Traditions and ceremonies

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Guillermo, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    The custom of using the ship's bell to mark the passage of time probably dates from the 13th century when it was used in conjunction with a half-hour glass; a bell was sounded each time the glass was turned and the number of bells was progressive throughout a watch. "Warming the bell" at one time meant to strike it before the correct time, but now it means to do anything early.
     
  2. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    All very well Guillermo but how/why they stopped at eight bells is something of a mystery! OK if your doing four hour watches but a lot of Merchant ships did other wierd things, si hour watches were favourite or, the old clipper ship system known as the West Country system of 7 and 5! 5 hour watch during the day when other work was done about ship! 7 hours at night when between sail shifts etc you kinda rested (?) gave you a longer session in yer bunk! Trouble was they normally had to call the watch below to do a big sail change so it wasn't as good as it looks! There again banging out 14 bells in one go would have exhausted at least one member of the watch!!!
     
  3. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    I believe simple addition comes into this. Eight bells signifies the passage of four hours - a cycle of three 'eights' equals 24 hours=Noon to noon, at which point the orginal cycle of bells had begun.The one drawback in this calculation is that the cycle began at 'local' noon - which varied if traversing east or west. East being 'least' - west being 'best'.
    But I may be wrong:(
     
  4. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Then your Dog watches come and bugger you up - 1600 - 8bells, 1630 - 1 bell, 1700 - 2 bells, 1730 - 3 bells, 1800 - 4 or 8 bells (varied) 1830 (new watch) 1 - bell, 1900 - 2 bells, 1930 - 3 bells, 2000 - 8 bells (end of watch) Confused!!! you will be!!

    But clocks were usually 'flogged' about midnight (20 minutes each watch to be fair) so when were they 'flogged' in the sailing navies?
     
  5. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    I'm seeing spots before my eyes and a ringing in my ears.
     
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Walrus the only bells you know is what comes in a bottle.
     
  7. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Yes Walrus - but if you continue this cycle you get back to Noon - 1200 hours...:(
     
  8. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Eventually - and then tis "up spirits" but surely that was at 7 bells in the forenoon watch to ensure evrybody had a cahnce to get outtheirtree before going on watch at 12 (tot or dinner what'll it be!! get away from the rum fanny Bergalia you ain't the bosun, get your thumb outa the measure!!!:D
     
  9. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Gun salutes

    The tradition of firing blank rounds from the gun batteries of both ships and fortifications as a form of salute goes back almost to the earliest days of naval guns. It apparently originated as a sign of good faith; by discharging your guns, you temporarily disarmed yourself and thereby showed yourself to have peaceful intentions. The number of guns varied from situation to situation and country to country--for many years, ships would fire up to seven guns and shore fortifications (which could store more powder) would return salutes with up to three guns for each fired by the ship.
     
  10. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    True, but note the use of an odd number of guns in salute! Most ships carried an even number of guns to balance them up (same number down each side!) the reason for the odd number - you always kept one gun fully powdered and shotted (and primed) "just in case" communications could be kind of slow in those days! :rolleyes: So the modern use of 22 guns etc is wrong, it is in fact considered an insult by those who know! :eek: And the timing of these guns, easy, or so my old GI (gunnery instructor) told me, it went "fire one - if I wasn't a gunner I wouldn't be here - fire two, if I wasn't etc" said slowly It works! (well it does in the UK other countries different routines)! Agree Max?:cool:
     
  11. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    True Walrus. Our armament consisted of a sawn-off shotgun (20-bore - cook's personal weapon - a remnant of his old trade); a .36 Webley (picked up in the nets. Frozen with rust and the hammer missing) and a BSA .177 - but lacking a supply of pellets.

    To touch on Guillermo's note - response to a salute. This is very evident in Edinburgh when they fire the 'One O'clock Gun' - the salute is returned by numerous involuntary farts by unwary visitors....Princes Street is a place to avoid from 1pm - 1.05pm....:D
     
  12. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Aye and with the more shy of the visitors the farts tend to have lumps in! 'O course being trouser wearers the visitors tend to get a bit embarassed! the Locals haein more sense gae oot in the kilt (the 'sma' kilt incidentally was invented by an Englishman! who moving North o' the border decided he'd be like his tacksmen and wear a kilt! but the one worn at the time took something like half a day and several helpers to don, so he modified it and cut it down to what it is today! bit o' a mini skirt really compared to what it once was! in some ways sad, what's more sad it the way the Scots took to it!!)
     
  13. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member


    Ma bonnet's aff to yer erudition Walrus. Aye mun, the sma kilt (philibeg) and kilts in general are an English invention (one of the few things we Scots didn't invent).
    The original garb was a length of broadweave cloth wrapped around the loins (abnormally large among the Highlanders of course) and thrown over the shoulder. It served as clothing, blanket, and any other purpose necessary. Seldom washed (except during rain) it would have stunk to high heaven.
    But like most things 'Scotch' the kilt, tartans, and even Highland Games were developed during Queen Victoria's time to appease Prince Albert who had a penchant for wearing frocks....The Scots being ace salesmen grabbed the idea with glee and hence the whole noble savage legend was born...and we've been making a fortune in tourist pounds/dollars for years....
     
  14. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Aye Bergalia I'll give you that! theres some who have made a small fortune out of the noble savage and his 'kilt' and all them funny 'highland games' - I mean who in his right mind would go tossing hugh great telegraph poles around - unless there was a wee libation and a few shillings in the deal! Grab it while yee can (there again if you miss this one there will be another sucker along soon ;) )
     

  15. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    I believe your spelling is a little awry Walrus: Are you perhaps referring to the Hugh Grant episode in his car with a Miss Divine Brown....?:)
     
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