ROYAL NAVY AND BRITISH MARITIME SNIPPETS 7

a continuation of type from http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_1.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_2.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_3.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_4.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_5.html
and
http://www.godfreydykes.info/ROYAL_NAVAL_AND_BRITISH_MARITIME_SNIPPETS_6.html

 

1. Women deployed in the army forces to war zones, ergo, on the "front line".

A couple of years ago, the MOD released details on how many British women serving in the armed forces in war zones had been evacuated back to the UK as being pregnant. That system of reporting is still extant, although currently [January 2016] we have no ground troops deployed except a few as advisers, instructors and highly specialised forces. Whether any of these are women has not been declared!

200 women troops sent home for being pregnant.htm

2.

March 1856 - From a broadsheet of that time: an advert

Newsprint of 160 years ago is difficult to read when digitised, so below, a re-type.

ARMY AND NAVY PENSIONERS’ EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY

22 Parliament Street [Patron H.R.H. Prince ALBERT]

Instituted for procuring employment for soldiers and sailors invalided from war.  Subscriptions and donations thankfully received by the bankers Messrs Coutts, Strand, Messrs Masterman, City: and by the Secretary,  at the offices, who will be happy to afford every information of the practical working of the Society.

Subscription list periodically published and abstracts of situations provided.

JAMES RYMER, Secretary and Registrar.

It might surprise you to learn that even as far back as the Crimean War [1853-56] there was a kind of a SSAFA/RNBT/KG5 FUND/SEAFARERS UK/WHITE ENSIGN ASSOCIATION etc, although  this Society looked after those poor souls invalided from war, leaving the other poor souls to fend for themselves! Note that it covered only those discharge with a medical/infirmed pension. It was clearly an admirable Society and cause, and we note that it was at the doing [no doubt] of Prince Albert.  Prince Albert died when age 42 in December 1861. I presume that the fund continued under a new Patron.

3.


This rather strange looking object comes from the IWM [Imperial War Museum].
It is a picture of a Royal Naval Underwater Swim Suit Mark III of pre WW2 design.  It was made by the Dunlop Rubber Company.
                                                                                 
                                                                                   

 

It was used by one of my favourite hero's, a famous frogman called Leading Seaman James Joseph Magennis on the 31st July 1945. James was also called Jimmy or Paddy as well - obviously!]. He was the diver in the midget submarine XE3, deployed on "Operation Struggle", commanded by Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser RNR., and the high explosive James laid immediately under the enemy ship, the Japanese heavy cruiser Takao whilst moored just off Singapore island, blew a massive hole in her hull.

Both James and Ian were awarded the Victoria Cross for their sheer bravery. Ian, further decorated with a DSC and the RD with Bar, was later promoted to Lieutenant Commander RNR. He died in 2008 as a grand old man of 87, and James, after his home coming to a very sad life caused by the hatred of one another in Northern Ireland, Catholics and Protestants, was ostracised and 'forced out' to live in England where died aged 67 in Manchester in 1986. His sons sold on his Victoria Cross. Have a look here http://www.godfreydykes.info/submariner_vc_holders.htm

Allied intelligence had alerted the BPF [British Pacific Fleet] to the fact that the Takao [and other ships in company] had been attacked by an American submarine/torpedoes, and that the Takao was damaged but the rest sunk. The British did not know just how badly Takao was damaged only that she had made for Singapore, and was assumed to be under repair: the faithful Singaporeans, who regularly reported to the Allies on what the Japanese were doing in Singapore, had not reported on this warship. As such, the British could not take a chance, for all the time she was in the water floating she was a potential danger. The British therefore geared-up to destroy a fully sea-worthy/battle-worthy large warship.

After VJ day [15th August 1945] the British, knowing that their actions had not sunk the Takao, this despite half her hull missing, but that she had settled on part of the seabed, learned that the Takao was a de-stored, de-ammunitioned ship [for main armament but not small bore secondary ammunition], with only a skeleton crew on board, there to provide AA cover to defend their Singapore naval base at Seletar. The American submarine torpedoes had done irreparable damage to the vessel and for all practical purposes, she was a write-off even before being attacked by XE3.

That hindsight-knowledge did absolutely nothing to detract from the heroism of the crew of the XE3, and they were rightly and fairly feted and rewarded wherever they went, just as though the Takao had been a newly built newly commissioned ship.

