in readiness to go to bed, or to lessen top-weight and resistance to wind in chase.

DOWN KILLOCK! Let go the grapnel; the corruption of keel-hook or anchor.

DOWN OARS! The order on shoving off a boat when the men have had them “tossed up.”

DOWN WITH THE HELM! An order to put the helm a-lee.

EASE, To Stand at. To remain at rest.

EASE AWAY! To slacken out a rope or tackle-fall.

EASE HER! In a steamer, is the command to reduce the speed of the engine, preparatory to “stop her,” or before reversing for “turn astern.”

EASE OFF! Ease off handsomely, or Ease away there! To slacken out a rope or tackle-fall carefully.

EASE THE HELM! An order often given in a vessel close-hauled, to put the helm down a few spokes in a head sea, with the idea that if the ship’s way be deadened by her coming close to the wind she will not strike the opposing sea with so much force. It is thought by some that extreme rolling as well as pitching are checked by shifting the helm quickly, thereby changing the direction of the ship’s head, and what is technically called “giving her something else to do.”

ELEVATE! In great-gun exercise, the order which prepares for adjusting the quoin.

EVERY INCH OF THAT! An exclamation to belay a rope without rendering it.

EVERY ROPE AN-END. The order to coil down the running rigging, or braces and bowlines, after tacking, or other evolution. Also, the order, when about to perform an evolution, to see that every rope is clear for running.

FALL IN, To. The order to form, or take assigned places in ranks.

FILL THE MAIN-YARD. An order well understood to mean, fill the main-topsail, after it has been aback, or the ship hove-to.

FIRE! The order to put the match to the priming, or pull the trigger of a cannon or other fire-arm so as to discharge it. The act of discharging ordnance.

FOOT IT IN. An order to stow the bunt of a sail snugly in furling, executed by the bunt-men dancing it in, holding on by the topsail-tye. Frequently when a bunt-jigger has parted men have fallen on deck.

FRESH HAND AT THE BELLOWS. Said when a gale freshens suddenly.

FULL FOR STAYS! The order to keep the sails full to preserve the velocity, assisting the action of the rudder in tacking ship.

FULL SPEED! A self-explanatory order to the engineer of a steamer to get his engine into full play.

GET-A-PULL. The order to haul in more of a rope or tackle.

GIVE HER SHEET. The order to ease off; give her rope.

GIVE WAY. The order to a boat’s crew to renew rowing, or to increase their exertions if they were already rowing. To hang on the oars.

GO AHEAD! or Go on! The order to the engineer in a steamer.

GO SLOW. The order to the engineer to cut off steam without stopping the play of the engine.

HALF-SPEED! An order in steam navigation to reduce the speed.

HALF-TURN AHEAD! An order in steam navigation.

HALT! The military word of command to stop marching, or any other evolution. A halt includes the period of such discontinuance.

HANDS REEF TOP-SAILS! The order to reef by all hands, instead of the watch, or watch and idlers.

HANG ON HER! In rowing, is the order to stretch out to the utmost to preserve or increase head-way on the boat.

HARD-A-PORT! The order so to place the tiller as to bring the rudder over to the starboard-side of the stern-post, whichever way the tiller leads.

HARD-A-STARBOARD. The order so to place the tiller as to bring the rudder over to the port-side of the stern-post, whichever way the tiller leads.

HARD-A-WEATHER! The order so to place the tiller as to bring the rudder on the lee-side of the stern-post, whichever way the tiller leads, in order to bear away; it is the position of the helm as opposed to hard-a-lee . Also, a hardy seaman.

HAUL OF ALL! An order to brace round all the yards at once—a manœuvre sometimes used in tacking, or on a sudden change of wind; it requires a strong crew.

HAUL OUT TO LEEWARD! In reefing top-sails, the cry when the weather earing is passed.

HEAVE AND A-WASH. An encouraging call when the ring of the anchor rises to the surface, and the stock stirs the water.

HEAVE AND A-WEIGH. Signifies that the next effort will start the anchor from its bed, and make it a-trip. “Heave and a-weigh, sir,” from the forecastle, denotes that the anchor is a-weigh; it inspirits the men to run it to the bows rapidly.

HEAVE AND IN SIGHT. A notice given by the boatswain to the crew when the anchor is drawn up so near the surface of the water as to be seen by its muddy water surrounding it.

HEAVE AND PAUL. Is the order to turn the capstan or windlass till the paul may be put in, by which it is prevented from coming up, and is something similar to belay, applied to a running rope.

HEAVE AND RALLY! An encouraging order to the men at the capstan to heave with spirit, with a rush, and thereby force the anchor out of the ground. When there is a rising sea “heave and rally” implies, “heave and stand to your bars,” the pauls taking the strain, and the next wave probably lifting the anchor.

