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Labour - Lutine
LABOUR "To Labour"A ship is said to labour when she pitches and rolls heavily in rough weather.
LADY "The Lady of the Gunroom"The name given to the man (originally the Gunner's night watchman in the gun room, who also kept the gun room tidy) who assisted the gun room steward as pantry-hand. In early days, the lady's storeroom was beneath the gun room, and was known as the "Lady's ...".
LAGOON An area of water enclosed, or nearly enclosed, by a reef or atoll.
LANDING CRAFT "Landing Craft Abbreviations" LBELand barge, emergency repairLORLanding craft, rubber LBKLanding barge, kitchenLCSLanding craft, support LBOLanding barge, oilerLCTLanding craft, tank LBVLanding barge, vehicleLCVLanding craft, vehicle LBWLanding barge, water LSCLanding ship, carrier LCALanding craft, assaultLSDLanding ship, dock LCCLanding craft, controlLSELanding ship, emergency repair LCELanding craft, emergencyLSFLanding ship, repair fighter direction LCFLanding craft, flakLSGLanding ship, gantry LCGLanding craft, gunLSHLanding ship, headquarters LCHLanding craft, headquartersLSILanding ship, infantry LCILanding craft, infantryLSMLanding ship, medium LCMLanding craft, mechanisedLSPLanding ship, personnel LCNLanding craft, navigationLSTLanding ship, tank LCPLanding craft, personnelLVTLanding vehicle, tracked LOQLanding craft, administrationLVWLanding vehicle, wheeled Letters in brackets denote: (A)rmoured (N)ested (C)ommand (P)ersonnel (H)and hoisting (R)ocket or Ramped (L)arge (S)mall (M)edium (T)ower
LARGE "By and Large"A nautical expression, now in common use, meaning "Broadly speaking". Nautically it means to sail a boat by the wind (i.e. to weather), but large (i.e., not very close to the wind).
LASH "Lash Up" (1) Verb .. naval slang for to stand treat - from the old expression of friendship by lashing up a friend's hammock for him. (2) Adjective .. naval slang applied to something extemporised.
LAUNCH "Launching Ceremony"The breaking of a bottle of wine on the bows of a warship during the launching ceremony has not always been the custom. Before 1690 the ship's health was drunk from a silver cup which, after use, was thrown into the sea. After that date this custom was discontinued, as a measure of economy, and that of the present day introduced. Until 1811 the launching ceremony was always performed by a royal personage or a dockyard commissioner, but in that year the Prince Regent suggested that a lady should have the honour - a custom that remains to this day. The custom of securing the bottle of wine to a lanyard is said to have originated because of an accident in which a lady performing the launching ceremony threw the bottle at the bow of the ship, but, missing, hit a spectator, who received serious injury and sued the Admiralty for damages. It has been suggested that the practice of splashing a new ship's bows with wine is a relic of the splashing with blood arising from the old Norse practice of launching a ship over the bodies of sacrificial victims (Cf. I Kings XVI, 34).
LEAD "Red Lead"A sailors' slang name for tinned tomatoes. "Lead Line Markings"These are of great antiquity, in practically the same form as today for over 300 years: 2 fm2 leather13 fmblue serge 3 fm3 leather15 fmwhite duck 5 fmwhite duck17 fmred bunting 7 fmred bunting20 fm2 knots 10fmleather with hole
LEADING "Leading Seaman"This rating was introduced into the Navy in 1853, see KILLICK.
LEAF The traditional sailor's pronunciation of the word LEAVE: the Army word Furlough is never used in the Navy.
LEAGUE An obsolete measurement of three nautical miles
LEATHER "Leatherneck"Another naval slang name for a Royal Marine; it is derived from the small piece of leather sewn in the collar of the Marines' dress tunic. A synonym is "Bootneck".
LEE "To get to Leeway of"To get on the wrong side of someone.
LEG "Show a Leg"In the days when women used to be allowed to sleep on board they were allowed to lie in and the call "Show a leg" was made to see that it really was a woman who was enjoying the privilege. The old cry was "Show a leg or else a purser's stocking". see ROUSE
LETTER "King's Letter Boys"The earliest form of naval cadet, lasting from 1676 to 1731, these lads (less than 16 years of age) were sent to sea bearing a letter from the King who made himself responsible for their pay (£24 per year). Their official name was Volunteers; they were rated Midshipman after a few years at sea. The last King's Letter Boy was George Brydges Rodney who went to sea in 1731. The Naval Academy at Portsmouth was opened in the summer of 1733 because the old system of King's Letter Boys was not enabling the lads to learn their profession.