 

4.

  Hardly did a broadsheet print-run take place in the last quarter of the 19th century and first quarter of the 20th century that didn't contain an advertisement for the training ship Arethusa. They  were so ubiquitous, as I am not sure whether they were necessary for filling newspaper columns, for encouraging subscriptions to continue paying those who ran the ship or for setting orphaned boys' out on a meaningful occupation which they might otherwise not have had without parental guidance and a little push in the right direction?  

This advert comes from the Times in 1913, a time when the name Jellicoe was first coming into prominence nationwide. In 1913, Viscount Jellicoe was a vice admiral appointed as the Second Sea Lord, and exactly one week after WW1 started on 4th August in 1914, he was promoted to full admiral and appointed commander in chief of the home fleet much to his embarrassment. The embarrassment came about at the manner in which his predecessor was sacked and shabbily treated after years of near perfect service and duty to the nation. Despite his qualifications for the job, he must nevertheless have watched his back at times! So, his rank as shown here is wrong? Any admiral, from REAR to FLEET, is addressed as ADMIRAL in spoken terms, but in written terms their actual rank is used, in this case Vice Admiral.

Arethusa was at Upnor on the other side of the River Medway to Chatham and its famous dockyard.

  Readable? Yes, but here's a re-type just in case you are due a visit to Spec Savers!

Now, I wonder why 100,000 Crowns? That's a lot of bread over hundred years ago. For those younger than me [?] a crown was worth five shillings and there were four crowns in a pound. 100,000 ÷ 4  =  £25,000

 

5.

The Queen's Letter of May 31st/1st June 1953 [?], the eve of Her Coronation

Want a really great day out? Want to be in the home of the greatest benefactor who ever lived, transcending even the legendary giving of Bill Gates and his wife and the likes of Carnegie, choosing themselves to live in peaceful modesty devoid of any ostentation, giving away billions in their life time?  They hated the London social scene and therefore avoided it at all costs unless it involved royalty direct, for they were personal friends of the monarch and not hangers-on, social-climbers. They were Oxfordshire people and when possible that is where they could be found.

Their home in now very much National Trust property, quintessential English [OK, British if we include the gentle classes of the Scots, the Welsh and Ulster people, and yes I know, there are thousands of them, fortunately, for the health of the United Kingdom].

The address is:-  Bradley Rd, Nuffield, Huntercombe, Oxfordshire RG9 5RY - one for your satnav, and the venue is Nuffield Place.....damn, I've just given the answer away!

But, for those of you slow off the mark [thanks] the first thing one sees on entering the grounds is a single rickety garage with its door wide open, showing an elderly Wolsley motor car. If you ask, it belonged to the lady of the house. That sets the scene.

What you are about to see is the home of WILLIAM MORRIS, yes he of MORRIS motor cars, the most successful British car manufacturer mirroring the success of Henry Ford in the USA. I once owned a Morris Marina, but before that my family [my fathers pride and joy's] we had several Morris models including those with splendid woodwork down aft and along the sides [I think they were called Morris Countryman if I remember rightly?]. His wife however, came from a family of Wolseley manufactures [Roote's Group I believe?] and she kept that going after marriage until death - that's romantic for you.

William MORRIS, of engineering fame and NOT the Arts and Crafts [wallpaper, furniture, etc etc guy] became famous and very seriously rich [just a tinch more than virtually all Hollywood people put together] but his wealth was his health, his family, his daily needs, enough to pay the heating bills, and beyond that, what was left over should go to grace and enhance the quality of life for those less fortunate than he or his lovely wife.

William Morris became the mega famous Lord Nuffield, along side his equally industrious wife Lady Nuffied.

There are far too many "Nuffield Trusts" throughout the UK for me to mention here or indeed in a score of websites, but armed forces personnel benefitted [and still do] in the "Nuffield Trust for the forces of the Crown". This is their website http://www.nuffieldtrust.org/index.htm. The amount of money swilling around in all these trusts and the good it does to British society is incalculable, and truly, a God given blessing to countless thousands who would suffer without it. H.M. Treasury would welcome access to such funds, although they would waste it as the managers of these many trusts, which by law, maintain growth, their value and maintain the original purposes of these bequests.

