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Royal NavyRoyal Navy

Covey Crump (A to Aye)
A & AS Alterations and additions to the structure, rigging and equipment of a warship.
ABBREVIATIONS LSL (Landing Ship Logistic), STUFT (Ships Taken up from Trade)
ALL FAIR AND ABOVE BOARD A commonly used expression of nautical origin meaning "Utterly fairnothing hidden". Things "above board" were on or above the upper deck and so open for all to see.
THE ROYAL NAVAL ACADEMY Because the King's Letter Boys (QV) were not in fact succeeding in learning their profession at sea, as had originally been hoped, the RN Academy at Portsmouth was opened in the Dockyard in the Summer of 1733, having been authorised by an Order in Council dated 21st February 1729. It catered for 40 "young gentlemen" per annum (entering between ages thirteen and sixteen), but did not catch on, and by 1773 its number of pupils had dropped to fifteen. King George III thereupon tried to improve matters by reducing the entry age, shortening the time under training and granting remission of fees for sons of Naval officers. The title was changed in 1806 to the Royal Naval College, buildings were enlarged to accommodate 70 pupils and the staff was increased. It was not a success though, and was closed in 1837. Later, the buildings became the Navigation School HMS DRYAD, familiarly known as "Nav House". When the Navigation School moved to Wickham, the buildings were used as the mess for officers on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth.
ACID Sailors' slang for sarcasm. Used in the phrase "Don't come the old acid".
ACKERS Naval slang name for any foreign currency. The word comes from Egypt, where beggars use it when pleading for baksheesh (Piastres).
ACTING RABBIT Baked meat pie.
ADMIRAL The word itself is of Arabic origin (Emir-el-Bahr means Lord of the Seas). It came to us through the French and first appears in English records at the end of the 13th Century. Vice-Admiral came into use with the British about 1550, Rear-Admiral about 1600 and Admiral of the Fleet at the end of the 17th Century, apparently first being mentioned in an Order in Council of 1693, dealing with the pay of Flag Officers. "Lord High Admiral"Until 1964, when the Admiralty merged with the other Service Ministries into the new Ministry of Defence, the last holder of this title had been King William IV, when Duke of Clarence about 1827. Queen Elizabeth II became Lord High Admiral when the title was revived on 1st April 1964. "Admiral of the Medway"Courtesy for the Mayor of Rochester."Admiral of the Port of London"Courtesy title for the Lord Mayor of London. "Vice- and Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom"The office of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom is a survival of the ancient office of Lieutenant-Admiral or Lieutenant of the Admiralty, deputy or assistant to the Lord High Admiral, first recorded in the fourteenth century. Appointments were made only spasmodically, and the office was frequently left dormant. The title Vice-Admiral of England was first used in 1672, and in 1684 the new post of Rear-Admiral of England was created. The title of the offices were changed first to Vice-Admiral and Rear-Admiral of Great Britain, following the Parliamentary Union with Scotland in 1707, and then to Vice-Admiral and Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, following the Parliamentary Union with Ireland in 1801. "Honorary Admirals and Lieutenants"It is still the custom to appoint foreigners to be honorary Admirals and Lieutenants in the Royal Navy, but the award is made sparingly. It includes King Frederik of Denmark, King Gustav of Sweden and King Olaf of Norway (Admirals) and HRH Nicholas of Rumania, Charles of Belgium and Prince Juan (Lieutenants). There is no precedent for such an award to a distinguished foreign commoner. It is not impossible for holders to be deprived of the rank, but this is exceptional and is a matter which has to be considered on the merits of each case. A honorary Admiral of the Fleet or honorary Admiral, when visiting HM ships or establishments in Naval uniform, may fly the distinguishing flag of his rank should he desire to do so. When hoisted in the presence of HM ships, the flag is to be saluted as for an Admiral of the Fleet or Admiral (QR para 1208). It costs the Navy Department nothing to bestow the honour. "The Board of the Admiralty"The Board of Admiralty was in existence from 1708. It consisted of eleven members and was served by the Admiralty Divisions of the Naval Staff and by the Admiralty Departments. The Divisions dealt with operative and technical policy, the Departments with the manning of ships and establishments, the provision of ships, aircraft, munitions, weapons, stores, fuel and other goods, equipment and reserve forces, the general organisation and administration of fleets and establishments and the accounting and administration of the moneys voted