Corporal of the Gangway

Discussion in 'History' started by Gino, Apr 3, 2007.

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  1. I know this term derives from Royal Marine corporals posted at the gangways of capital ships to enforce discipline. I'm wondering if the term is still used in the RN and if so in what context. In the Canadian Navy for the past many years it has been used synonymously with Quarter Master for the senior brow watchkeeper in harbour, normally a leading rate. The term has fallen into disuse though in recent years.
  2. Think Big -----------------ie Big ships usually had two brows alongside and also sometimes at anchor or on a buoy .

    The Fwd Brow was for the Senior Rates and the junior rates,stores etc etc

    After brow was the Officers . After brow ran the ships routines with the QM
    Bos'n Mate and messenger and also on call was a bugler .
    Fwd Brow was manned by Reg staff and maybe a RM .
    However in the bad old days they had a RM duty watch available for call out if they needed some strong arm stuff to control unruly J/r's coming off shore.

    Don't think the 'RM Corporal ' has been used for a very long time !
  3. You didnt have to be a cpl to do the job when i was in and at sea you were quaterdeck look out a job that rates as the worst yet for boredom :cry: how anyone in thier right mind expects you to see anyone fall overboard at night is beyond me just about summed up the brain and thought power of the navy :roll:
  4. It was still in use on the Invincible in the mid 90's, the forward gangway killick was called the C.O.G. to stop any confusion with the Q.M. on the after gangway, mainly as he still made all the pipes and so forth.
    The forward gangway also had a junior officer up there as well, normally one of the observers off the Sea King squadron. All four watches of killick's were drawn from different branch's, ie WE, ME, etc. Wasn't too bad life for a LWEM(O) up there, until the windchill in Trieste brought the temp down to minus 25 degrees. Not a happy bunny that night.... Through the 2 Ringer up with us did a bloody good job of supplying us with hot drinks all night.
  5. G'day Terry.

    Your job as "Lifebuoy Sentry" on the quarterdeck, was a very serious job, not a frivolous as you seem to think it was.

    It wasn't in fact only, to look out for any-one going overboard, it was also to answer the man over board alarm, as the OOW, one of the lookouts , signalman, bridge messenger, Bosun's mate, etc. shouting "man over board to port , or starboard", by trying to catch sight of him as the ship moved fora-rd, and then throw the nearest lifebuoy to whichever side they had called out, whence the light on the life buoy would light up showing the approx position of the unlucky sod in the water, who would swim towards the light, if it was at night, whilst the ship went on then turned hard over to come back on a course to pick him /her up.

    You were also there to report that the stern light was burning brightly "SIR", or other wise, when asked from the bridge or the killick of the watch, when he visited you periodically (or is that not done in our U Beaut. Modern Navy") Also to keep your own eyes on anyone who came onto the quarter deck at night especially if it was rough and someone could be crook and leaning over the guard rails, or someone throwing gash down the gash chute at night. [dear john letters, and photos of the lost love] lol.

    Whilst on the Salisbury [note "ON". the Salisbury lol] we had to do this drill many times as on this particular ship, one of the Skippers favourite tricks to keep every one of the crew on their toes was to ask his killick steward for a shake about 0340hr. , with a quick cuppa Ki ready made, his brown overalls, white Gym shoes and a towel ready to go round his neck laid out for him , he would dress, saunter past the wheelhouse say good morning to the QM and who ever else was in the wheel house, go up onto the bridge without saying anything to the OOW , walk over to either the port/starboard lookout, and jump over the side, they would shout "Man over board starboard/port and ring the man overboard alarm, lifebuoy sentry repeated this, to let then know that he had heard and understood and the lifebuoy was over the correct side, and the rescue was on. It may be an EPERB now instead of a lifebuoy, however the lifebuoy would give you more comfort to hang on to lol.

    As soon as either the shout or the alarm went, the bunting tosser, would switch on the 18" Aldis lamp on whatever side he was needed, then pick up the light of the buoy, sweeping the water for the man floating (hopefully) and keeping the light on him as the ship ran on turning as she went, until the ship got back, to pick him up. Big ships may need the 24" Aldis to keep the light in sight as they need more of a turn before coming back.

    So my friend what you may have thought to be a gash job and a wee bit of a "Bore" was in fact one of the most important of the "Watch on Deck", I do know that some killicks gave it to ODs and some-one they didn't care much about, but they were really showing incompetence in their understanding of their duty as Killick of the watch. Think how you would have felt if you being half asleep hadn't head the shout, or the alarm?? and one of the crew died, or again, think how you would have felt if some-one lived because of your quickness in spotting him and getting the ring into his reach, and he was rescued because of you. I know what I would have liked to be known as.

    regards pingie.

    PS. It could be boring though eh????? lol
  6. Still the same now on HM finest vessels (CVS)

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