I love to research and to browse, looking into everything I am permitted to do so, and will often require several hours at one venue whereas other may do the visit in minutes as it were. Sitting, having a meal or a snack whilst waiting for me is not uncommon, when I finally join them often missing the opportunity to take my own sustenance.

   I don't want this to turn into a shaggy-dog story, but whilst browsing, I came across a cabinet containing written correspondence with the Nuffield's. In the cabinet, arranged by the National Trust of course, there was a partly covered letter although not overly intrusively so, by adjoining  diaries.  It was a hand written letter from Her Majesty to Lord Nuffield, and not the first personal contact made between the pair. Such letters are of course unique, highly private and personal but also unique, especially when written on the eve of the Coronation of one of the correspondents, or was that two, viz, The Queen and her Consort Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh ? Obviously the private and personal bit goes to the wall because it is on show to a paying public, but both the other features remain true, strong and indisputable.

The letter caught my eye because it is more unique that most people know: it contains a corrected error, which close up, is manifest. However it is also clear enough in the picture I took, which as long as a flash was not used, was perfectly allowable  by National Trust rules.

It's extremely unusual to see a royal, but especially the monarch, to make a mistake in written correspondence, no matter how small, and still allow the piece of paper to pass to the intended recipient. It is the norm for the paper to be destroyed and then to start again writing the letter.  This is a rarity and unique.

         

  Her Majesty has written "on the even" instead of "on the eve" and has changed the 'en' of even info an heavy 'e' to make it eve.

The bright light you see in the picture is a reflection from the bulb of a lamp hanging from the ceiling just above the cabinet in a narrow passageway.

 

6.

In the period 1910 to 1925 especially, VD was a problem in the UK.

The navy did not escape of course and sailors were given advice on what girls were in town. Many groups of women based  in London mostly, would travel to naval ports especially when it was known that the fleet were in harbour or due in harbour.  Every naval hospital [RNH] and sick quarters [RNSQ] had a VD clinic or VD specialists, but so too did all large city hospitals. Much pioneering work was going on as can be seen in this 1922 advert for support and money.  It is re-typed below for your ease of read.

Listen to the inarticulate pleadings of the babies

who may be

“ROBBED OF THEIR BIRTHRIGHT”

unless you help us to eradicate their disease

and give them  an opportunity to become men and women

worthy of our Race.  205 babies from all parts already

have been born free of venereal disease in the

LONDON LOOK HOSPITAL AND HOME

HARROW ROAD, LONDON W9.

through the special pre-natal  treatment there provided.

Please send a donation to the Secretary to-day.

£12000 REQUIRED ANNUALLY.

How lucky we are in our time, and what a dreadful set of circumstances back then. However, during the re-type, I was thinking about babies today born with aids, drug addiction and yes alcoholic addiction. Wow !

 

7.

Politicians notwithstanding, local or national are just not sincere trustworthy people, irrespective of party or gender, left, right or centre. Some are darn right evil, although all are in it [politics] for their own ends having a strong but often hidden ulterior motive or agender. Most are just 'yes men', one minute yes in their would-be constituency tricking voters with their lies, and the next, yes men to the party whip when elected and in the House, forgetting their lies [promises] made to their now constituents, loyal only to their party casting aside the voters. Those not taking the whip are fools, nothing less, for then, they serve nobody except themselves. Others are, as Mr Cameron would say overtly terrorist sympathisers, and as such dangerous to our country. Then there is another group issued with or self-procured, a self-destruct button, although they can be and are a mixture of those already described. However, every now and again, fortunately separated by a generation or so, comes a group who are, all at one time:-

dangerous to the country,
terrorists sympathisers and terrorists supporters, IRA for example,
rebellious, continuously refusing to take the whip, and then, whilst cracking it, doing-down others who refuse to take it,
devious to the core,
openly traitorous to our armed forces, prone to defend the nations enemy rather than a British soldier. They are
of a high profile scurrilous disposition,
            ready to, willing to and ultimately insulting our establishment, the monarch in particular.
They are ambivalent, irreverent and ill disposed to the memory of our war dead, refusing to pay due and fitting respect,
of a Goebbelist mind-set, luring blind and ignorant followers by lies and subterfuge to their cause,
 dishevelled and scruffy with an almost continuous alien appearance contrary to standards expected and set by others. They are largely inarticulate and unbecoming of the demeanor required for and by Parliament.

