Ranks And Ratings

7th January 2008, 17:14
This is pure nostalgia:


A BOY is a person who joined the Navy when he was fifteen. He is kicked from pillar to post by everybody and loves every minute of it. He is easily distinguished by his suit – it has his own name on it.

An ORDINARY SEAMAN is a man with his cap on the back of his head. He wears a thin strip of stranded white hemp where his lanyard should be and he has lost his Pay Book.

An ABLE SEAMAN is either a sweeper, Cook of the Mess, or getting “seen off”. If he has a stripe on the left arm, someone is making a Pay Day out of everything he does; two stripes entitles him to a quiet number; and if he has three, he can more or less demand one.

CROSSED GUNS on his right arm means that he won’t listen to his oppo.

CROSSED LIGHTNING flashes mean that he won’t listen to anybody.

FLAGS denote that he can spell and WINGS that he either knows all about your radio, or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, then he is handy with a scrubber.

A SMALL AEROPLANE can mean almost anything except a sailor. If his suit is wet, it is more likely to be foamite than salt water.

A LEADING SEAMAN wears an anchor on his left arm. He takes charge of the men with whom he lives. This is impossible. He doesn’t do Cook.

PETTY OFFICERS: there are two kinds:-

One kind wears the same clothes as a sailor and says, “Don’t cackle your fat”.

The other kind looks like a railway porter and does all the cackling. He must never be disturbed at eleven o’clock in the forenoon.

A CROWN is an R.P.O. His grandmother is invariably in the rattle.

There are very few SAILMAKERS left in the Navy. They live in a small caboose with a bottle in the cupboard.

A GUNNERY INSTRUCTOR is a man covered in green webbing equipment. He has two holes above his shoulders: one is his mouth and the other is where his brain used to be.

A P.T.I. is a man on a chair, or “From here to there, Go!”

Men who wear peaked caps with red badges always need a new cap. They usually sleep on them.

A CHIEF PETTY OFFICER is a man who could jump over your head when he was your age. He has just come back.

A MASTER-AT-ARMS wears a sword. He is not an E.R.A.

A MIDSHIPMAN doesn’t matter.

SUB-LIEUTENANTS are people who get in the way when work is being done.

A SUB-LIEUTENANT (E) is a pair of feet protruding from beneath a 1922 Morris Cowley.

LIEUTENANTS are tall, well-groomed men who are always broke. They smoke a pipe and have creases in their trousers. They are good at tennis and “lend me your sword”.

A FLAG LIEUTENANT is a man who follows an Admiral around. Nobody knows what he does.

There are two kinds of LIEUTENANT COMMANDERS:

Those who are hoping and

Those who didn’t want it, anyway.

The latter are usually two cruises ahead of their wine-bill.

A COMMANDER is a good-looking man with lots of teeth. He spends half of his time listening to a lot of tripe and the other half wondering why he couldn’t have thought of that when he was a Midshipman.

A CAPTAIN is a man surrounded by junior officers who served in the same ship as his brother. He listens a lot, but says little. He doesn’t like cats.

A REAR-ADMIRAL is going ashore in a minute.

A VICE-ADMIRAL is a fat man who plays golf.

An ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET has one half of his coat made of medal ribbons and the other half of gold braid. He’s got a good job!

7th January 2008, 17:17
Nice one Alick!
Reminds me a little of what they used to say about RN officers and marriage.

Lietentants musn't marry.
Lieutenant Commanders can marry.
Commanders should marry.
Captains must marry.


7th January 2008, 18:06
That one takes me back a bit, too, Peter.