LEVANTER A strong easterly wind in the Mediterranean. The name is associated chiefly with Gibraltar.
LIEUTENANT The first reference to a naval Lieutenant is in 1580 when one was borne in each ship as the Captain's understudy. The word is pronounced L'TENANT in the Royal Navy, LEFTENANT in the Army, and LOOTERNANT in the U.S. Navy. "Lieutenant-Commander"This rank was introduced in 1914, though the extra half stripe had been the distinguishing mark for Lieutenants of more than 8 years: seniority since 1877. "Lieutenant of the Admiralty"The Lieutenant of the Admiralty (or Lieutenant-Admiral) is first found in about the middle of the XIV century, as the Deputy or Assistant to the Lord High Admiral. In 1546, when the Navy Board was created, the Lieutenant of the Admiralty was appointed as its Head, but this ceased in 1564 when the Treasurer of the Navy became the Head of the Board. The post was revived in 1604 when it appears to have been given as a mark of honourable distinction - with a salary of £100p.a., two clerks and certain travelling expenses. In 1672 the post of Lieutenant of the Admiralty was merged into that of Vice-Admiral of England (of the United Kingdom after 1801). "Sub-Lieutenant"This rank was introduced in May, 1861, to supersede that of Mate for Midshipmen passed for Lieutenant. But in December, 1804, an Order in Council authorised it as a post title for the second in command of all Brigs commanded by a Lieutenant.
LIFEBOAT "The Royal National Lifeboat Institution"Lifeboats in the United Kingdom are maintained by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This Institution depends entirely on voluntary subscriptions for its funds, and very largely on voluntary workers for its administration
LIGAN Sunken cargo or gear which has been thrown overboard and buoyed. It remains the property of the owners: if not claimed it becomes the property of the Crown.
LIGHT "Admiral's Stern Lights"All-round lanterns mounted in the poop or after part of the flag-ship to indicate the presence on board of an Admiral. Flagship of a Rear-Admiral shews 1 light; of a Vice-Admiral 2 lights; of an Admiral or an Admiral of the Fleet, or the Monarch, 3 lights. In King Edward III's reign it was declared that the King's ship at night was to be distinguished by 3 lanthorns arranged aft as a shallow triangle: in the King's absence, his deputy was to shew the same 3 lights. An Admiral's flagship was to shew 2 lights and a Vice-Admiral's 1 (unless the Admiral was the King's official deputy when he would have 3 lights). "Northern Lights"The Aurora Boralis. "Southern Lights"The Aurora Australia. "Starboard Light"Ward room slang name for Creme de Menthe. "Lightships"The first light vessel to be established in England was placed at the Nore at the entrance to the Thames, in 1732. "Lightning Conductors"Officers' slang name for their full dress uniform trousers which have (had) a broad stripe of gold lace running the length of the outside seams. Sometimes alternatively referred to as "Brass pants" or "Brass bound breeches".
LIME "Limey"The American slang name for a British sailor - from the lime juice ordered by the British Merchant Shipping Act to be issued to the crews of British ships as an anti-scorbutic. "Lime and Lemon" A good thirst-quencher popular in Malta - lime juice cordial in fizzy lemonade.
LINE "Crossing the Line"The LINE is the equator and the traditional ceremonies are almost always performed when one of H.M. ships crosses the line. King Neptune, his Queen (Amphitrite) and Court "come on board" and, after sundry speeches, officiate at the canvas swimming bath. All who have not previously crossed the line are lathered, shaved, dosed with a pill and then precipitated into the bath, there to be ducked by the 'bears'. This is perhaps a relic of some age-old semi-religious ceremony. Those who have crossed the line and participated in the ceremonies are invariably awarded a "Crossing the line certificate", worded something like this - "Whereas by Our Imperial Condescension we give this as a Royal Patent under our sign manual to certify that the under-mentioned person has this day visited Our Royal Domains on board Her Majesty's Cruiser So-and-so and has received the ancient requisite initiation and form necessary to become one of Our Loyal Subjects, We recommend all sharks, dolphins, whales, eels, etc., under Our Command, to abstain from eating, playing with, or otherwise maltreating him. And we further direct all sailors, soldiers, marines, globetrotters, etc., who have not crossed Our Royal Domains to treat him with that respect due to one who has visited us. Given at Our Court on the Equator in Longitude so-and-so this blank day of blank." For a fully detailed account of the procedure (as enacted in H.M.S. NEW ZEALAND in May, 1919) see the annual publication of the Sports Control Board "Sports and Recreations in the Royal Navy".
