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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Observer Chanteys in Royal Navy? (96* d) RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy? 30 Apr 19

Just an observation GUEST,Phil d'Conch but looking up Admiral William Henry Smyth (1788 - 1865) it would appear that he started out in the Merchant Service with the East India Company and landed in the RN by accident of the Admiralty buying the ship he was serving in. He also seems to have spent a great deal of his service career engaged in Hydrographic Survey work. Leaving the navy to engage in more academic pursuits in 1846. His promotion to flag rank came through advancement in the retired list. Most of his time in the navy were spent in the Indian Ocean and Far East, briefly in home waters followed by an extensive period in the Mediterranean (His nickname was "Mediterranean Smyth). That is a very brief sketch of the man's career and from it we can glean the following:

1. His reminiscences would be a mixture of Merchant service and Royal Navy. The terms you laboriously quoted previously demonstrate this admirably as they are a jumble of both. A Boatswain, Bosun by the way even in Smyth's time was a "Warranted" Officer, not a "Commissioned" Officer.

2. His service in ships of the line was limited and during the entire time of his service at sea he would never have known a single onshore training establishment, he would never have seen sailors "marching" as training was all done on the job at sea. I would imagine that it would be very difficult if not impossible to march round a sailing ship under way at sea.

According to the Army, the Navy doesn't March - They amble with style. Marching has got nothing whatsoever to do with "navigation" (land or otherwise) or "orienteering". Your references to marching or "stepping" only gives speed - you need more than speed to navigate.

Back on the subject of the thread - No the Royal Navy did not use or sing SHANTYS to work their ships ( If that spelling of the word is good enough for Stan Hugill it's good enough for me).

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