The protagonist of that group [although they are several of them along with the inevitable second-billings and of course the spear-carriers] is that walking disaster Corbyn.

To many names, phrases or group of letters there are anagrams, and one for Corbyn is BRYNOC.

Knowing that, I would strongly advise the author of the web site dealing with "astrological meanings " of words [in this case BRYNOC] to reassign a figure other than 5, which is taken to mean the almost perfect man, 'cos Corbyn is millions of miles away from the definition. It is of course perfectly allowable for a persons proper name to have and exercise an 'ego'. Equally, the same applies for a person's anagram where an 'alter ego' can be applied/used, and so maintaining the status quo.  I will think of Corbyn as an utter evil and corrupt burk, and BRYNOC as the almost perfect man for every reason, as described on this astrological web site.   This is what that web site says, but before I proceed, as far as the names are concerned, what applies to CORBYN applies equally to BRYNOC:-

What Does BRYNOC Mean? All letters defined - and added by me - also applies to CORBYN?

I always knew that the study of heavenly bodies [other than for science and astro-navigation] and horoscopes were a load of crap, and now I know that for certain.

 

What follows will please many people I am sure?

CORBYN'S TRAITOROUS WAYS!

 

8.

Every school boy and girl knows that 750 metres  = 2460 feet and that is a fact.

Can you imagine a submarine operating at that depth?  Well not if it is made of welded super strength steel like our nuclear hull's are, but if it could be made of a different strength and tensile metal, would it be possible? The answer is a big Yes, and the Russian's achieved that some years ago while still flying the Hammer and Sickle USSR flag.

The problem was and still is today, and very much so, is that we don't have the weapons to go that deep and deliver a big enough bang to destroy this super chunk of metal with the required accuracy.

Have a look  at this story line. Oh! By the way, I have a mouth-gum-bridge made from titanium and one my two hip replacement joints [prosthesis] is also very strong metal rather like, but not, titanium.

TITANIUM SUBMARINES.htm

 

9.

As for 8 above, another sum to start the story off. How many tots of rum can you get out of 15,000 gallons of neat navy rum? The answer is 15,000 imperial gallons gives 120,000 imperial pints, and there are 8 tots in a pint. Thus, a cool 960,000 tots at ⅛ pint each.
Just for example, take a fleet carrier with a complement of 1300 [900 crew and 400 flight wafoos] deployed at sea for a lengthy period with RAS's programmed to deliver fuel, lub oil, avcat fuel, stores, food, rum, beer, NAAFI goods, new cinema films in exchange for seen films, ammunition etc. Lets say that 900 men drew their daily tot known as 'G = Grog men', and 400 were either under age, elected temperance or under stoppage on punishment, respectively 'UA', 'T' and 'S'. 900 tots per day over a fourteen day period  = 12,600 = 1575 pints = 196.875 gallons. Remember these figures when we come to rum stocks in 1913.

Now the navy always put procurement contracts out for bulk buys, not necessarily for the cheapest tender, but often quality and durability mattered most. Whatever the Admiralty bought always ended up in London except of course for fresh-provisions which were often bought locally through a locally appointed agent; for example the Portsmouth agent would buy-in for all the Portsmouth ships and establishments then oversee its distribution. So, back to non-fresh provisions.

These were anything and everything the navy wanted on a continuous basis to replenish used stock. I do not intend to list every individual product but it includes:-

rum
malt
medical stores - contraceptives, pearl barley as well as hospital and first aid supplies
condiments - of all kinds in great amounts
tinned products
toilet paper
cereals, porridge etc
frozen durable goods - meat/fish/ice cream
refrigerated goods - butter, cheese, fruit, lard
dried goods - peas, lentils, fruit, rice, beans
fuels - was FFO and then coal, but now diesel