by Parliament for the purpose. The eleven members of the Board were First Lord, Parliamentary and Financial Secretary, Civil Lord, Permanent Secretary, First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Sea Lords, Vice-Chief of Naval Staff and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. On 1st April 1964, the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence were merged to form a new style Ministry of Defence. The new Ministry is divided into four parts: a Central Department and three Service Departments - the Navy Department, Army Department and Air Force Department. Although the Secretary of State for Defence is responsible for the Ministry of Defence as a whole, there is a Minister of Defence for each Service Department who is responsible to the Secretary of State. Each Minister of Defence is answerable primarily for the affairs of the Service Department to which he is allotted, but is not precluded from speaking, on behalf of the Secretary of State, on matters connected with other parts of the Ministry. The reorganisation of the Ministry of Defence was carried out in order to centralise the administration of the three Services and to improve the control of defence policy, without impairing the efficiency and moral of the fighting Services. Composition of the new Admiralty Board of the Defence Council is: Secretary of State for Defence (Chairman), Ministry of Defence for the Royal Navy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy, Chief of the Naval Staff and First Sea Lord, Chief of Naval Personnel and Second Sea Lord, Controller of the Navy, Chief of Naval Supplies and Transport and Vice-Controller, Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief Scientist (Royal Navy) and Second Permanent Under-Secretary of State (Royal Navy). "The Admiralty Buildings"In Pepys's time the Admiralty Office was the instrument of the Lord High Admiral and the Navy Board carried out its orders. The Admiralty Office did its business in a succession of buildings - the old Palace of Whitehall, Derby House, Whitehall again, Pepys's own house in York Buildings and a house in Duke Street previously occupied by the notorious Judge Jeffreys. In 1695 William III moved the Admiralty Office to Wallingford House in Whitehall after that building has been demolished and rebuilt and (in 1722) demolished again, and on its site the nucleus of the present block of buildings was built. This is what is now known as "Old Building". The Lords of the Admiralty moved in September 1725, but it was not till 1870 that the whole staff of the Navy Office had been transferred from Somerset House. Ripley was the architect of the building and Robert Adams of the screen before Main Courtyard. West Block was completed in 1895. The wrought iron and bronze gates in Admiralty Arch, across the Mall, were designed by Sir Aston Webb and are the largest of their kind in the British Isles. The Admiralty was built in 1910.
ADRIFT This is the accepted Naval word for anyone or anything that cannot be found when it is wanted.
HM SUBMARINE AFFRAY Was lost in the English Channel 17th April 1951, ten miles south of St Catherine's Point.
AGGIE WESTON The late Dame Agnes E. Weston founded the Royal Sailors' Rest Hostels at Devonport, Portsmouth and Chatham. These hostels were run on club lines and although strictly temperance, wee very popular. A slightly religious atmosphere prevails. Created DBE in 1918, Dame Agnes Lived at the Royal Sailors' Rest at Portsmouth. She died on 23rd October 1918.
The charity now provides Chaplaincy Support Workers who give invaluable support to Naval Personnel alongside chaplains in shore bases and training establishments.
A1 The accepted synonym for first-class. In Lloyd's Register, A1 is the mark of a wooden ship of the first class, A referring to the quality of her hull and "1" to the quality of her equipment.
AIGUILLETTES Said to be the descendants of horse picketing pegs, kept by the ADC to Senior officers and worn over the shoulder so that ADC could be easily distinguished. Worn in the Army long before they came into the Navy in 1879. Royal aiguillettes are plain gold, Naval aiguillettes are gold and blue. Flag Lieutenants and Admirals' Secretaries wear aiguillettes on the left shoulder, other wearers of Naval aiguillettes wear them on the right shoulder.
THE ALBERT MEDAL The Albert Medal was instituted by Queen Victoria on 7th March 1866 in memory of HRH Prince Albert (who died 1861), for heroic action in saving life from shipwreck and other perils of the sea. It is pre-eminent among non-military British awards for personal gallantry. It is now only awarded posthumously. The ribbon (dark blue, with two white stripes) was worn after decorations, but before all other medals. In the period of 1856-1938, 532 Albert Medals were awarded as against 1,160 Victoria Crosses.
ALL STANDING To bring a person or thing up "ALL STANDING" is to bring him or it to a sudden, unexpected stop.
