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Cable - Curry
CABLE A cable equals one-tenth of a sea mile - 608 ft. The length of a ship's hempen anchor cable was formerly 101 fathoms. 100 fathoms = 1 cable 10 cables = 1 nautical mile (very nearly)
CAD "CAD's Corner"Unofficial name given to that part of the wardroom dinner table (as far distance from the Mess President as is practicable) where the younger and/or more exuberant spirits are wont to gather for dinner, there to sail as close to the wind in their conversation and general behaviour as they dare.

"Naval Cadet"The name was officially endorsed in 1843, replacing the old style "First Class Volunteer" (ex King's Letter Boys), at about which time personal patronage became no longer as essential for the would-be embryo Naval officer. Entry was then between ages 11 and 25; in 1849 age limits of 12 to 14 were laid down and these continued, except for a short period at the end of the 19th Century when 14 to 15 was in force. 1903 - age 12?; 1913 - age 13?. In 1913 "Special Entry" at age about 18 was introduced and ran concurrently with the 12-14 entry; the latter was changed to 16-year-old entry in 1948. Entry at 16 was terminated in 1954 (last 16-year-old entry joined RNC Dartmouth in January 1955) leaving 18 years old as the sole cadet entry age. RNC Osborne came into being in September 1903 and RNC Dartmouth in 1905. After serving as a junior college to Dartmouth for some years, Osborne was closed in 1923. Thereafter cadets entered Dartmouth at age about 13 and served eleven terms there before starting sea training at about 17. 16-year-old entries did six terms (2 years). Until 1941, Dartmouth was in effect a specialised public school and full fees were paid by parents. A scholarship scheme was introduced in 1941, culminating in 1948 in free tuition and board and parents paying a maximum of -90 per annum.

CAKE "Chinese Wedding Cake" Sailors' slang name for rice pudding with currants or raisins in it.

"The Callianti Stroke"

A long, slow rowing stroke, in which the rowers rise from their thwarts with each stroke.

CAN "To Take the Can Back"Common slang expression meaning to be blamed for the acts or faults of another. The expression may have arisen from the custom in some dockyards of employing a boy to fetch beer from a local public house; this boy was invariably blamed if accounts were unpaid or cans not returned.
CANAL "Suez Canal"Just short of 100 miles long: started in 1839, it was formally opened at the end of 1869. Ferdinand de Lesseps was the engineer in charge.
PANAMA CANAL Work started in 1881 under de Lesseps, but had to be abandoned - chiefly owing to fevers. Work on a new project was started by the United States in 1904 and the first ocean-going steamer went through in August 1914. Total overall length is 50 miles.
CANISTER "Canister Shot"Iron or tin cylinders, with iron, tin or wood tops and bottoms, filled with bullets packed in sawdust. Formally used as one form of ammunition for muzzle-loading cannon. The fore-runner of "Shrapnel", it was also known as Case Shot.
CANTEEN "Canteen Medals"Naval name for stains down the front of jumper, jacket or coat caused by food or drink.
CAPE "Cape of Good Hope (The Cape)" First rounded by Bartolomeo Diaz in 1487 - though he did not actually sight it then, as he voyaged from the West to East. He proceeded nearly to East London, where his crew forced him to return home. As he rounded the Cape from East to West, he named it Stormy Cape (Cabo Tormatoso) King John II of Portugal renamed it "Cape of Good Hope" (Cabo del Buona Esperanza) lest future seamen should be deterred by Diaz's rather harsh name."Cape Horn" First sighted by Sir Francis Drake in 1578, but named by two Dutch navigators who rounded it in 1666, after the birth place in Holland of one of them. The old sailing ship men called it "Cape Stiff". It used to be said that completion of the journey round Cape Horn entitled an officer to sit in the wardroom with one foot on the table: to have gone round Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope entitled him to sit with both feet on the table (but nothing entitled him to spit to windward!)
CAPTAINS Originally, the Captain of a warship was a courtier or Army officer who embarked in the ship with his soldiers to do the fighting, the sailing of the ship being in the hands of the Naval crew under the Master and the Boatswain. This was changed in the Elizabethan era, when the long sea voyages undertaken made it necessary for the Captain to have a real knowledge of ship handling and not of fighting only. "Post Captains" Where captains of ships of the first six rates only, the commanding officers of which ships were of the substantive rank of Captain: lesser ships had Commanders or Lieutenants in command, who were naturally (and correctly) called Captain while in that job. Thus a Post Captain is a Captain by rank or by job. "Flag Captains" Were first appointed to flag ships in 1677. In the Merchant Navy, the old title of Master still remains, as the Commanding Officer of a Merchant ship is concerned with ship handling and not with fighting. An old custom now dying out is that of giving to a Commander RN the courtesy title of Captain, especially when being introduced to civilians. This custom is said to have originated in 1827 when, after the Napolionic Wars, there was such a large number of Commanders eligible to command frigates and sloops, but surplus to requirements, that they were appointed to larger ships as Second Captains. "Captain of the Heads" The rating in whom is vested the responsibility for the cleanliness of the ratings' latrines."Captain of the Fleet" A Captain of the Fleet is the senior administrative adviser in a Fleet formation.