and after another 100 or so products

50 different wheel sizes, inner tubes and tyres


etc etc

 Each of the few mentioned products above went to certain Admiralty distributions centres/victualling yards for distribution, chiefly Clarence Yard, Royal William Yard, Depford Yard, and Woolwich Depot. The RFA Service has/had the largest ships in the RN/RFA fleet with the Oakleaf displacing 50,000 tons [the largest ever until the Queen Elizabeth Class was launched], Leaf Class at 37,000 tons and the Wave Class displacing over 30,000 tons, compared to the Ocean displacing just 21,500 and jokingly [I am sure] called "the mighty O". They, and other smaller RFA's, distributed fuel oil [and other things] to the fleet at sea. However, when the MOD [Navy] buys oil on long term contracts on the open market, it sends it ships [all hired commercial tankers on long term contracts to the MOD] to points of purchase and brings that oil/or takes that oil to the desired geographical location, and there off-loads it ready for RFA tankers to call and bunker before servicing warships in that area by the RAS method. These tankers come from the Maersk Line based on Felixstowe in Suffolk UK and can be one or more ships doing the collection and delivery of MOD fuel. A familiar MOD oil storeage/collection point can be seen attached to Clarence Yard on the Gosport side of Portsmouth's harbour, with its large jetty very prominent. 

All rum, wherever purchased from, ended up at Woolwich where is was blended by Admiralty scientists, before being distributed to the main yards.

This offer of a contract to supply rum [and other goods]is from October 1853. Those processes continued at Woolwich for well over a century until 1970 when run ceased. However, on a much smaller scale rum is still purchased albeit in much smaller quantities, blended, and made ready for occasions like 'splice the mainbrace', meaning that even today, all warships have a rum store and issue point ready for these one-off events.

If you can't read the text below with ease, don't worry for it is repeated below as a retype.

The retype of the advertisement above.

Contracts for Rum, Tea, Soap, Mustard and Pepper.

DEPARTMENT of the COMPTROLLER for VICTUALLING, and TRANSPORT SERVICES,  
SOMERSET PLACE October 6 1853.

The Commissioners for EXECUTING the OFFICE of The Lord High Admiral of the UNITED KINGDOM
of GREAT BRITAIN and IRELAND, do hereby give notice that on Thursday the 20th inst at 1 o’clock they will be ready to treat with such persons as may be willing to CONTRACT for SUPPLYING and delivering to Her Majesty’s Victualling Stores at Gosport and Plymouth the undermentioned ARTICLES viz:-

What

To be delivered at

When to be delivered

 

Gosport

Plymouth

 

Rum

15,000 gallons

-

Half in two months and the remainder in one month afterwards, or earlier if preferred by the party tendering.

Tea [Congu]*

lbs
15,000

lbs
10,000

One half of each in one month, and the remainder in one month afterwards, or earlier if preferred by the party tendering.

Soap

Tons
20

Tons
20

Mustard flour **

 3

 2

Pepper whole black

2

-

My addition for interpretation: * = Black tea commonly known as China Tea. ** flour is a Victoria word for powder, so this is a requirement for loose dry mustard - both asterisks  searchable on Google!

The rum, tea and pepper to be exempted from Customs Duties.

No tender will be received for a less quantity of rum than 3,000 gallons- of tea than 2,000 lbs- of soap than 5 tons- of mustard than 1 ton- and of pepper than 1 ton.

Samples of the rum to be sent in pints for each import mark and its average strength for each mark exactly to be stated, and not an average of different marks of strengths of several imports, and any parcel of rum that is found not to be of the required  quality or mark or average strength of the sample tendered and accepted will be rejected by the officers:  and samples of the tea not less than 2 lbs from the bonded warehouse, of the soap not less than 2 bars, and of the mustard and pepper not less than 2 lbs each, must be produced by the parties tendering.
The samples produced by persons whose tenders are not accepted, are requested to be taken away by them immediately after the contracts have been decided.
The conditions of the revised contracts to which particular attention is called, may be seen at the said office at the Victualling Yards at Gosport and Plymouth: at the office of Commander Bevis at Liverpool: and of the Collector of Customs at Bristol.  No tender will be received after 1 o’clock on the day of treaty, nor any noticed unless the party attends,  or an agent, for him duly authorised in writing.
Every tender must be addressed to the Secretary to the Admiralty and bear in the left corner the words “Tender for……..”, and must also be delivered at Somerset Place : and those for rum, tea, mustard and pepper, must be accompanied by a letter signed by a responsible person engaging to become bound to the person tendering in the sum of £20 per cent of the value, for the performance of each of the contracts.   