ALOFT This comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "alofts" meaning "on high".
ALTMARK The German naval supply ship (Captain Heinrich Dau) used as a prison ship for personnel of merchant ships taken by the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee during October-December 1939. Boarded in Josing Fjord, South Norway, by a party of two officers and 30 ratings under Lieutenant Commander B.T. Turner from HMS COSSACK (Captain Philip Vian) on 16th February 1940. All 305 British Merchant Navy officers and men (including 67 Lascars) held prisoner in the ALTMARK were rescued to the cry of "Come on up, the Navy's here!" and taken to LEITH in the COSSACK. The prisoners came from the ships NEWTON, BEECH, ASHLEA, HUNTSMAN, TREVANION, AFRICA SHELL, DORIC STAR, TAIROA and STREONSHALH and many of them had been imprisoned in the ALTMARK for over two months. The GRAF SPEE had also taken the CLEMENT, but none of her crew was in the ALTMARK. See "The Navy's Here" by Frishchauer and Jackson, 1955.
HMS AMETHYST Driven ashore in the Yangtse on 20th April 1949 and escaped down the river on 30th/31st July 1949.
TO SWALLOW THE ANCHOR To leave the Navy for good - implying that one has no further use for the implement one has for so long trusted.
ANDREW MILLER OR THE ANDREW Slang name for the Royal Navy. It comes from a very zealous Press Gang officer of the name of Andrew Miller, of whom it was commonly said that he pressed so many men into the Navy that it was practically his own property.
THE RIGHT OF ANGARY The right, recognised in international law, of a belligerent to seize for his own use the shipping of a neutral power, in proved necessity.
ANGEL (1) An Old English gold coin, first coined in 1465 (when it was worth 6s 8d), last coined by King Charles I. It was originally a new issue of the Noble, and has as its device a figure representing St Michael and the dragon. (2) A measurement of 1,000 ft in height, used in the Air Combat Code. "Flying Angel"Slang name for the Missions to Seamen - from the device portrayed on the Mission's Flag.
ANTIGUA From the 17th Century, English Harbour, Antigua, was Britain's main Naval base in the Caribbean and, to make the opening of the new Lord Nelson's Dockyard at Antigua on 14th November 1961, the Admiralty Board sent a message of best wishes. Two special stamps were issued, with a view of the dockyard, bearing the words "Nelson's Dockyard Restoration, 14th November 1961) and the Admiralty presented a bust of Nelson (previously standing in the First Lord's room at the Admiralty) to the English Harbour Museum.
ANZIO The landing at Anzio (Operation SHINGLE) was made on 22nd January 1944.
HMS APHRODITE Ship-name of the Royal Naval Headquarters in Cyprus.

"HMS Ariel" HMS Ariel was a shore establishment commissioned at Worthy Down near Winchester, Hants. in July 1952, having come south from Warrington, Lanc. HMS Ariel was the Air Electrical School of the Navy, all nine previous were sea going ships. The Royal Naval Air Station Lee-on-Solent was named HMS Ariel from October 1959 then reverting to HMS Daedalus October 1965. The school was transferred to HMS Sultan, Gosport, Hants on Daedalus closure.The name is preserved as Ariel wing, part of the Daedalus building at HMS Sultan which is made up of six wings, named after past Naval Air Stations or Fleet Air Arm Establishments, each wing carries out training or provides facilities. Previously, RNAS Worthy Down was HMS Kestrel - the ship which Lord Haw-Haw so proudly reported, wrongly, as having been sunk during the 1939-45 War. The German WW1 U-boat U12 has been found off Eyemouth. The submarine was sunk by HMS Ariel.

ARISINGS In the dockyard world, arisings are the product of the breaking up of unserviceable returned stores. Arisings also covers pieces of material left over from a job, which are of value either intrinsically or as scrap. The appropriate phrases are "Brought to Arisings" or "Brought to Produce".
ARM "To Arm the Lead"There is a small cavity in the bottom of a sounding lead: to "Arm the Lead" is to put tallow in this cavity. The object of doing this is so that a sample of the sea bottom adhering to the lead may be brought up for inspection.
