Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Or, vessels with odd names.

By Professor Ovid Publius Hadweenzic, a renowned navigator of off-the-map-places that few people have ever visited nor hope to in their lifetime, and a retired rubber-duck captain of the HMS Diddly-Squat

Being an eccentric academic is a bit like being a loopy light-bulb engineer. And if you can’t grasp the gist of this flight of fancy, it’s likely that we’re not on the same wavelength or worse yet …unlikely to be residing in the same galaxy!

Having dusted off my incredibly large library of loose thoughts and an unpublished dissertation entitled, “The Merits of Mind Candy for Sexegenarians” and its compelling companion piece and saucy sequel, “Eye-Candy Solutions Are Better”, I came across some nebulous notes on nudnick names of boats, battleships and other things that bob about on water.

Quite frankly, naming boats is an art and a science, both of which seem to be furthest from the minds of those who came up with marvelous monikers and radio call signal names for the following merchant marine vessels (circa 1930):

  • Watussi (German) – call sign – “DAFT”

  • Tirpitz (German) – call sign – “DDIZ”

  • Felix Fraissinet (France) – call sign – “FOOD”

  • Lourenco Marques Polana (Portugal) – call sign – “CRAP”

  • Birka (Sweden) – call sign - “SHIT”

  • Balaklava (Sweden) – call sign – “SHAT”

And then we have such ferocious foreign warships as the Georges Leygues (France) with the call sign “FART” and the Undaunted (US), call sign “NERD”.

Several commercial shipping stations circa 1930-31 were christened: “Cleethorpes” and “Butt of Lewis Lighthouse” (presumably so blessed boats would not be lost in a fog of foppish names).

But the British do take the cake for nifty naval nomenclature, all designed to shake the boots of foes and impress close friends and allies.

HMS Audacious, Conqueror, Defiance, Dreadnought, Formidable, Furious, Illustrious, Implacable, Indefatigable, Indomitable, Inflexible, Invincible, Irresistible,Terror, Thunderer, Venerable, Victorious, and Warspite not to mention classic submarines named Renown, Repulse, Resolution, and Revenge fill the pages of history books chronicling who thumped who, where, when and why (which usually had a lot do with grabbing some else's goodies before the next-door potentate did).

With far too many boats in their bathtubs, they no doubt had difficulty coming up with feisty names…so they adopted rather snotty ones like: HMS Arrogant, Surly, Spiteful and Vindictive.

No doubt reading a dog-eared edition of bedtime tales probably inspired the next generation of naval nincompoop names including: HMS Pansy, Fairy and Wallflower.

A few “HMS Pinafore” types probably petitioned the Crown for a name change of one of their blessed bucket battleships to "HMS Petticoat!…but alas, they only thing they got to assuage all their huffing and puffing was HMS Spanking!

So, the next time you're out for a Sunday stroll, please don your thinking cap, beret, or tam and try to come up with a new generation of gripping if not giggle-oriented names for the fastest, fiercest, floating machines known to man!


For those who can't get enough of those feisty, ferocious fancy-names and really need to verify the veracity of my ripsnorthing research do check out: http://www.worldwar1.co.uk/ww1-warships.html


At 4:40 AM, Blogger M. D. Benoit said...

When we bought our sailboat, she was named Extasy. For some reason, we couldn't see ourselves calling out the name over the radio: "Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is Extasy..."

So we changed her name to Anemos, which is the greek word for "wind" (anemometer, anemone), even though it is supposedly back luck to change a boat's name. So far, so good.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger finnegan said...

This is a laughriot, Frau Quipping Queen.

I found this boat of yours bobbing on the water over at Superflywebpimp's Palace, and am glad I took the detour.

Consider your missing link linked!

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At 11:27 AM, Blogger internetgamble said...

I was on HMS Surly for many a year. We were an arrogant bunch admittedly. If you'd like to see our photograph, you are welcome to have a peek.

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