 

Places like Greenwich, in particular the Royal Hospital and its associated School had their share of requirements, one of which was Malt. As a boy in the 40's and early 50's my mum gave me and my siblings Malt [probably why I always like Malta so], rosehip-syrup and cod-liver oil just about every other day, and she swore blind about the benefits of Malta. Difficult to read but I will refrain from a complete retype, save to save this is a request for a tender from the GREENWICH HOSPITAL Commissioners asking for tenders to supply 500 Quarters of FINE PALE MALT, in more or less the same vein as the rum tender above.

  October 1853

and things like Pearl and Scotch Barley were important for good health
October 1853

This too will not be retyped. It is a tendering request for Medical Stores at the Victualling Yard at Depford, for a twelve month period plus onwards until terminated with three months notice. It wants PEARL and SCOTCH BARLEY for the Medical department of the Royal Navy. Crushed pearl is used as a treatment for acne and other skin diseases. Scotch Barley when mixed with lamb bones is said to be a healthy and nourishing soup good for convalescing patients. I would much prefer fish and chips with a few glasses of gin and tonic!

Now I come to contraceptives!
This is a truly fascinating story, all of it fact and raw [although the mind boggles] and we must approach the subject in an erudite manner.

I have chosen the time period Battle of Jutland to base my story on, and the reason being is that at this time 1916, venereal disease was getting on to be the third biggest killer world-wide. In the UK, there was grave concern that Portsmouth had become "VD City" with its nearest rival almost good enough to be of no great or lasting concern.

From the turn of the century until well into the 1920's Portsmouth in particular, was under the spot-light, but other cities and areas were not escaping, especially after the Grand Fleet left its northern bases, Scapa and Invergordon, and returned to traditional south coast naval ports. By 1919, disaster had struck with VD rampant in the city and no clear direction as to how it could be reduced, plus a major crisis brought about by the Spanish Flu which killed millions world wide. It beggars belief as to how the people of Portsmouth kept faith what with terrible man-power losses in WW1, the cut backs in Portsmouth Dockyard as regards shipbuilding which was now deemed unnecessary [there will never be another war, surely?],VD epidemic and the losses through illness which also could not be controlled. By any standards, it was a tangibly dying city!

Throughout that period above January 1900 to 1920, there were thousands of questions asked in the House of Commons, many Private Members Bills and many tens of major debates some lasting several days. In the House of Lords, in the same period, there were three major sittings, well spaced out, on the single subject of venereal disease. In a moment you will come across one of those debates which took place in 1919, at a time when morale in the navy was rock bottom, where pay, promotion, conditions of service and a mass exodus of sailors called up for the war [HO's] had seen the navy veer off course, mainly because many of the officers felt the same way as the men, suffering the same career difficulties. The navy felt, and perhaps knew, that with the exception of the RND, its war had been largely uneventful. It is a large text document, packed full of hard-hitting facts [with a few figures] about sex per se, sexual intercourse, prostitutes, wives passing on VD to "clean" sailor husband returning from the war, and much else. I would highly recommend a read, not only for you men, but for your women too [although it is definitely not suitable for children or very young adults] for it paints a picture which I am sure many of you have not known about.

You can find this House of Lords debate here BUT I recommend you come back to read it when you have completed either this section, Section 9, or when you have finished the Snippet 7 completely.

  Debate in the House of Lords December 1919 on Venereal Disease .htm

In the meantime, I will endeavour to mention some of the important practical points mentioned in the debate, so that it is not absolutely necessary that you should read the above file yourself. Moreover, I have described things more fully than their Lordships did!

Contraception is a centuries old concept, and so it is amazing when we remember that it wasn't that long ago when the Irish nation and its Church succumbed to great pressure and allowed the sale of contraceptives and their use. Throughout the ages some countries have banned them for fear of seeing a dramatic lowering of the birth rate, whilst some have allowed them simply to stop the rampant nature of venereal disease. Some secular governments banned them or at least frowned upon their use, but just as many churches and religions preached the evil of sex outside of marriage, the evils of denying procreation in a marriage, and the evils of promiscuity and prostitution. Some even asked why denial wasn't the watchword, and wasn't the answer to refrain from sex unless one was absolutely, irrefutably sure that an intended partner was sneaky 'clean', free of spots, warts, boils, acne, dermatitis etc., never mind diseases of the private parts! 