CAREEN "To Careen"To beach a ship and list her so as to expose her bottom for the marine growth to be scraped off. The word comes from an old French word "Carine" meaning the bottom of a ship.
CARGO "Cargo Bill" An old Naval nickname for a RNR officer when serving in a HM ship.
CARROZZIN The four-wheeled horse cab found in Malta; In Gibraltar, a similar vehicle is called a Gharry. It seats four passengers and the driver gives warning of his approach by clanging a gong. The first Z in the word is pronounced as a T; the final N is not pronounced.
CARVEL "Carvel Built"A "carvel built" boat is one on which the planks of the sides are laid close together without any overlap; in a "clinker-built" boat the planks overlap.
CAREY "Mother Carey's Chickens" Small seabirds, known as Storm(y) Petrels.
CASK "Casks in the Navy" The chines of a cask are the projection of the staves beyond the head. Rum casks have their chines painted red; lime juice casks have their chines lime green; Vinegar casks have their chines white. The bung of a cask is always directly in line with the rivets of any two opposite hoops and so can easily be found in the dark. The belly of a cask is called its bilge. "Contline" is the space between the bilges of casks stowed side-by-side. The "Beds" on which casks are stowed is a gantry; casks properly stowed on the gantry are "Bung up and bilge free", i.e. bungs uppermost and the bilges - thanks to the gantry - clear of the deck. To "bull" a cask is to put a small quantity of fresh water in an empty rum cask, with the aim of thereby obtaining a week grog.
CASUAL "Casual Payment"A payment of wages made to an officer or rating at a time other than a routine payment time; Commonly known as a "casual". Casual payments are recorded in the pay ledger in red ink; routine payments in black.
CAT "Room to Swing a Cat" Common slang expression meaning the space required for any particular job. This does not refer to the domestic animal, but to the Naval cat-o'-nine' tails (The "Cat"). It has been suggested that this phrase came from the name - "Cat" - given to sailing colliers in the Middle Ages and up to the 18th Century. As these ships sailed in hundreds, there must have been great congestion when they anchored at Yarmouth Roads or Gravesend and swung to their anchors, so that the Master of a large craft would naturally condemn a tight anchor berth as "not Big enough to swing a Cat in". Perhaps Dick Whittington's cat was really one of these boats! "Cat is out of the bag" Common slang expression, meaning "The secret is out". From the practice of keeping the Naval cat o' nine tails in a red baize bag and not removing it until the offender was secured to the gratings and there was no possibility of a reprieve.
CAULK (1) To drive oakum into the seams of wooden deck planking etc., to make the whole watertight. After being caulked, deck seams are "paid" with hot pitch. (2) Colloquially, to "caulk" is to have a nap; from the fact that a man who had had a nap on the hot deck could be identified by the pitch marks on his clothes.
CENTRAL STORES Transfer of Naval stores from the separate custody of the Boatswain, Engineer Officer, Gunner, Shipwright Officer and Torpedo Gunner to the centralised custody of the Supply Officer began in September 1919 in HMS WARSPITE. The new system was called "Central store-keeping"; this name was changed to "Naval store-keeping" in 1938.
CHAFFER "To chaffer up"To smarten up, make extra tidy or "tiddly". The expression comes from the shipwrights' bench, where it means to take off the sharp edge of a piece of wood with a chisel.
CHAIN "Chain-Shot"A form of artillery projectile common in sailing ship days. It consisted of two cannon-balls connected by a short length of iron chain and was used to destroy the rigging of ships. A split single cannon-ball whose two halves were connected by chain was call ANGEL-SHOT. "The Chains" The name given to the platforms projecting from the upper deck of a warship either side, abreast the bridge, on which the leadsman stood when heaving the lead.
CHAMBER "Submarine Escape Chamber" Escape locks are built into the structure of a submarine, one forward and one aft. These have watertight doors leading to the submarine and watertight hatches leading direct to the outside of the boat. One or two (not more) men enter the camber and there don their DSEA outfits; their companions outside the chamber (who can see inside it through a window) flood the chamber and the men inside open the hatch when the pressure is equalised. The men in the submarine then close the hatch and drain the chamber before making their escape. This method has the advantage over the Twill Trunk escape method that it does not require flooding of the complete submarine.
CHANCE "To Chance One's Arm"This is a cockneyism of the original expression "to chance one's harm" i.e. to take a risk. The suggestion that this expression means to do something illegal, the punishment for which might involve a reduction in the rating and/or good conduct badges worn on the arm is ingenious but not very probable.