HEAVE OUT THERE! The order to hasten men from their hammocks.

HOLD-FAST. A rope; also the order to the people aloft, when shaking out reefs, &c., to suspend the operation. In ship-building, it means a bolt going down through the rough tree rail, and the fore or after part of each stanchion.

IN-BOATS! The order to hoist the boats in-board.

IN-BOW! The order to the bowman to throw in his oar, and prepare his boat-hook, previous to getting alongside.

KEEP YOUR LUFF. An order to the helmsman to keep the ship close to the wind, i.e. sailing with a course as near as possible to the direction from which the wind is coming.

LANE. “Make a lane there!” An order for men to open a passage and allow a person to pass through.

LASH AND CARRY. The order given by the boatswain and his mates on piping up the hammocks, to accelerate the duty.

LASH AWAY. A phrase to hasten the lashing of hammocks.

LAUNCH-HO! The order to let go the top-rope after the top-mast has been swayed up and fidded. It is literally “high enough.” So in pumping, when the spear sucks, this term is “Cease.”

LAY IN. The opposite of lay out. The order for men to come in from the yards after reefing or furling. It also applies to manning, or laying in, to the capstan-bars.

LAY OR LIE ON YOUR OARS! The order to desist rowing, without laying the oars in.—Lay out on your oars! is the order to give way, or pull with greater force.

LAY OUT. See Lie Out!

LET DRAW! The order to let the wind take the after-leeches of the jibs, &c., over to the lee-side, while tacking.

LET FALL! The order to drop a sail loosed from its gaskets, in order to set it.

LET GO AND HAUL! or Afore haul! The order to haul the head-yards round by the braces when the ship casts on the other tack. “Let go,” alluding to the fore-bowline and lee head-braces.

LET RUN, or let go by the Run. Cast off at once.

LIE IN! The order to come in from the yards when reefing, furling, or other duty is performed.

LIE OFF! An order given to a boat to remain off on her oars till permission is given for her to come alongside.

LIE OUT! The order to the men aloft to distribute themselves on the yards for loosing, reefing, or furling sails.

LONG STROKE. The order to a boat’s crew to stretch out and hang on her.

LOWER HANDSOMELY, Lower Cheerly. Are opposed to each other; the former being the order to lower gradually, and the latter to lower expeditiously.

LUFF, or Loofe. The order to the helmsman, so as to bring the ship’s head up more to windward. Sometimes called springing a luff. Also, the air or wind. Also, an old familiar term for lieutenant. Also, the fullest or roundest part of a ship’s bows. Also, the weather-leech of a sail.

LUFF AND TOUCH HER! Try how near the wind she will come.

MAIN-SAIL HAUL! The order given to haul the after-yards round when the ship is nearly head to wind in tacking.

MAIN-TOPSAIL HAUL! The order used instead of main-sail haul, when the main-sail is not set.

MAKE A LANE THERE! The order of the boatswain for the crew to separate at muster, to facilitate the approach of any one whose name is called.

MAKE IT SO. The order of a commander to confirm the time, sunrise, noon, or sunset, reported to him by the officer of the watch.

MAKE READY! Be prepared.

MEET HER! The order to adjust the helm, so as to check any further movement of the ship’s head in a given direction.

MUZZLE TO THE RIGHT, or Muzzle to the Left! The order given to trim the gun to the object.

OARS! The order to cease rowing, by lifting the oars from the water, and poising them on their looms horizontally in their rowlocks.—Look to your oars! Passing any object or among sea-weed.—Double-banked oars.

ORDER ARMS! The word of command, with muskets or carbines, to bring the butt to the ground, the piece vertical against the right side, trigger-guard to the front.—Open order and close order, are terms for keeping the fleet prepared for any particular manœuvre.

OUT-BOATS. The order to hoist out the boats.

OUT-OARS. The order to take to rowing when the sails give but little way on a boat.

PIPE DOWN! The order to dismiss the men from the deck when a duty has been performed on board ship.

PUMP SHIP! The order to the crew to work the pumps to clear the hold of water.

PUT OFF! or Push off. The order to boats to quit the ship or the shore.

READY ABOUT! or Ready Oh! The order to prepare for tacking, each man to his station.

READY WITH THE LEAD! A caution when the vessel is luffed up to deaden her way, followed by “heave.”

RETREAT. The order in which a fleet or squadron declines engagement. Or the retrograde movement of any body of men who retire from a hostile force. Also, that beat of drum about sunset which orders the guards and piquets to take up their night duties.