But what were contraceptives in 1916? For the lucky ones who could afford the known reliable male condom, they were largely free of catching VD: in any event, the purchaser was usually street-wise and feared VD in a very real sense. But for the next group down, who had a care and a slight understanding of what the risk was, whilst still quite expensive they chanced their arm on what was on offer and what they had bought or acquired. Men, we are told, did a proverbial water-tight/air-tight test on them to check for leaks, but even if they leaked, the majority used them nevertheless. Many condom's, cheap and expensive, were used over and over again with only a cursory wash in between. That left the masses. Some bought used condoms, some at least made the effort and bought known dodgy goods thinking that they would afford at least some protection, but by and large, they were drunk when intercourse took place so what the hell anyway? That, regrettably, was the lot of the labouring-classes, and sheer lust and booze were in the vanguard, with fear [any kind of fear] and consequences, way behind in the rear.

So did these hapless men all catch VD in whatever form? Most did of course, hence the concern and and shock horror at the Portsmouth crisis.

In those days, taking the chances outlined above as to the quality/cost and therefore the reliability of a condom, the habit of going to a chemist [high street for a good expensive condom and a back street for the cheaper alternative] or to a barber, was well established, and the accompanying embarrassment prevailed asking for a 'thingy' and receiving a tiny parcel wrapped in brown  paper from a female serving-on in a chemists shop. The barber on the other hand, using the same strength and pitch of voice asking you whether you were satisfied with his cut, also enquired whether you required anything for the weekend Sir?

 These little brown packets were known as PROPHYLACTIC [pronounced pro-fi-lak'tic] PACKETS. Now that's a mouthful especially if you're stood there all coy and embarrassed, and since few [evidently] were bought, they didn't appear to have a nick name at that point: later we called them "johnny's","French letters" or "sheaths".  Can you just see yourself, being nonch [alant], asking for a couple of PP's please or a handful of P² or P squared?

Prophylactic simply means 'warding off disease' nothing more technical. Ergo, a surgeon's rubber gloves are prophylactic devices protecting the surgeon from the patient's nasties and the patient from the surgeon's nasties: however, they are not designed to fit onto a man's penis!

So much for the condom in 1916.

Now for the masses who either couldn't afford them, couldn't wait to don it correctly before the climax, or threw all his cares to the wind for just 60 seconds of mind-blowing utopia.

Here comes the bit that you really don't want to know about!

     Most men in this lower group, whilst they would be flummoxed at hearing the chemistry formula

                       KMnO4,                                

would be just as flummoxed to hear the expression PERMANGANATE OF POTASSIUM which, wait for it, used to be called PERMANGANATE OF POTASH
or, simply
CONDY's CRYSTALS
 I wonder if there was a connection between the word condom and the first four letters of the word condy's ?

Here comes the score.

If you are seeking an amorous event, you are supposed to have a wad of wool, preferably clean, hygienic cotton wool in your pocket with a certain quantity of dry Cony's Crystals. A receptacle of your own, say a jam jar or even a pickled onion larger jar [both without any sign/trace of the former occupants], is a clear head-start asset. If wearing your white duck suit ashore, then you are advised to keep if well clear of the action to come. If your blue serge suit then no real problems!

Are you ready for what comes next?

After you have fulfilled your desire and your girl-friend is left panting on the bed with you some distance away from her, put the Crystals into the jar and add water. The fluid will turn first into a strong pink colour and then into a much staining deep purple. At that point, plunge your member into the jar and give it a thoroughly good wash and clean, leaving it there for at least fifteen minutes, and after withdrawal dry it with the cotton wool. Don't worry for it will remain deep purple for at least forty eight hours [if one regularly bathed afterwards which one didn't do, so it remained that colour for much longer]. It also stained the skin wherever it touched particularly legs, and all clothing, bedding, and soft furnishing it came into contact with. At this point, you should ditch the contents, wash the jar thoroughly under running water, recharge it with new Crystals, fill the jar, and then offer it to your lady friend with a goodly amount of cotton wool. Although it is virtually impossible for a lady to completely clean her vagina with strong disinfection from an empty jar of pickles, at least making the effort will go someway to lessening the immediate affect of VD. You should be thoroughly disinfected although heavily stained, but free of VD if you did the disinfecting straight away, resisting the temptation of laying beside her with a fag in your mouth. This or these actions were later coined as "prophylactic ablutions" meaning warding off STD [sexually transmitted disease] by washing your private parts. In many ships of the fleet, a "PA" station was provided in the 'heads' area of the ship [the "toilets"] and all sailors were advised to visit the heads and use the "PA" immediately on returning to the ship, before going to their messdecks.