ARMADA "The Defeat of the Spanish Armada"Latter half of July 1588 in English Channel. The Spanish force consisted of about 120 ships (total tonnage about 58,000 tons, 2,500 guns, 19,000 soldiers and 8,000 seamen) under the Duke of Medina Sidonia. The British forces available numbered about 150 craft of all sorts (say 29,000 tons in all and 12,000 men) under Lord Howard, with Drake and Hawkins. Defeat largely due to Spanish inefficient seamanship in rough weather. Drake's famous game of bowls was played on Plymouth Hoe on 19th July 1588. The Armada Memorial is on Plymouth Hoe. It bears the words "He blew with his winds and they were scattered".
ARMAMENT "Ship's Armaments in Tudor Times" TypeBore / insProjectile / lbsPosition Cannon 860Lower Deck Demi-cannon6¾ 33? Lower Deck Cannon Petro64? Lower Deck Culverin 5?17? Main Deck Demi-culverin29?Main Deck Saker3?5?Superstructure Minion3?4Superstructure Falcon2?2Superstructure Falconet 21?Superstructure Rabinet12Superstructure Smaller pieces then in vogue were Port-piece halls, Port-piece chambers, Fowler halls, Fowler chambers and Curtalls; many of these were mounted on the poop and forecastle, pointing inboard so that they could be effective for use against boarders. "Cannon of Seven" were the biggest guns installed in the Loyal London 1866; These were of 7-inch bore and fired a 42 lb. shot.
ARNO (THE ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED NAVAL OFFICERS) An association of retired commissioned RN and RM officers, with the object of generally assisting its members in every possible way. It acts as an employment agency; assists members in matters connected with pensions, insurance, emigration, children's education, etc.; obtains expert advice or opinion on a variety of subjects great or small; puts members in touch with certain distinguished medical, surgical, financial and legal gentlemen at reduced fees; awards a number of educational grants to members' children; extends to widows and dependants of members all benefits, financial or otherwise, that are available to members. Founded 1925.
ASCENSION ISLAND 7o 56' South and 14o 24' West; 700 miles north-west of St Helena; 35 square miles. Historians disagree who discovered it - Juan de Nova (1501) or Albuquerque (1503) or Grisalva (1518). Said to be named Ascension because discovered on Ascension Day. Dampier shipwrecked there 1699. (The Island's only water supply is still called Dampier's Springs); Captain Cook called there 1775. When Napoleon was banished to St Helena in 1815, HM Sloops PERUVIAN and ZENOBIA were sent to Ascension to forestall its use as a rescue base. They arrived 22nd October 1815 and took possession of the island for Great Britain. The island was commissioned as a sloop of war in 1816, with a complement of 65; this number was reduced to a small garrison of Marines on Napoleon's death in 1821, born on the books of the depot ship (TORTOISE (1844/59) MEANDER (1859-65), FLORA (1865-72), berthed at Ascension; thereafter on Simonstown Base books and for a while on Gibraltar books) until 1922, when the island was taken over by the Governor of St Helena as a dependency of that island.
ASDIC (SONAR) The underwater submarine detector device, worked on the echo-sounding principle. The hunting ship sends a sound wave through the water; when it strikes an underwater object, this sound wave is returned as an echo to its place of origin. The time for this echo to be heard is measured and converted into distance. The word "ASDIC" comes from the initials of the Allied Submarine Detection Investigation Committee, which sponsored the device. The suggestion that it was coined by the Anti-Submarine Department at the Admiralty by using their own initials and - IC for euphony is plausible, but not supported by the facts.
ATOM BOMBS The first atom bomb dropped in anger was at Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and the second was at Nagasaki three days later.
ATOLL One or more low-lying coral islands containing a lagoon.
AVALANCHE The operational code-name for the invasion of Italy in 1943. Initial landings were made at Salerno near Naples on 9th September 1943 in the face of severe opposition. It was not until 25th September that the port of Salerno was tenable by ships. The success of the operation was largely due to the Naval gunfire which held the enemy when it seemed that he would overwhelm the beaches.
AVAST Avast! means Hold! Enough! Finish! It comes from the Italian word "Basta".
AWNING (a) Canvas cover over quarter-deck and other open spaces in ships as protection against the sun. (b) Sailor's slang name for the pastry top to a pie.
AYE AYE The derivation of this is generally thought to be unknown, but some experts think it may possibly come from the German "Eiey!" - an exclamation of astonishment or admiration.