RIGHT THE HELM! The order to put it amidships, that is, in a line with the keel.

RIG THE GRATINGS. Prepare them for punishment.

RODE OF ALL. Improperly so written for rowed of all. The order to throw in and boat the oars.

ROUSE AND BIT. The order to turn out of the hammocks.

ROW DRY! The order to those who row, not to splash water into the boat.

ROWED OF ALL! The orders for the rowers to cease, and toss their oars into the boat simultaneously, in naval style.

RUN AWAY WITH IT! The order to men on a tackle fall, when light goods are being hoisted in, or in hoisting top-sails, jib, or studding-sails.

SENTRY GO! The order to the new sentry to proceed to the relief of the previous one.

SET ON! The order to set the engine going on board a steamer.

SHEET HOME! The order, after the sails are loosed, to extend the sheets to the outer extremities of the yards, till the clue is close to the sheet-block. Also, when driving anything home, as a blow, &c.

SHIFT THE HELM! The order for an alteration of its position, by moving it towards the opposite side of the ship; that is, from port to starboard, or vice versa.

SHOVE OFF! The order to the bowman to put the boat’s head off with his boat-hook.

SHOW A LEG! An exclamation from the boatswain’s mate, or master-at-arms, for people to show that they are awake on being called. Often “Show a leg, and turn out.”

SLACK OFF, or Slacken! The order to ease away the rope or tackle by which anything is held fast; as, “Slack up the hawser.”

SO! An order to desist temporarily from hauling upon a rope, when it has come to its right position.

SOAK AND SEND! The order to pass wet swabs along.

SQUARE YARDS! The order to attend to the lifts and braces, for going before the wind.—To square a yard. In working ship, means to bring it in square by the marks on the braces. Figuratively, to settle accounts.

STAMP AND GO! The order to step out at the capstan, or with hawsers, topsail-halliards, &c., generally to the fife or fiddle.

STAND BY! The order to be prepared; to look out to fire when directed.—To stand by a rope, is to take hold of it; the anchor, prepare to let go.

STAND CLEAR OF THE CABLE! A precautionary order when about to let go the anchor, that nothing may obstruct it in running out of the hawse-holes. Also, a warning when idlers obstruct quarter-deck duty.

STAND FROM UNDER! A notice given to those below to keep out of the way of anything being lowered down, or let fall from above.

STASH IT THERE! An old order to cease or be quiet.

STATIONS FOR STAYS! Repair to your posts to tack ship.

STEADY! The order given to the steersman, in a fair wind, to steer the ship on her course without deviating; to which he answers, Steady it is, sir.

STOP HER! An order to check the cable in being payed out. Also, a self-explanatory phrase to direct the engineer of a steamer to stop the action of the engines.

STRETCH OUT! In rowing, is the order to pull strong; to bend forward to the utmost.

STRIKE DOWN! The order to lower casks, &c., into the hold.

TAIL ON, or Tally on. The order to clap on to a rope.

THUS, Very well Thus, or Dyce. The order to the helmsman to keep the ship in her present direction, when sailing close-hauled. This truly sailor’s motto was adopted by the Earl St. Vincent.

TOE A LINE! The order to stand in a row.

TOP-SAIL HAUL! or Main-topsail Haul! When the main-sail is not set, this is the order given to haul the after-yards round when the ship is nearly head to wind in tacking.

TOSS IN YOUR OARS! The order to desist rowing, and throw the oars in out of the rowlocks.

TOSS THE OARS UP! Throw them up out of the rowlocks, and raise them perpendicularly an-end; the act is intended as a compliment to a superior officer rowing by. Also, the order to a boat’s crew to get the oars ready for rowing, and to salute the officer on his entering the boat.

TRICE UP—LIE OUT! The order to lift the studding-sail boom-ends while the top-men move out on the yards, preparatory to reefing or furling.

TRIM THE BOAT! The order to sit in the boat in such a manner as that she shall float upright. Also, to edge aft, so that her steerage becomes easier, and she does not ship heavy seas.

TURN AHEAD! A self-explanatory order to the engineer, in regulating the movement of a steamer.

TURN OUT THE GUARD! The order for the marines of the guard to fall in, on the quarter-deck, in order to receive a superior officer on board.

UP BOATS! The order to hoist the boats to the stern and quarter davits.

UP COURSES! The order to haul them up by the clue-garnets, &c.

UP SCREW! The order in steamers to lift the screw on making sail.

WALK AWAY! The order to step out briskly with a tackle fall, as in hoisting boats.

WALK BACK! A method in cases where a purchase must not be lowered by a round turn, as “Walk back the capstan;” the men controlling it by the bars and walking back as demanded.

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