CHAPLAIN "The Chaplain"The Chaplain is usually referred to by ratings as the Padre; officers usually refer to him officially as either the Chaplain or the Padre. In the wardroom, the Chaplain will frequently answer to the names BISH, VICAR, REVERENCE or HOLINESS, just as he may be referred to as the GOD-BOTHERER, the DEVIL-DODGER or the BIBLE-BANGER. The name SKY-PILOT is now seldom heard; FIRE ESCAPE is believed to be an American naval nickname for a Chaplain.
CHARIOT "Chariot Submarines" or "Human Torpedoes"Appeared in the Royal Navy in 1942 - similar to German and Italian devices; 25 feet long; weight 1? tons; cost about -2,200. They carried one 700-lb. charge on their bows; these were fixed to the target. Crew consisted of two men wearing shallow water diving dresses, sitting astride the craft. Electric motors (run off batteries) enabled a speed of 3? knots, surfaced and submerged. These crafts were taken to near their targets in special containers welded to the outsides of proper submarines. Chariots were used in the Mediterranean and Far East; their first successful employment was the sinking of the Italian cruiser ULPIO TRAIANO in Palermo harbour, 3rd January, 1943.
CHARRY The four-wheeled horse-drawn cab found in Gibraltar.
CHASE "To Chase" Naval slang for to hurry.
CHATS The sailors' name for Chatham.
CHATTY An old Naval slang word for dirty, untidy. Most often met in the expression "Happy and chatty".
CHEEKS An old nickname (now quite obsolete) for the Royal Marines, derived from the looping up of the tails of their coats.
CHEER On all formal occasions, the Navy cheers HOORAY, not HURRAH, and the cheers are called for with three HIPS. On informal occasions (e.g. end of football match), two HIPS are normal, given by all the members of the team.
CHEERFUL "Cheerful, but Subdued"An allusion to the ceremonial drill book giving procedure at Naval funerals as regards the aspect the guard or mourners should assume. The apocryphal gunners mate's explanation was "cheerful because he's going to a better 'ole but subdued because the Commander-in-Chief's looking at you". (or, sometimes, "subdued because he hasn't paid his mess bill").
CHEESY "Cheesy-Hammy-Eggy-Topside" A savoury often met in wardrooms (especially those with Maltese stewards) consisting of a piece of toast spread with melted cheese covered with a slice of grilled ham and surmounted by a poached egg.
CHEF Sailors' nickname for the senior Cook rating on board.
CHEST "The Chatham Chest"Seamen hurt and maimed in the war against the Spaniards petitioned Queen Elizabeth I for relief: she directed the Lord High Admiral to consider their petition. The outcome was that in 1588 the "Chest at Chatham" was established: the income of this fund was a levy of 6d per month from the wages of all officers and ratings of the Fleet (with their agreement) and was expended on pensions to the maimed or wounded, the amounts of pensions depending on the extent of the injuries. In 1704 the Lord High Admiral issued an order to appoint Cooks to HM Naval service, giving preference to "such cripples and maimed persons who were pensioners to the Chest of Chatham". The Chatham Chest was transformed to Greenwich in 1803, when its money was invested in the Consols and its name changed to the Chest at Greenwich. In 1806 a percentage of all Naval prize money was directed to be paid into this fund. The Chest at Greenwich was extinguished in 1814 when its funds were incorporated into Greenwich Hospital funds. The 6d a month levy on officers' and ratings' pay was stopped in 1829 and the 5% of prize moneys transferred to the Treasurer of the Navy for expenditure on Naval pensions. The original iron chest is now preserved at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
CHEW "To Chew the Fat"Naval slang expression for to talk volubly. It is possibly derived from the considerable jaw work involved in chewing the old-time ration meat before the days of refrigerators or canned meat.
CHICKENS "Mother Carey's Chickens" Small seabirds known as Stormy Petrels.
CHINSTAY The dark blue mohair tape worn beneath the chin in order to keep the cap on in windy weather. When not in use it is worn tucked inside the sailor's cap; the chinstay of a peaked cap is of black patent leather, worn just above the peak (and very seldom worn beneath the chin).
CHIPS "Chips, Chippy, Chippy-Chap" The inevitable traditional Naval nickname for a Shipwright, both officer and rating.
CHIT "Beef Chit" Officers' slang name for a menu card.
CHOCK "Chock-a-Block, Chocker"Chock-a-block is an old Naval expression, meaning "Complete" or "Full up"; synonyms were "Two blocks" and "Block and block". It derives from the use of a hauling tackle - when the two blocks of the purchase were touching each other the lower one could obviously be hoisted no further, and so the work was completed. Modern slang has corrupted the expression to "Chocker", meaning "Fed up".
CHOCOLATE Customary naval slang for praise, usually fulsome; its antonym is a Bottle. The words Velma Suchard (rarely any other trade-name) are sometimes satirically used in this connection.
CHOP "Chop-Chop" Chinese pidgin-English for "Hurray up".
CHOPS OF THE CHANNEL Maritime name for the western entrance to the English Channel.
CHOW Chinese word for food; often to be met on the lips of officers and men who have at one time served on the Far East Station.