LION "Lion's Neck"Ginger ale laced with rum.
LLEWELYN "The Commander Llewelyn Prize"Founded 1917 in memory of Commander R.H. Llewelyn who was killed in action on board H.M.S. QUEEN MARY at the battle of Jutland, 31st May, 1916. The interest on a sum of money presented by his relations is employed in providing a prize which is awarded, at the discretion of the Captain, H.M.S. EXCELLENT, to the seaman who passes the best examinations in gunnery subjects when qualifying for Gunnery Instructor.
LLOYD "Lloyd's Register of Shipping"An organisation (distinct from Lloyds Corporation of Underwriters) which surveys and classifies ships with particular regard to their safety and operational efficiency. Lloyds Register will accept responsibility for surveying and giving technical advice on vessels of all flags from the initial stages of building, at regular intervals during their service, and after casualties. A satisfactory Lloyds classification is a guarantee to an underwriter that he may accept the risk of a vessel, and this forms a strong link between the Register and the Corporation of Lloyds.
LOGGERHEADS "To be at Loggerheads"To be at loggerheads is to be bad friends even if not actively quarrelling. The expression comes from the instrument used for heating pitch for paying the seams of a ship's decks - two large iron spheres one at each end of an iron bar. One of the spheres was heated and then put in the pitch bucket to melt the pitch. Thus the two loggerheads were always apart, and, also, a hot loggerhead was a thing to keep away from.
LONG "One Long Coal Ship"An old naval expression signifying anything dreary or monotonous. This expression largely disappeared from the Navy soon after the use of oil fuel became general."Long Haired Chum"A sailors' name for a girl-friend. "A Long Ship"An officers' slang expression applied to a lengthy interval between drinks or to slowness in showing hospitality. "Long Tom"A paint brush lashed to the end of a long pole, used for painting places difficult of access.
LOOKSTICK A slang name for a Telescope; a synonym sometimes heard is a "Bring 'em near".
LORD Sea LordThe title of Sea Lord for the naval members of the Board of Admiralty was reverted to in 1905; for a time prior to then the Sea Lords had been known as Naval Lords - Senior, Second, Third and Junior.
LOSING "Losing the number of your mess"An old naval expression meaning to die.
LOT "Lot's Wife"Sailors' slang name for table-salt (from Genesis XIX.26).
LS & GC "Long Service and Good Conduct Medal"Awarded to ratings of R.N. and R.M. with fifteen years' pensionable service with continuous Very Good character (usually referred to by ratings as "fifteen years undetected crime"). The man must be recommended both at the time of the award and for the three consecutive years beforehand. Gratuity of £20 is payable on award of medal and a further sum accumulates for payment with first instalment of pension. The medal was instituted in 1830 and its application was extended to the W.R.N.S. in 1954 (under same conditions as R.N. except that the gratuity is £15). The ribbon is dark blue with two vertical white stripes - commonly referred to as the "Blue Peter".
LUBBER "Lubber's Hole"The opening or hatchway in the deck of the tops on sailing ships' masts, provided as a means of access to the tops for those 'lubbers' afraid to climb up via the futtock-shrouds. "Lubber's Line"The mark on the binnacle which is brought to meet the desired point on the compass-card. So called because a 'real' seaman can do without it.
LURK "To Lurk"Originally, to 'lurk' someone was to impose on his kindness to do something for you. Nowadays the word is merely a naval synonym for to 'detail' someone for a job, though it implies that the job is one for which no volunteers are forthcoming. "Lurk Book"A record kept in some wardrooms of official parties, etc., and the officers who have attended them; kept with the basic idea of apportioning unwelcome duties fairly.

"Lutine Bell"The French frigate LA LUTINE (launched at Brest, 1785) was captured at Toulon by us in 1793 and renamed H.M.S. LUTINE. In 1799 she was employed carrying about £1,125,000 in bullion and money from England to Cuxhaven. In a heavy gale the ship was driven ashore on one of the Dutch Friesian Islands and sank with only one survivor. Salvage operations extended over many years but over £1,000,000 remained unsalved. The ship's bell which was recovered is engraved "ST. JEAN - 1799" and it is not known how this came to be in the LUTINE. It now hangs in the rostrum of the Under-writing Room at Lloyds and is rung to give warning of an important announcement being made. (e.g. a ship overdue).