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Nick names

I'm sure this must have been done already here, but I can't find it in a quick skirmish.

Chalkie White is obvious

Bomber Brown maybe after our illustrious test pilot

But why Bungy Williams??
Some of these are RN but some are from the OZ Navy, hope they help though

Darby Allen – there seems to have been a tradition of naming anyone with the surname Allen as “Darby Allen†both within the RN and the RAN for many years. Its origin is uncertain but perhaps it is a distortion of the old song 'Barbra Allen'. 'Darbies' is also the slang for handcuffs – but nothing to do with Allen?

Angry Anderson – after the Australian rock band singer.

Ma Baker or Dogs Baker. The first probably after the female US criminal featured in a 1970s song by the group Boney M. Dogs Baker may be a corruption of the British slang Doughy Baker, or a corruption of the name Dogs given to people with the surname Barker.

Dinger Bell – obviously a connection with ringing a bell. Daisy Bell is sometimes used – ‘daisy' is English slang for an excellent person or thing, but the connection to Bell is uncertain.

Wiggy Bennett – Possibly Wiggy is a corruption from the Bennet or Burnnet used as naval slang for your hair - late 40s/mid 50s - perhaps related to Cockney rhyming slang Barnett (Barnett Fair) = hair. Barnett Fair is a British tune.

Dicky Bird, or Tweety Bird.

Body or Boddy
Dogs Body

Brittan or similar names
Battler Brittan - a reference to the Battle of Britain, the aerial combat over Britain in WWII between the RAF and the Luftwaffe.

Bomber Brown - origin unknown. May be British circa WWI after Arthur Whittern, the English aviator who made the first flight across the Atlantic in 1919.

Chippy Carpenter or Karen Carpenter – the latter after the American singer-songwriter of the group The Carpenters.

Nobby Clark or Petula Clark – the latter after the British singer. A suggestion for the origin of “Nobby Clark†is the suggestion that during the Industrial Revolution many common people became wealthy and to identify with their wealth had the spelling of their names changed. Smith became Smythe, Brown became Browne and Clark became Clarke. Those of the Clark surname referred to their stuck-up relatives as aping the nobility, calling them the nobs or the Nobby Clarks.

Smoky Cole – obviously a reference to the smoke produced by burning coal. Or Nat Cole after the American singer Nat King Cole.

Ocker Collins. This might be a reference to the Australian Admiral John Collins of WWII. He was generally known as “Colleoni John†after the cruiser BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI, which was sunk by a force led by Collins. However, it may have been that the British Navy sailors referred to him as “Ocker†Collins – the term sometimes used to describe Australians - and the nickname was transferred into the RAN.

Jumper Cross (trying saying it fast)

Smokey Dawson, after the country and western singer.

Doris Day, after the American actress.

Eddie Edwards, perhaps after the eccentric British skier of the same name.

Dorrie Evans, after the character of the same name in the 1970s TV show Number 96. Sometimes Taff Evans as the Welsh people are often nicknamed.

Robin Finch – a robin being another type of bird to a finch.

Connie Francis – after the famous American singer of the 1950s and 60s.

Windy Gale

Flash Gordon, after the comic-strip character

Dolly Gray – origin unknown. Dolly Gray is from the first world war – some say Boer War - song with words including " Goodbye Dolly Gray".

Ben Hall – after the bushranger of the same name.

Henry Harris – origin unknown.

Harry Harrison (alliteration – or repetition of a consonant sound - but there’s also a famous writer of the same name)

Dutchy Holland. Anyone with the prefix “Van†in their name – as in Van Dieman†also merits “Dutchyâ€.

Tab Hunter. Tab Hunter was an actor and a singer. He had several top forty songs in the late 50's. He was a member of the US Coast Guard for some time.

Jesse James – after the famous gunman outlaw of the American West.

Spike Jones – Perhaps after Lindley Armstrong Jones, known as Spike Jones, who was born 1911 in Long Beach, California. He received his nickname "Spike" from his father’s employment at the Southern Pacific Railroad. In high school, Jones learnt the drums and went on to a distinguished career in the band The City Slickers which performed parodies of popular songs.

Ned Kelly – obviously after the bushranger

Gladys Knight – after the singer

Shady Lane

Jerry Lewis after the famous American comedian.