CHRISTMAS "Christmas Day Customs in the Navy" Mastheads and yardarm tips are decorated with bunches of green foliage; this is done by the Boatswain's party in the dark hours of the night of 24/25 December. Messes and messdecks are decorated with paper streamers, foliage, etc.; a small prize may be awarded to the mess adjudged to have the best decorations. After church service, with carols, messdeck rounds start at about 1100, when the Captain and officers, and perhaps their ladies, visit each mess and exchange seasonal compliments. Up to the nineteen-twenties it was usual for samples of each mess's Christmas fare to be offered to the Captain. The procession is headed by a Boy rating wearing the uniform of the Master-at-Arms, accompanied perhaps by a Bugler dressed a Colour-Sergeant and other ratings dressed as officers (this is clearly a reference to the medieval Lord of Misrule and Boy Bishops). The ship's cook and bakers work very hard and lavish meals are provided. In the afternoon a sporting contest (cricket or football) between officers and ratings often takes place.
CHUCK Naval slang for a demonstration of applause. Enthusiastic supporters of a ship's football team or a regatta boat's crew form a chucking-up party. The expression may originate from the practice of throwing hats in the air when excited. An early form of this word was CHUCKER UP
CHUM "Chummy Ships"Two ships whose crews have struck up a particular friendship for each other.
CIVVY "Civvy Street" Common slang expression meaning civilian life. "Civvies" Common slang name for non-uniform clothes - a word seldom used in the Navy.
CLAKKER Old Naval slang name for the pastry top to a pie; synonyms are CLAGGER and AWNING.
CLEAN "Clean Into"Navalese for to dress oneself in the 'rig' ordered. Thus one used to get the anomalous order to 'Clean into coaling rig'.
CLEW "Clews" The small cords which support the head and foot of a hammock.

"To Fit Double Clews" Naval slang expression meaning to get married. A synonym is "to get spliced".

"To Clew Up" Naval slang expression meaning to bring to an end. In a square-rigged ship. to 'clew up' is to haul up the lower corners of the sails by means of the clew-lines preparatory to furling the sails.
CLINCH "Out to a Clinch"A rope is said to be 'out to a clinch' when all the free part of the rope has run out, only its extreme end remaining inboard, but that end duly secured. A CLENCH is the stout fitting securely attached to the ship's structure to which the inboard end of a cable or hawser is shackled. Metaphorically, to be 'out to a clinch' means that one has reached the limit of one's resources in the field denoted by the context.
CLINKER "Clinker-built"A 'Clinker-built' boat is one the planks of whose sides overlap one another: in a 'Carvel-built' boat, the planks are laid close to each other with no overlap.
CLOAK "Captains Cloak"A reference to the 43rd article of the Naval Discipline Act which, from its very general wording, gives wide scope to the Commanding Officer. The 43rd Article includes the words - "any act, disorder or neglect to the prejudice of good order and Naval discipline ....."
BOAT CLOAK Optional item of uniform for Naval and Royal Marine officers; lined with white satin for Naval, crimson satin for Marine officers. N.B. The cloak properly is a combined coat and cape but this is nowadays very seldom seen and the name is now commonly applied to the cape only. Boat cape for W.R.N.S. officers (same design as the R.N. cape) was approved by the Queen in August, 1954.
CLOTH "Losing the Cloth"If contention arose between master and crew in old days the master was required to remove the tablecloth three times, as a warning, before he turned any or all of the crew off the ship. As there was only one real meal a day then, this appears to have been equivalent to giving three days' notice.
CLUBS Traditional lower deck nickname for the Physical Training Instructor in the Navy - from the crossed Indian clubs forming the badge of his rating.
COANING "Hatch-Coaning"The dwarf watertight 'walls' built on the deck round a hatchway, to prevent water running through the hatch to the compartment beneath. Note the spelling - COMBINGS are the business of hairdressers, not shipbuilders!
COASTGUARD The Coastguard Service ceased to be an Admiralty commitment in 1923.
COAT "Black-Coated Workers" Common slang name for Stewed Prunes.
COCK "A'Cock Bill"An anchor is said to be "a'cock bill" when it is hung up and down ready for letting go. Yards are said to be "a'cock bill" when they are topped at an angle with the horizontal - sign of mourning, otherwise known as "scandalised".
REGATTA COCK The ship which wins (on points) the Mediterranean Fleet annual pulling regatta is awarded the silver chanticleer trophy, known as the "Regatta Cock". On the ship's return to Malta it is usual for a 3-ply wood silhouette of a cock, three or four feet high, to be displayed on the forecastle. On all stations, the ship winning the pulling regatta often wears that evening, at her masthead a (home-made) cock flag.
COCKTAIL "Sick Bay Cocktail"Naval slang name for a draught of sal volatile given to a person who faints which receiving treatment in the sick bay; or, more often, for any form of medicine issued in the sick bay.
