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Yankee Sailor
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Well, there's "eight bells in the morning watch", which is 0800. Then there's "eight bells in the forenoon", or 1200. 1600 is "eight bells in the afternoon watch" and "eight bells in dogs (or dog watch), which is 2000. And, though we don't actually strike bells between taps and reveille anymore, midnight is "eight bells in the evening watch" and 0400 is "eight bells in the midwatch". Every four-hour watch period runs through the whole series of eight bells. As for the things that "went out" with the 19th Century, I'd venture most of them were replaced with something that had the same effect. For instance, we don't trim sails to control speed anymore, but we do have a helmsman or lee helmsman that does effectively the same thing.
Toggle Commented May 15, 2008 on The Language of the Sea at BlackFive
1 reply
Ugh. "Eight bells is 1600"? Only one out of the six times a day it's struck, you poseur! The good Colonel must have forgotten that the requirement that Marines be "capable mariners" went out in the 19th Century. Okay. At least they try....
Toggle Commented May 14, 2008 on The Language of the Sea at BlackFive
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