The nub of the problem was found to be in the lack of success of the poor lady's effort in purifying herself, an art which had to be practiced in a certain position before being mastered, or is that mistressed, which, with the right equipment could take up to twenty minutes, although with reservations which created doubts which would not go away? No disinfectant-squirting bidets in those days, more's the pity! Venereologists found that the spread of VD from professional prostitutes who were adept in the art of female disinfection, was less likely than from so called amateur prostitutes.

WW1 started at the beginning of August 1914, and come the 6th April 1917 the USA had declared war on Germany. However, the US  troops did not arrive in Europe until the summer of 1917 virtually three whole years after the war started, and saw only the last sixteen months of action. Throughout the war, which later included the Americans, it was the habit to stand down front line troops and give them leave in the UK, chiefly in London.  This included sailors in the RND and airmen of the RFC.  Bit by bit, these troops caught venereal disease from London prostitutes, although obviously the Americans less so than the European Allies, and come Armistice Day, a moderate amount of Allied personnel were diagnosed with some form of venereal disease.

Condoms were not issued in WW1 as you will see from the Lords Debate. The rationale was why should the armed forces have safeguarded sex on the State when civilians, many vulnerable, were denied.  Many years after the 1919 Lords Debate they were still arguing on the merits/de-merits of self disinfection.  Progress was made by introducing clinics and professional disinfectors, where the likes of sickbay staff would dowse the private parts, avoiding the other parts of the body not involved in passionate love making. Prostitutes were encouraged to be dowsed by accredited nurses many with secondary duties for female health, including midwifery. Embarrassment slowed down the new cleansing system in the early days, but once overcome, fewer and fewer people developed serious VD.

The Americans went back home post war to much comment about the morals of European women, with more affected men than they had bargained for, but the authorities soon got down to a medical remedial programme which brought back the "all American Boy" image. Still, by 1930, VD figures were unacceptably high, and in 1931, the US Navy introduced free condoms, with a remarkable decline in newly reported VD cases.

In 1915, the London Rubber Company was formed to sell imported foreign condoms. More and more it imported top quality latex-wear and was a much respected company. In 1929 they launched the now famous Durex Company which requires no further explanation, and now its product transcends all other male contraceptive products.

In WW2, it was thought prudent to issue all Allied troops with gratuitous condoms. Germany, who mass-produced condoms for the world wide market, didn't give their population or their armed forces a free issue because of the fear of a declining nation at a time when Hitler needed more German's to help him rule the world; Joseph Goebbels was tasked to grow an Aryan race, the ideal and pure race. As in the case of the Americans in the paragraph above and other Allied forces in this paragraph, these free issues were not forced upon people at the point of a gun, but they were readily available and discreetly advertised at the point of departure from a ship [if navy] to terra firma. If, subsequently, a service man caught VD and it could be proved that he ignored or shunned an offer of free devices, his future was very bleak, militarily and financially.

The age of disinfecting people [oneself and professionally] had gone, for the man at least, although perversely, affected women were temporarily stopped from passing on their pox, if, that was, that men behaved sensibly!

The Royal Navy, though notably not the Army or Royal Air Force, continued after WW2 in giving free condoms irrespective of where they were based, but soldiers and airmen could only get free issues when serving abroad.  In some cases, free female contraceptives were issued to married WRENS, and WRNS officially known to soon becoming wives. These of course had absolutely no association with VD, but with avoiding pregnancy, for were a Wren to become pregnant, it spelt the end her career.

This article, written in 1973, remembers the time in the 1950's of National Servicemen in the Navy..

 

10.

And now for something more tasteful, or is it.

Some of these boys died at the Battle of Jutland.

boys training ship.wmv

Goodbye. Might see you in SNIPPET 8.