COLOURS "Hoisting and Lowering Colours" The present ceremony of hoisting colours (Union Jack at the jackstaff, and White Ensign at the ensign staff) each morning, with a guard and band paraded, was instituted by Lord St. Vincent in 1797 after the mutinies at Spithead and the Nore. At this time it was the routine for colours to be hoisted at sunrise, but in 1844 the time for this ceremony was changed to that now in use - in home waters 0800 from 25th March to 20th September, 0900 from 21st September to 24th March: at 0800 abroad. If an H.M. ship is in a foreign port, or if a foreign warship is in company, the National Anthem of the country or ship concerned is played immediately after the British National Anthem. Colours are lowered at actual sunset time (unless in extreme northern waters where an arbitrary time may be fixed); guard and band are not paraded at sunset unless it is an occasion of special ceremony when the "Ceremonial Sunset" (an exquisite bugle concerto) may be played. At sea the Union Jack is not flown (unless the ship is dressed) and the ensign remains flying day and night. At "Colours" and "Sunset", all officers and ratings on the upper deck face aft (i.e. to the ensign, not to the jack) and officers salute.
COLUMN "Nelson's Column" Height from pavement to crown of hat, 170 ft. 2 ins.; statue is 17 ft. 2? ins. high and weighs about 16 tons; hat is 3 ft . 9? ins. across; sword is 7 ft. 9 ins. long. Statue was carved by Bailey. The light board round the left arm is a copper binding put on there to repair a fracture in the stone. Trafalgar Square was cleared, renamed, enclosed, laid out and completed by 1845. Erection of the column (of Craigleith stone) was begun in 1840 and the statue was finally hoisted into place (in sections) 4/5th November, 1843; cost about £45,000. The bronze leaves and volutes at the top of the column were cast at Woolwich dockyard from cannon recovered from the wreck of the ROYAL GEORGE. It is said that 14 persons had dinner on the top of the column in 1843 before the statue was hoisted into place. The lions are by Sir Edwin Landseer and were unveiled in 1867. The column was cleaned by steeplejacks in 1905, 1919 and 1946.
COMMANDER 200 years ago a Naval lexicographer (William Falconer) defined a Commander as a large wooden mallet used on Sunday occasions in a ship: this definition still applies.
COMMANDING "Commanding Officer"The officer in command of one H.M. ships, whatever his actual rank, is addressed as "The Commanding Officer" (not "Officer Commanding"), except, by tradition, the officers in command of H.M. Ships COLLINGWOOD, DRYAD, EXCELLENT, MERCURY, OSPREY, PHOENIX and VERNON, who are addressed as "The Captain".
COMMISSION "The Naval Officer's Commission" The Naval officer's commission is worded as follows:- By the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom. To ................. hereby appointed a ............... in Her Majesty's Fleet. By Virtue of the Power of Authority to us given by Her Majesty's Letters Patent under the Great Seal, We do hereby constitute and appoint you a ............... in Her Majesty's Fleet. Charging and Commanding you in that rank or in any higher rank to which you may be promoted to observe and execute the Queen's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions for the Government of Her Majesty's Naval Service and all such Orders and Instructions as you shall from time to time receive from Us or from your Superior Officers for Her Majesty's Service. And likewise Charging and Commanding all Officers and Men subordinate to you according to the said Regulations Instructions or Orders to behave themselves with all due Respect and Obedience to you their Superior Officer. Given under our hands and the Seal of the Office of Admiralty this ............ day of ....... 19... in the ..... Year of Her Majesty's Reign. By Command With Seniority of .......... (It is signed by two Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and a Secretary, i.e. a quorum of the board.)
GENERAL SERVICE COMMISSION Instituted March, 1954. To be fixed commission of 18 months (2 years for aircraft carriers) during which ships will not spend more than 12 months overseas at a stretch, the remainder of the time in Home Fleet. In case of aircraft carriers, the 2 years will consist of two annual cycles each of which will consist of 8 months' continuous cruising and 4 months' refitting, giving leave, etc., in the U.K. The scheme applies in the first place to cruiser operational aircraft carriers, DARINGs, destroyers and frigates of the existing Home and Mediterranean Fleets and of the America and West Indies, the East Indies (except Persian Gulf) and South Atlantic Stations. During the G.S.C. commission, officers and men will all remain together.
COMMODORE This title was introduced into the British Navy about 1700. In 1731 the Admiralty tried unsuccessfully to make it a permanent rank, but it seems always to have been a temporary one.
COMPLAIN A block is said to complain when its sheave squeaks.
COMPLEMENT "Ship's Complements in Tudor Times" Ship and Year Tonnage Seamen Soldiers Gunners Total HENRY GRACE DE DIEU (1515) 1000 301 349 50 700 TRIUMPH (1578) 1000 450 200 50 700 TRIUMPH (1603) 1000 340 120 40 500 GREAT BARK (1549) 500 138 138 25 300 BONAVENTURE (1578) 600 160 110 30 300 BONAVENTURE (1603) 600 150 70 30 250 FORESIGHT (1578) 300 120 60 20 200 FORESIGHT (1603) 300 114 30 16 160
COMPLETED: BUILT Ships are built until they are launched: thereafter they are completed.
