A Seaman’s Pocket Book June 1943
At the height of the Second World War this small pocket-book was issued to all ratings on board ships of the Royal Navy. In straight period prose it outlines all the basic expressions and tasks a seaman needed to know to perform his duties efficiently.
Chapters are broken down into: Sea Terms; Navigation; Steering the Ship; Rigging; Anchors and Cables; Boatwork; Miscellaneous (which includes details on uniform and folding a hammock, etc); and Ship Safety. Functional black line illustrations are used throughout, as well as a few pages of colour (used sparingly) for flag recognition.
Faithfully reproduced, with a short introduction by Brian Lavery, which explains the importance of a book like this to a navy that had to take on vast numbers of civilians or Hostilities Only men to meet the manning needs of the war, this volume provides a real mixture of wartime nostalgia and historical authenticity. It makes a world now lost to us accessible again, explaining as it does the terms, skills and conventions of ship board life, a life that required a common language, and where failure to respond to orders instantly could mean the difference between life and death.