8-year-old asks former 1SL "What is the Navy?"

#1
London Evening Standard 17 Oct 2011 said:
A former head of the Navy has expressed "horror" at youngsters' lack of knowledge of the armed forces after a chance encounter on the Tube. Admiral Lord West, the former Labour security minister and First Sea Lord, was travelling to an engagement at St Paul's Cathedral in full military attire when confronted by a group of schoolchildren.

An eight-year-old boy was intrigued by his uniform, complete with medals and gold epaulettes and asked him what he did. Lord West, 63, who was travelling on the Central line from Bond Street, said: "I'm in the Navy." To which the boy replied: "What is the Navy?"...
Strange to think that we have been involved in at least two major conflicts throughout this boy's life.

Perhaps this story is not quite what it seems but but when I was eight, I could certainly rattle off most of the ships in the Royal Navy, regiments in the British Army and types of aircraft flown by the RAF. Airfix and the usual boys' comics had a lot to answer for. =)
 
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#2
Kids don't have the same fascinations and perceptions of the armed forces that we did in our youth. All the G.I joe's and airfix kits that you and I used to play with are disappearing.

And bloody right too. No eight year old should know the ins and outs of the forces...Sure they should at least know they exist but fact that an eight year old does not know of a navy when the army and airfarce experience exceptional exposure in the press is not a major concern. Eight year olds should be concerned with other things.

This is nothing more than a cheap ploy by the navy to drum up national support for a force that believes its losing out to the other two. Christ anyone would think Nott was defence secretary again.

I dont want my pre-teen youth to have any opinions of the forces. It is the only part of life when we are free from the horrible circumstance of man.

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Earlychop.
 
#3
As you say, a British eight-year-old should at least know of the Royal Navy's (and Merchant Navy's) existence and their significance to us as an island nation, even if he/she doesn't know the "ins and outs of the forces".
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#4
NG: I think you over-estimate the youth of today. I've served with young lads/lasses who don't even know their own BFPO number... :oops:
 
G

guestm

Guest
#5
As you say, a British eight-year-old should at least know of the Royal Navy's (and Merchant Navy's) existence and their significance to us as an island nation, even if he/she doesn't know the "ins and outs of the forces".
We live in different times. As Easychop said, kids don't care about the Armed Forces.
 
#6
Kids don't have the same fascinations and perceptions of the armed forces that we did in our youth. All the G.I joe's and airfix kits that you and I used to play with are disappearing.

And bloody right too. No eight year old should know the ins and outs of the forces...Sure they should at least know they exist but fact that an eight year old does not know of a navy when the army and airfarce experience exceptional exposure in the press is not a major concern. Eight year olds should be concerned with other things.

This is nothing more than a cheap ploy by the navy to drum up national support for a force that believes its losing out to the other two. Christ anyone would think Nott was defence secretary again.

I dont want my pre-teen youth to have any opinions of the forces. It is the only part of life when we are free from the horrible circumstance of man.

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Earlychop.
I have to disagree EC, why shouldn't an eight year old know about the ins and outs of the forces? As opposed to an eight year old who is being used to deliver crack because he is less likely to be stopped by the police, or an eight year old who spends his waking hours in front of an X Box or crap TV because his or her parents don't give a damn as long as they're not under their feet.

If an eight year old is the son or daughter of someone who is/was in the forces I would expect them to be curious. I grew up knowing all about the armed forces (brother, father, stepdad, grandfather, all the way back to Trafalgar), it hasn't made me a serial killer...or it hasn't yet, I suppose there is still time :)

I agree that it doesn't matter that a child doesn't know, but it does not make them less of a child in knowing...
 
#7
I have to disagree EC, why shouldn't an eight year old know about the ins and outs of the forces? As opposed to an eight year old who is being used to deliver crack because he is less likely to be stopped by the police, or an eight year old who spends his waking hours in front of an X Box or crap TV because his or her parents don't give a damn as long as they're not under their feet.

If an eight year old is the son or daughter of someone who is/was in the forces I would expect them to be curious. I grew up knowing all about the armed forces (brother, father, stepdad, grandfather, all the way back to Trafalgar), it hasn't made me a serial killer...or it hasn't yet, I suppose there is still time :)

I agree that it doesn't matter that a child doesn't know, but it does not make them less of a child in knowing...
Perhaps I refer to a kindred childhood that no longer exists. :(

I simply infer that the possibility of a child traveling on the tube not knowing the purpose of the armed forces is not a national tragedy, despite what 1SL's PR "dept" might think.
 
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G

guestm

Guest
#8
Kids don't care because the Navy is boring. Ben 10, football and WWE / ponies, gymnastics and X factor are infinitely more interesting so I'm reliably informed by the little shits.
 

Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
#9
"8-year-old asks former 1SL "What is the Navy?" "

I ask myself the same question regularly, and by the look of the Newbies forum, so do many AIB applicants too...
 
#13
=============================================

=============================================

Admirals on public transport in rig? Just for those not yet at a certain age...



Once upon a time an Admiral at a railway concourse was approached by a portly Bishop who was also in his Nos. Ones.

Bishop inquires: 'Is this the correct plarform for the 11.30 to Canterbury?'

Admiral replies: 'It certainly is, but is it really wise of you to travel in your condition, Madam?'
 
#14
"8-year-old asks former 1SL "What is the Navy?" "

I ask myself the same question regularly, and by the look of the Newbies forum, so do many AIB applicants too...
Allegedly, Lord West replied:
"....I told him the Navy was there to protect our country and our merchant shipping and looked after us all."

The Journo headlined this as the boy being given a History Lesson.:-|

Surely this had to be either an English vocabulary or a Current Affairs issue?



Minimised as the Andrew has become, I'd hope that the answer to 'What is the Navy?' is not yet purely a History topic.
 

Ageing_Gracefully

War Hero
Moderator
Review Editor
Book Reviewer
#15
It's a fair enough question. I bet there are quite a few senior officers who would have to give that some thought before trying to answer.
 
#16
I think that the problem may lie in the fact that Admiral Lord West said that he was "In the Navy". It isn't that the schoolchildren wouldn't understand what he had done in his career, it's that the expression "The Navy" is quite a complex idea for an 8-year-old. "Merchant Shipping" is also something an 8-year-old wouldn't understand.

If he had said that he was a "Sailor", the schoolchildren would have understood. They would have probably asked him where his ship was, as "ship" is a word which 8-year-olds understand and they know that "sailors" have "ships". These are all words to which they have been introduced at school, partly because these things feature in the books which are used to teach little children to read.

It's worth bearing in mind how the frame of reference of an 8-year-old is constructed. If something doesn't feature in the National Curriculum in the early years of education, if a child is unlikely to hear a word on television or see depictions of what a particular word encapsulates, if the books/websites he/she looks at do not mention something or if his/her parents have no reason to mention the Navy or the Armed Forces in general, there is a real possibility that this is something of which the child will be unaware.

Clearly, the offspring of many Rum Rationers will have learned the word "Navy" at an early age, due to their parents' employment, but children from outside such circles may well not know it.
 
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#17
I think that the problem may lie in the fact that Admiral Lord West said that he was "In the Navy". It isn't that the schoolchildren wouldn't understand what he had done in his career, it's that the expression "The Navy" is quite a complex idea for an 8-year-old. "Merchant Shipping" is also something an 8-year-old wouldn't understand.

If he had said that he was a "Sailor", the schoolchildren would have understood. They would have probably asked him where his ship was, as "ship" is a word which 8-year-olds understand and they know that "sailors" have "ships". These are all words to which they have been introduced at school, partly because these things feature in the books which are used to teach little children to read.

It's worth bearing in mind how the frame of reference of an 8-year-old is constructed. If something doesn't feature in the National Curriculum in the early years of education, if a child is unlikely to hear a word on television or see depictions of what a particular word encapsulates, if the books/websites he/she looks at do not mention something or if his/her parents have no reason to mention the Navy or the Armed Forces in general, there is a real possibility that this is something of which the child will be unaware.

Clearly, the offspring of many Rum Rationers will have learned the word "Navy" at an early age, due to their parents' employment, but children from outside such circles may well not know it.
Don't you just hate female logic :bunny:
 

jockpopeye

Lantern Swinger
Book Reviewer
#19
Sols reply is too sensible.
Said 8 year old was simply befuddling the old gent with biting post SDSR sarcasm, whilst on of his mates tried to swipe some of the Admirals bling.

Alternatively the Admiral should have come back with somthing within the kidders frame of reference, "What is the Navy? Why we're a mega team of blue power rangers, who stop bad men from stealing your Bakugan... ... incidentaly do you know if your teacher likes it up the ricker? Never mind, I'll find out for myself"
 
#20
Sols reply is too sensible.
Said 8 year old was simply befuddling the old gent with biting post SDSR sarcasm, whilst on of his mates tried to swipe some of the Admirals bling.

Alternatively the Admiral should have come back with somthing within the kidders frame of reference, "What is the Navy? Why we're a mega team of blue power rangers, who stop bad men from stealing your Bakugan... ... incidentaly do you know if your teacher likes it up the ricker? Never mind, I'll find out for myself"
OMG if i had a time machine I would go back and post this.
 
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