CONCESSION "Naval Concessionary Rail Tickets" Three free return tickets per year for officers and men going on long leave. Reduced fares (5/7 normal fare - single or return) can be obtained:- Officers - on production of Identity Card Ratings - on production of Pay Book (Identity Card) Officers' wives - on production of Form 01798A. This form is supplied on request by the Admiralty and is valid for six months. Ratings' wives - on production of Allotment Pay Book of Form DNA.855 (obtained from Admiralty). No free leave travel concessions before 1939.
CORKSCREW An old gunroom drink - lime-juice cordial (with water) flavoured with a dash of Angostura bitters. The bitters being "on the house" gave this drink an air of "something for nothing" which appealed to its consumers.
CORNWELL "Boy Cornwell V.C" Jack Travers Cornwell, Boy first class, is the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross. Born January, 1900; joined R.N. 27th July, 1915. Awarded V.C. for remaining at his post as sightsetter at forward 5.5" gun in H.M.S. CHESTER at the Battle of Jutland (31st May, 1916), although mortally wounded, with dead and wounded lying all round him, because "he thought he might be needed". Died of wounds 2nd June, 1916.
CONSCRIPTION The Military Service Acts of 1916 and 1918 did not include the Navy which, until the 1939-45 war, remained a Service of volunteers (except in that, after these Acts were passed, the only way a man of military age could avoid being conscripted into the Army was by, voluntarily, joining the Navy).
CONVOY The protest number of ships ever made up into a simple convoy in the 1939-45 war was 167 - Atlantic Slow Halifax convoy H.M.S. 300, July 1944, this convoy carried one film. Tons cargo without loss.
CONWAY "HMS Conway"Late NILE, second rate, 4375 tons, lent to the Mercantile Marine Service Association and moored at Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, for use as a Merchant Navy training ship. Wrecked in the Menai Straits in April, 1953. The Admiralty later served notice of abandonment of the ship on the Harbour Trust. (This makes the wreck their property and is believed to be the first time in history that one of H.M. Ships has been 'abandoned' in home territorial waters, but the CONWAY was an H.M. Ship in name only.) It was stated in August, 1954, that this abandonment would be reconsidered.
COPENHAGEN "Battle of Copenhagen" 2nd April, 1801. The battle arose out of the resistance of the Armed Neutrality of the North to the right of search. Sir Hyde Parker was in command of the British fleet, with Nelson as his second-in-command. In view of the power of the shore fortresses Parker signalled Nelson to discontinue the action and withdraw, but Nelson put his telescope to his right (blind) eye and "failed to see the signal". Fourteen Danish ships were taken or destroyed.
COPPER "Copper Bottomed" An old Naval slang word meaning of high quality. The bottoms of wooden ships were sheathed with copper to protect them from attack by marine parasites; this was expensive and so could only be afforded by the really well-to-do shipping companies.
CORPORAL "Corporal Punishment" (e.g Flogging) In 1871, Admiralty issued instructions by circular letter (of 18th December, 1871) that corporal punishment was to be inflicted only in cases (1) mutiny and (2) using or offering violence to a superior officer. Circular letter of 16th September, 1879, directed that no Commanding Officer was to award a sentence of corporal punishment exceeding 25 lashes. On 10th January, 1881, a Bill to amend the N.D.A. of 1866 with a view to abolishing corporal punishment was presented to the House of Commons. This was finally withdrawn on 12th July, 1881, but on 3rd August, 1881, Admiralty issued instructions that the power of Command Officers to award corporal punishment was suspended until further orders. Administrative action was taken in 1881 to advise Court-martial convening authorities that corporal punishment was not to be awarded without Admiralty approval - one assumes that Admiralty approval would not be given. Authority to award corporal punishment was finally removed from the Naval Discipline Act by an Order-in-Council dated 29th March, 1949; the only form of corporal punishment which now remains is a maximum of twelve cuts with a cane for Boy ratings. The "cat" itself was a whip with nine lashes; the French name for it was "martinet" (from the Marquis de Martinet, a French Colonel of the 17th Century who was a great disciplinarian). Originally it was made by the victim, but later it was introduced as a ready-made Naval store item.
CORPOSANT Another name for St. Elmo's Fire.
CORPSE "Sewing up a Corpse for Burial at Sea" It is the custom when sewing up a corpse previous to burial at sea for the sailmaker (or other rating doing this job) to put the last stitch through the nose of the corpse. This is done to make certain that the body is indeed a corpse, since it happened once that when the sailmaker inadvertently put his needle through the nose of the body, the alleged corpse suddenly made a move to sit up, the shock of having his nose pierced being sufficient to revive him from his state of catalepsy.
CORTICENE Naval linoleum.
