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Stand By! Naval Sketches and Stories   By: (1883-1968)

Book cover

First Page:

E text prepared by Al Haines

Transcriber's note:

"Taffrail" is the pseudonym of Henry Taprell Dorling.

The book from which this etext was prepared was missing the leaf containing pages 41 and 42.

STAND BY!

Naval Sketches and Stories

by

"TAFFRAIL"

Author of "Carry On!" "Pincher Martin O.D., Etc."

London C. Arthur Pearson, Limited Henrietta Street, W.C. 1916

TO THE SHIP'S COMPANY WHO ARE SECOND TO NONE

PREFACE

It seems almost unnecessary to remark that the characters and ships figuring in the sketches throughout this book are entirely fictitious.

"Bunting," "The Acting Sub," "Our Happy Home," "The Lost Sheep," "The 'Muckle Flugga' Hussars," and "The Mother Ship" appeared in the Daily Mail , and "The 'Pirates'" in the Weekly Despatch . They are here reprinted, with minor alterations, by kind permission of the Editors.

TAFFRAIL.

1916.

CONTENTS

THE "ACTING SUB" THE MOTHER SHIP OUT HAPPY HOME BLOODLESS SURGERY "BUNTING" THE LOST SHEEP A NAVAL MENAGERIE THE "MUCKLE FLUGGA" HUSSARS THE "PIRATES" A MINOR AFFAIR THE FOG THE TRADERS POTVIN OF THE "PUFFIN"

STAND BY!

THE "ACTING SUB"

He was a very junior young officer indeed when the powers that be first gladdened his heart and ruined his clothes by sending him to a destroyer. A mere sub lieutenant with "(acting)" after his name, which, as any proper "sub" will tell you, is a sign of extreme juniority. Moreover, the single gold stripe on his monkey jacket was still suspiciously new and terribly untarnished.

Not so very long before he had been a "snotty" (midshipman) in a battleship, a mere "dog's body," who had to obey the orders of almost every officer in the ship except those few who happened to be junior to him. It is true that he exercised his authority and a severe discipline on those midshipmen who had the misfortune to be a year or so younger than himself, and that he expressed a lordly contempt for the assistant clerk. But he lived in the gun room, slept in a hammock, kept all his worldly possessions in a sea chest, and bathed and dressed in the company of fifteen other boisterous young gentlemen.

Then he had his watches to keep at sea and his picket boat to run in harbour, while his spare time was fully employed in mastering the subtleties of gunnery, torpedo work, and electricity, and in rubbing up his rapidly dwindling knowledge of engineering and x and y . It was well that he did so, for at some distant period when the war ceased he would have to pass certain stringent examinations before he could be confirmed in the rank of lieutenant.

So on the whole he had been kept fairly busy, more particularly as watch keeping at the guns with the ship at sea in all weathers in war time was not all jam.

But when he was sent to a destroyer he found the life was more strenuous, for the little ship spent far more time at sea. The weather was sometimes very bad indeed, and at first he was sea sick, but it was always a consolation to have a cabin of his own, to live in the wardroom, and to be treated as a responsible officer instead of a mere "makee learn."

He had to work at least six times harder than he had in a battleship. For one thing he had all the charts to correct and to keep up to date, no small labour with pencil, dividers, parallel rulers, and much red ink in these days of war, prolific minefields, dangerous areas, extinguished lights, and removed buoys. He also assisted with the ship's gunnery, and at sea kept a regular three watches, eight hours out of every twenty four, with the first lieutenant and gunner. But it was the sense of responsibility and the feeling that he was doing really useful work which gladdened his heart and kept him keen and energetic.

"Have you ever been in a destroyer before?" his commanding officer had asked him as soon as he joined... Continue reading book >>




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