God bless this ship and all that sail in it
Tagged: God Bless this Ship
- April 25, 2019 at 3:40 pm #17451
God bless this ship and all who sail in it.
I am disappointed to note that our Society has agreed with the Scottish Maritime Museum and NMM Greenwich, to scrap the custom of referring to ships as “she” (Mariner’s Mirror Hon Editor Martin Bellamey’s tweet to the national press – London Daily Telegraph report 25.04.19 refers).
Admiral Lord Alan West, former First Sea Lord, in his excellent article in the Daily Telegraph today disagrees with the suggestion, calling it “palpably absurd”. A Royal Navy spokesman also said the Navy disagreed, adding that “the R.N. has a long tradition of referring to its ships as she and will continue to do so”.
I hope the Society will reconsider its decision and continue to follow tradition.
Maybe our President would care to comment.April 26, 2019 at 10:09 am #17467Lawrie PhillipsParticipant
I did not know that the SNR had a policy of using ‘it’ in reference to ships. If this is so, when was this decision made? The text on the inside front cover of The Mariner’s Mirror refers to ‘her’ restoration concerning HMS Victory and to ‘her’ role regarding Foudroyant.
In another forum I have expressed regret at longstanding naval custom being overridden and discarded by current -and ephemeral – gender sensitivities and I questioned just who is taking the long view. In this case, what respect is being shown to those generations of sailors down the many centuries, in battle and the breeze, who knew their ships as ‘she’ and ‘her’? What value do we put on ‘their art, craft and mystery … in all ages and among all nations’?
We all are but very temporary stewards of a proud heritage and we should exercise our responsibility with care and proper humility.April 27, 2019 at 4:14 pm #17469Frank ScottParticipant
This old story is a storm in a teacup. Mariner’s Mirror, like Lloyd’s List has adopted a House Style which includes neutral reference to ships. For an international historical journal this makes a lot of sense because in many other countries the traditions are different, or gendering has become a battleground. For example the Germans make some ships masculine, such as Peter von Danzig, and (officially at least) the WW2 battleship Bismarck. The Russians seem to use the masculine, and the French vary with the gender of the name (male names = masculine). Personally I have always found it slightly amusing that ships named after male heroes like Nelson & Rodney are referred to as ‘she’.April 29, 2019 at 8:49 am #17470John HParticipant
I get annoyed too! But at least the matter is the correct use of the term ‘gender’ for once
Mark Twain once quipped that in Germany turnips have sex, but young women don’t.
Worse in my opinion is referring to vessels as ships ( The Andrew, is of course, an exception)April 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm #17489
As reported in The Guardian this week (see internet version) –
The debate has found little sway with the royal family, it seems. Princess Anne, naming the new Hull-based trawler, smashed the traditional bottle of champagne against it as she said: “I name this ship Kirkella. And may God bless her and all who sail in her.”
Her Royal Highness has the Royal Navy rank of Admiral.April 30, 2019 at 10:58 am #17499Grahame AParticipant
English Law still respects the use of the feminine gender for ships in the context of the mercantile world. Thus Paragraph 61.8 of Part 61 of the Civil Procedure Rules that deal with Admiralty Court Jurisdiction and Procedure refer to:
(a) a ship is not under arrest but cargo on board her is; or
(b) a ship is under arrest but cargo on board her is not…’
Whilst I agree with Frank’s pragmatic line, the Civil Procedure Rules are made under Statutory Instruments approved by the ‘Mother of Parliaments’.July 25, 2019 at 4:33 pm #17663
During World War I an Admiral had invited a friend–Lady A–to lunch the following day. In the morning his Squadron went to sea and he made the following signal to the captain of another ship which was remaining in harbour:
I HAD INVITED LADY A TO LUNCH TODAY BUT AS WE ARE SAILING UNEXPECTEDLY, I WOULD BE GLAD IF YOU WOULD GIVE HER LUNCHEON INSTEAD. I AM LEAVING MY BARGE BEHIND WITH ORDERS TO REPORT TO YOU. THIS MAY MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU TO LOOK AFTER LADY A. PLEASE MAKE WHATEVER USE OF HER YOU LIKE.
Extract from Make Another Signal 1973 by Captain Jack Broome.
Ships, boats and Admirals’ barges will always be “She/her”!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.