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Half - Hymnal
HALF "Better Half"Common slang name for a wife; she is sometimes referred to as one's "improper fraction", but usually in the ward room as one's Madam. "The Half Deck" The lobby space or 'flat' (between decks) giving access to the Captain's cabin. "Half Deck Sentry"The sentry posted over the ship's main keyboard which is sited in the half-deck. He also has charge of the rum breaker between the breaker being filled and the grog issued. "The Other Half"Common slang name for a return drink. This is an expression seldom used in the ward room, where one has or is offered a drink, not another drink. "Half Pay"Half the rate of full pay in issue on the day before an officer is placed on Half-pay, together with half the rate of Marriage Allowance and Flying Pay which has then in issue. The rate of half-pay for an officer who held acting rank is half his substantive rank's pay, not half his acting rank's pay. This procedure covers all classes of officers. Officers are only placed on half pay for disciplinary reasons, e.g. after dismissal from ship by sentence of Court-Martial. "Half Whites"An official uniform dress (seldom worn except in a heat wave in England or on the stage) consisting of white trousers, socks and shoes with normal blue uniform above.
HAMBONE Nautical name for a Sextant.
HAMMOCK Just as his rifle is described as a soldier's best friend, his hammock is described as a sailor's best friend. When properly lashed up, a sailor's hammock will support a man in the sea for 24 hours. It is said that the use of the hammock on board ship was introduced by Aloibiados, who commanded the Athenian fleets war in about B.C. 450; Christopher Columbus is also credited with the introduction, having found (in 1493) that the natives at San Salvador slept in cotton nets (called 'hamaca') suspended between two trees. Hammocks were introduced into the Royal Navy in about 1600. The hammock campbed (which can be simply converted from a hammock to a camp-bed or vice (versa) was introduced in 1954."Hammock Ladder"A naval mythological creature. see GOLD. "Time to sling one's hammock""Time in which to sling one's hammock" is the naval way of describing the period of time - usually 24 hours - given to many officers and ratings in which to find their way about on joining a ship or taking up a new appointment."Up all Hammocks"Many people may have thought it strange that, in the morning when hammocks are required to be taken down, the pipe is "Up all hammocks" and in the evening when hammocks are to be up on the hooks or bars, the pipe is "Down all hammocks". This order originates from the days when hammock nettings (storages) were situated on the upper deck, along the bulwarks between the quarter-deck and the forecastle. Therefore hammocks had to be taken up on deck to be stowed and brought down to be hung up. A number of the older battleships and cruisers which took part in the Great War, 1914-1918, were fitted thus.
HAND Sailors on board are usually referred to as "The Hands" - in the singular as "One Hand". This is said to come from the expression "One hand for yourself and one for the King" used to men working aloft in the days of sail.
HANDRAULIC Naval slang epithet for work done by hand. A somewhat cynical reference to the absence of mechanical assistance, which was hydraulic before reliance was more generally placed on electricity.
HANDY "Handy Billy"Naval name for a small general-purpose tackle.
HANKY "Hanky Panky"Brandy (or whisky) and ginger wine - a comforting drink when one has a cold.
HANDSOMELY Naval word meaning slowly or with caution, the opposite to ROUNDLY.
HANGER A Hanger was a light sword about 2? feet long worn slung from a leather belt over the right shoulder. It was the official weapon of the Midshipman from about 1790, before the introduction of the proper dirk. see DIRK
HANGING "Hanging on Board"The last occasion when a death sentence was carried out in one of H.M. ships was 13th July 1860, when Private John Dalinger, R.M., was hanged at the yardarm of H.M.S LEVEN in China (Talienwan Bay). He had been charged with attempting to murder his Captain.
HARMONY "Harmony Row"The name in the Navy for the row of houses in or near a naval dockyard provided as official residences for the principal officers (naval and civil) of the dockyard.
HARNESS "Harness Cask"The tub in which salt meat was soaked before being cooked in order to extract the brine in which the meat had been pickled; also known as STEEP TUB. The tub was in the charge of the cook whose duty it was to take adequate precautions for its safety on the onset of bad weather. The name is said to have been introduced by cynics of early days either because they felt the harness was the only part of the horse not in the tub, or else from the leathery nature of the meat.
HAWK Upper Yardmen's Training Establishment, 1895-55.
HAWSE "To come up through the hawse pipe"An old naval slang expression meaning promotion from the lower deck. Officers so promoted were sometimes known as Hawse Pipe Officers.
HEAD "The Head"Naval name for latrines - originally sited in the extreme bow - or head - of the ship. The rating responsible for their general cleanliness is the CAPTAIN OF THE HEADS.
HERBACEOUS "Herbaceous Border Class"Irreverent name given to the slopes of the Flower class built in the 1914/18 war.
HIPE Slang name for a rifle - from the phonetic spelling of the word "Arms" as pronounced by many drill instructions. see BUNDOOK
HOG "To Hog Out"A naval expression meaning to scrub or clean thoroughly. It comes from the name (hog) of the special brush made of birch twigs provided in bygone days for cleaning a sailing ship's bottom.

