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March 12, 2004

Navy Quotes

Britain declared war on Japan soon after the US. The Royal Navy signalled all ship's and shore stations with the news. One group receiving the signal was a small group of escorts struggling to herd a convoy of reluctant merchantmen across the Atlantic. The Flotilla leader decoded the signal and relayed it to all the other escorts by lamp and flag hoist. The signal read:
"Commence hostilities with Japan."

One of the escorts immediately flashed a reply:
"Request permission to finish breakfast first."

Another equally facetious response to a signal arose during the 1949 Yangtse crisis, when two Frigates were despatched up the river to retrieve foreign nationals. The first frigate negotiated a tricky bend in the river and slowed to await its consort. After an interval the consort failed to appear, so the signal was made:
"Where are you?"
"Regret have become semi-permanent feature of the Chinese landscape."

Or the WW2 destroyer returning from an Atlantic convoy up the Mersey, having survived a really bad weather crossing, but having lost her top masts and suffered other damage to her upperworks. Signal from a ship leaving for escort duty:
"How come?"
"Scraping under low cloud."

And another of Churchill's famous put downs -
Lady Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison!"Churchill: "Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it!"

[Stolen from The Gray Monk.]

Posted by Peskie at March 12, 2004 12:00 PM