Traditions and Tales of the Navy

Front Cover - Traditions and Tales of the Navy

Traditions and Tales of the Navy
Dr. Martin Davis
Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., Inc. Missoula, Montana

First Printing: November 2000 Second Printing: November 2001
Cover Graphics and Design: Mike Egeler, Egeler Designs Typography and Layout: Leslie Maricelli
PICTORIAL HISTORIES PUBLISHING CO., INC. 713 South Third St. West, Missoula Montana 59801

About the Book

The seeds for this book were planted when I was very young. At that time, my brother Bill was a member of the pre-war Navy, and he bought a subscription to Our Navy magazine for me. This gave me my first exposure to the Navy, and I greatly enjoyed reading monthly features such as Fleet News, Foreign Naval News, Salty Rhymes, Salt Shakers, and Letters to the Editor.

However, I was fascinated by the work of Cedric W. Windas and his Traditions of the Navy drawings and text. It was these tidbits of naval lore and language that helped direct me toward a lifelong interest in the English language, word evolution and naval history.

Using Cedric Windas’ drawings as an illustrative base for this book, I researched and collected almost 600 nautical words and phrases that have become part of our common language.

Included in this number are short stories that provide an opportunity to expand and explain.

The scope of Traditions and Tales of the Navy purposely entails much more than nautical etymology. Included in the structure of this book are sections that focus on the naval and maritime atmosphere that caused, and continues to cause, the formation of tradition and the expansion of our vocabulary. This is the reason for inclusion of John Charles Roach’s “Anatomy of U.S. Frigate Constitution,” as well as “Images of the Navy” and other segments.

It is important to note that a fair portion of text and illustrations in this book deals with the era prior to 1948, with emphasis on the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. This time period encompassed the post-World War I period, the depression, World War II and the immediate post-war.

In most cases, these were the years prior to the wave of equal opportunity movements of women, African-Americans, the handicapped and disabled, and before the sexual revolution. This was a time before we were fully aware of the real dangers of smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction.

We had come out of the decade-long depression economy due to World War II, and the full force of America’s technological revolution had not yet begun.

As a result of the great changes that have taken place in 60 years, some of the illustrations and humor may appear to be dated, provincial, naive and even “corny.” This is to our advantage because it gives us the opportunity to view changes in history and culture from the perspective of today.

It is hoped that readers of this book find it informative, enjoyable and stimulating.


Introduction iii
Acknowledgments iv
Foreword vi
Salty Words, Phrases and Sea Stories 1
More Salt: The Sketches of Cedric W. Windas
Part One: 1936-1942 2
Part Two: 1943-1948 132
Images of the Navy - Serious Stuff
Anatomy of a Ship: USS Constitution - Old Ironsides 182
Brief History of the English Language 216
Celebrities in the Naval Services 217
Images of the Navy - Not So Serious Stuff
Boot Camp, Gulfport, Mississippi - 1918 222
Gleanings from Our Navy: 1936 - 1945 225
World War II Cartoons 230
Index I Salty Words, Phrases and Sea Stories 242
Index II More Salt: Sketches of Cedric W. Windas 1936-1942 245
Index III More Salt: Sketches of Cedric W. Windas 1943-1948 246
Index IV Naval Organizations and Resources 248
Bibliography 250
USS Slater 252
About the Author 252

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