"Hogging and Sagging"Unfair strains and stresses are set up in a ship's structure when part of her hull is unsupported. When waves are supporting the bows and stern of a ship but not her amidships part (i.e., when the hull tends to assume a concave shape), the ship is said to be sagging: when the amidships part is supported but not the extremities (i.e., when the hull tends to become convex), the ship is said to be hogging

HOLIDAY Naval name for a gap, such as an area on a ship's side left unpainted, or a space on a clothes line between pieces of linen hung out to dry.
HONKYDONKS "Marine's Honkydonks"A sailor's name for the shore service boots worn by Royal Marines; his own he refers to as "Pussers crabs". Similarly he may describe a Royal Marine's boots, but not his own, as "Beetle-crushers".
HONOURS "Honours and Awards"Persons are awarded medals and decorations: they are appointed to Order and are promoted within Orders.
HOOP "To go through the Hoop"To go through the hoop is to undergo an ordeal. From the old practice in some ships of passing hammocks through a hoop gauge to check that they were of uniform size and appearance before allowing them to be stowed in the hammock nettings.


The Navy cheers Hooray not Hurrah.
HORSE "Horse Box"The general naval name for the mess on board a ship where the Sergeant-Major R.N. and other Royal Marine Sergeants mess.

"Flogging a Dead Horse"Flogging or working a dead horse is doing something for nothing. It is a merchant navy term, a 'dead horse' being a slang term used to refer to an advance of pay given to seamen before commencing voyages in order that they may buy clothing etc., required on the trip. Thus, 'working a deadhorse' meant working for the first month without pay since that had already been drawn and spent. At the expiration of the first month of the voyage it was at one time customary to hoist in the rigging a canvas effigy of a horse.

"Horse's Neck"

Brandy and ginger ale; if rum is used instead of brandy, the name is LION'S NECK - an old name for this drink was W.O's Champagne.

"Salt Horse"Naval slang name for an executive officer who has not specialised in gunnery, navigation, TAS, signals, etc.
HOUSE "The Mad House"Officer's slang name for the Admiralty offices in Queen Anne's Mansions, London. "Housewife"The wallet containing needles, thread, buttons, pins, etc., included in every sailor's (optional) kit. Housewives can be brought from the slop room. Pronounced (and sometimes spelt) HUSSIF
HUGGER "Hugger-Mugger"An old naval word meaning slovenly, confused, muddled.
HULL "Hull Colours of HM Ships"Prior to the 1939/45 war, H.M. ship's hulls were painted different colours in different stations (e.g. light grey in the Mediterranean, dark grey in the Home Fleet, darker grey in the Reserve fleet, white on the East Indies, light grey on the China station). The 1953 peacetime rule is that on all stations (including ships in reserve) all H.M. ships except submarines are to be painted light grey; other exceptions are ships permanently allocated to the Persian Gulf white, surveying ships white, the Royal Yacht dark blue with 5?" gold band. Hospital ships are white with green band and red crosses: troopships are white with blue band. 14' sailing dinghies are varnished, not painted; Commanders-in-Chief's barges are green; other flag officers' barges dark blue; the colour of all other boats is at the discretion of the ship's Commanding Officer (subject to approval of Senior Officer) - normally grey.
HUNGRY "The Hungry Hundred"The affectionately offensive name given to batches of R.N.R. officers transferred to the R.N. in the 1890's and later in 1912 and 1957 other batches were similarly called the Hungry-Half-Hundred, the Starving Fifty and the Thirsty-Thirty.
HURRAH CheeringThe Navy cheers Hooray not Hurrah.

"Hurrah's Nest"An old naval name for a tangle of ropes and gear.


"The English Hymnal"The English Hymnal was introduced into the Navy - superseding Hymns Ancient and Modern - in 1927.