COURT-MARTIAL (Please note this system changed in April 1997). "Notes on Court Martial Procedure" When an offence is committed which the accused's Commanding Officer considers is beyond the scope of his authority to punish (assuming, of course, adequate evidence of guilt) the C.O. applies to the nearest officer holding a commission to convene Courts-Martial (generally the C.-in-C.) for the case to be tried by Court-Martial. A Chief or Petty Officer who is accused of an offence which, if proved, would justify his being disrated as a punishment, has the right to ask to be tried by Court-Martial rather than by his Commanding Officer. In either case, the C.O. submits the facts to the convening authority by letter; this report is called the Circumstantial Letter since it sets out all the circumstances of the case, all of which facts can, to the C.O's mind, be proved in law; on this summary of the facts for the prosecution, the convening authority decides whether a Court-martial is warranted. If the convening authority decides that the facts set out in the Circumstantial Letter do warrant the man's trail by court-martial, he directs - by general signal or in local orders - that a court is to assemble, saying when and where and who is to be the President. A copy of this signal or local orders is displayed on the public notice-board in the offices of the convening authority. The accused is provided with a copy of the charge sheet and of the Circumstantial Letter as soon as possible and in any case at least 24 hours before the Court is to sit. The President of the Court is also supplied with the charge sheet, but not the other members of the Court. The identity of the accused and the nature of the charges is not generally communicated to anyone other than the accused and the President of the Court until the Court assembles. On the morning of the day the Court is to assemble, the President of the Court makes a further general signal announcing the sitting of the Court; a "Rogue's Salute" of one gun is also fired that morning when colours are hoisted (0800 or 0900). The Court is fully open to the public and the Press unless the substance of the charges is secret - i.e. connected with matter on the 'classified' list. The law requires that at least two of H.M. Ships shall be present at the place where the Court is to be held; it can be held on board ship of (since 1915) in a Naval establishment on shore (e.g. R.N. Barracks, Portsmouth, Devonport, Chatham). The members of the Court (minimum 5, maximum 9) must all be executive officers - those officers present in the port immediately junior to the President. The prosecutor is appointed by the convening authority so is the Judge Advocate (a member of the Supply and Secretariat Branch who is experienced in this work and is sometimes a qualified barrister); the accused is given a leaflet setting out the rights of accused persons. The accused can choose his friend, who may be either his divisional officer or some other offer or, if he wishes, a civilian lawyer; if he has expressed no particular wishes an officer is nominated to act as his friend. He may, if he wishes, be assisted by both a civilian lawyer and a Naval officer. The Court is both Judge and Jury. The Judge Advocate advises the Court on matters of the law: the Court is the sole arbiter on matters of fact. The Court decides, on the evidence brought before it, whether or not the charges are proved; if the charges are found to be proved, after hearing evidence of character the Court announces the sentence. This sentence normally takes effect from the moment it is pronounced - it does not require the C.-in-C's confirmation. A Verbatim report of the proceedings is made by a short-hand writer. This verbatim record is subsequently reviewed by the Board of Admiralty with the advice of their legal experts. The Board of Admiralty may quash or reduce the findings and/or sentence (this happens in not more that 5 per cent of cases). The accused also has the right to appeal against the finding to the Court-Martial Appeal Board.
COURT-MARTIAL CLIP The standard paper clip has earned the title 'Court Martial Clip' as it has the unfortunate habit of helping to pick up stray pieces of paper lying on desks. Inevitably this will be a highly important piece of paper, which will result in trouble for the naval Writer. The stapler is seen as the preferable alternative to the paper clip.
COW "Cow Juice" Naval slang for Milk.
COWBOY MEAL Sailors' slang name for bacon and tomatoes.
COXSWAIN Originally the officer ("Sweyne") in charge of a COG - i.e. the Cog's Sweyne.
CRAB "To catch a crab" The generally accepted name for the mishap in rowing when an (inexperienced) oarsman misses the water with the blade of his oar and so, usually, falls backwards off his thwart.
CRACK "Cracking on"Navalese for increasing speed; it is an old sailing ship expression meaning to speed more sails.
CRACKING IT DOWN Sailors' slang for having a nap.
GET CRACKING A modern common slang expression directing the importance of haste; possibly derived from the old sailing ship expression "Cracking on".
CROWN "The Naval Crown"The Naval crown (showing the sterns of one-and-two-halves sailing ships, separated by two square sails) goes back at least to 1746. It is not peculiar to the Royal Navy - it is incorporated in the authorised badge of the Merchant Navy.
THE ROYAL CROWN As portrayed on badges, buttons, etc., the crown of a British male monarch is the Tudor crown (dome-shaped): the crown of a female monarch is the St. Edward's crown (with depression in centre top, and the upper part of a heart in playing-cards).
CRUISER The name comes from CRUSAL, a small fast vessel used by pirates in the Eastern Mediterranean. British Crusiers, by class Launch Class Ships Tonnage Length Main Armament Complement 1860 BLACK PRINCE 2 9210 380 1863 ACHILLES 1 6121 1863 MINOTAUR 2 6621 400 1868 INCONSTANT 1 3978 333 1870 SHAH 1 1873 RALEIGH 1 3210 298 Two 12? ton 1877 IRIS 2 3693 300 1877 SHANNON 1 5100 260 1877 NELSON 2 280 1883 IMPERIEUSE 2 9000 315 Four 9.2" 527 1885 SCOUT 2 1580 Four 4.7" 1885 ARCHER 7 1770 Six 6" 170 1886 RIVERS 4 4050 800 Two 8" 325 1887 ORLANDO 7 5600 300 Two 9.2" 1888 MEDEA 5 2800 265 Six 4.7" 220 1889 BARRACOUTA 4 1580 233 Six 4.7" 160 1890 PALLAS 9 2575 265 Eight 4.7" 200 1890 BELLONA 2 1830 280 Six 4.7" 170 1890 BLAKE 2 9000 375 Two 9.2" 600 1891 EDGAR 9 7350 360 One 9.2" 530 1891 APOLLO 23 3400 300 Two 6" 275 1893 ASTRAEA 8 4360 320 Two 6" 320 1894 DRYAD 5 1070 250 Two 4.7" 120 1895 TALBOT 9 5600 364 Five 6" 430 1895 POWERFUL 2 14200 500 Sixteen 6" 890 1896 ARROGANT 4 5750 320 Ten 6" 480 1897 PELORUS 11 2135 300 Eight 4" 220 1897 DIADEM 8 11000 435 Sixteen 6" 700 1898 HIGHFLYER 3 5600 350 Eleven 6" 450 1898 CRESSY 6 12000 440 Two 9.2" 700 1901 DRAKE 4 14100 500 Two 9.2" 1901 COUNTY 10 9800 440 Fourteen 6" 675 1902 ENCOUNTER 2 5880 355 Eleven 6" 450 1903 TOPAZE 4 3000 360 Twelve 4" 1904 DEVONSHIRE 6 10850 450 Four 7.5" 650 1904 DUKE OF EDINBURGH 2 13550 480 Six 9.2" 1904 ADVENTURE 8 2700 370 Ten 3" 1905 WARRIOR 4 13550 480 Six 9.2" 700 1906 MINOTAUR 3 14600 490 Four 9.2" 1908 BOADICEA 4 3350 385 Eight 4" 310 1910 BRISTOL 5 4800 430 Two 6" 1910 WEYMOUTH 4 5250 430 Eight 6" 430 1911 CHATHAM 6 5400 430 Nine 6" 430 1911 ARETHUSA 8 3500 540 Two 6" 320 1914 CAROLINE 6 3750 420 Two 6" 320 1915 GALLIOPE 6 3750 446 Two 6" 320 1916 CENTAUR 2 3750 446 Five 6" 320 1916 CALEDON 4 4180 450 Five 6" 350 1917 CERES 10 4200 450 Five 6" 340 1918 DANAE 8 4850 470 Six 6" 450 1918 HAWKINS 5 9800 600 Seven 7.5" 720 1919 ENTERPRISE 2 7550 570 Seven 6" 575 1924 ADVENTURE 1 6740 520 320 mines 400 1926 KENT 5 10000 620 Eight 8" 700 1927 LONDON 4 9850 620 Eight 8" 650 1928 NORFOLK 2 9925 620 Eight 8" 650 1928 YORK 2 8250 575 Six 8" 1931 LEANDER 5 7000 550 Eight 6" 550 1934 ARETHUSA 4 5250 500 Six 6" 450 1934 AMPHION 3 7105 550 Eight 6" 1936 SOUTHAMPTON 8 9100 584 Twelve 6" 700 1938 BELFAST 2 10000 600 Twelve 6" 840 1939 DIDO 11 5770 506 Eight 5.25" 550 1939 FIJI 8 8000 550 Nine 6" 750 1940 CEYLON 3 8000 550 Nine 6" 750 1942 Repeat DIDO 5 5900 512 Eight 5.25" 550 1943 SWIFTSURE 3 8000 556 Nine 6" 730 1945 TIGER 3 8000 555
CRUSHER Sailors' slang for a Regulating Petty Officer - a ship's policeman. Prior to 1914 these ratings were known as SHIP'S CORPORALS. In earlier days they had spent their time looking for (and so crushing) crime rather than preventing it.

"The Cuddy"

Old Naval name for the Admiral's or Captain's cabin in a warship. It was originally the Master's cabin in a sailing ship.
CUMSHAW Chinese pidgin-English for a tip. When used as an adjective or adverb the word means free.

"The Executive Curl"The curl in the upper stripe of gold lace worn on an officer's sleeve. Introduced in 1864 for executive officers only, it was extended to Engineers, Paymasters, Doctors in 1918.

CW BRANCH This Branch (Commission and Warrant Branch) of the Admiralty Secretariat was formed in 1909. On internal reorganisation, the work of the Branch was transferred to N.C.W. (Naval Conditions and Welfare Branch) in 1954.