Shiner Light

Dodger Long, presumably “dodge alongâ€.

Swampy Marsh

Pincher Martin. There is a novel entitled Pincher Martin by William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. Originally titled The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin, it is apparently about a naval officer - the only survivor of a torpedoed ship - who struggles to survive on Rockall, a storm-lashed mid-Atlantic rock. Another source suggests it is older still: “Pincher Martin was a very alert officer who was C.-in-C., Med., 1860â€.

Dusty Miller – the dust of the flour mill.

Timber Mills.

Pony Moore – origin unknown. “Pony†is slang for 25 pounds sterling which may be related – as in “Pony up more pleaseâ€.

Spud Murphy. Murphy being a traditional Irish name, the connection is made with a staple item of the Irish diet.

Nosey Parker. The most usual origin suggested is the late Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Elizabeth I in the sixteenth century. He was a reforming cleric, noted for sending out detailed inquiries and instructions relating to the conduct of his diocese. Like many reformers, he was regarded as a busybody, or “one who sticks his nose into other people’s businessâ€. However, the flaw in this suggestion is that the term nosey Parker isn't recorded until 1907.

Whacker Payne – origin unknown, unless it’s something to do with the “pain†you get after being hit.

Digger Revell, after the Australian entertainer of the same name, who had a string of radio hits in the 1960s and toured Vietnam as an entertainer.

Jonty Rhodes, after the cricketer Jonathan Rhodes. In Britain usually known as Dusty Rhodes.

Tank Sherman – after the famous US Sherman tank of WWII.

Smudger Smith, or Smouch. World Wide Words suggests that perhaps this is to do with – of all things – fake tea. When tea first arrived in Britain from China in the 1660s it was extremely expensive, made much more so in the following century by customs duties which greatly encouraged smuggling. Its high price was a stimulus also to counterfeiters, who made imitation teas out of the dried leaves of hawthorn, ash, sloe and other native British plants. These were coloured with various noxious substances, such as verdigris and copperas, and sold to dealers under the slang name of smouch. So pervasive was this practice (one estimate is that three million pounds weight were being made each year at one point) that Parliament passed an Act in 1725 condemning it, not only because it cheated the Revenue but because it resulted in the "destruction of great quantities of timber, woods and underwoods". The source of the word is unknown, though it was also current in the same period as a dialect term for a kiss (hence the modern smooch), and as an offensive slang term for a Jew, and later turns up in the US as a verb meaning 'to acquire dishonestly; to pilfer' (for example, in Huckleberry Finn: "So I'll mosey along now, and smouch a couple of case-knives"). It may also be linked with smutch, a variant of smudge, 'to make dirty'. The connection with Smith or Smythe is obscure – it may be just the similar pronunciation of the first part of the words.

Stainless Steel. In the RN, usually Rusty Steele.

Sull Sullivan – one of the usual Australian contractions such as Thompson being known as Thommo. In the RN, Spike Sullivan.

Squizzy Taylor. Probably from the notorious Australian gangster who operated in Victoria in the 1920s. In the RN, Buck Taylor.

Sweeney Todd – after the famous fictional homicidal barber.

Phantom Walker, after the Phantom comics. For the unenlightened, the Phantom when in civilian disguise goes by the name of “Mr Walkerâ€. In the RN, Hooky Walker, or Johnny Walker after the Scotch.

Sharkey Ward – perhaps after the RN Combat Air Group commander on board HMS HERMES during the Falklands War. However, Sharkey Ward is possibly derived from a pirate of the West Indian and Caribbean seas.

Rabbit Warren. In the RN, Bunny Warren.

Doc Watson, after the Sherlock Holmes stories. In the RN, Soapy Watson.

Spider Webb

Rowdy Wells - origin unknown. Perhaps from the film The Dogfighters (1996) or from the story it might have been produced from. “When a power-mad physicist puts the earth in danger, the CIA calls on ex-Air Force pilot Rowdy Wells to foil the villainâ€. In the RN, Kitty Wells.

Knocker White. (Origin unknown). In the RN, also Darky White; in the British Royal Marines, Pinky White, also Chalky White or Snowy White.

Bungey or Bungy Williams - origin unknown. Some suggest there was a (1920s Australian?) gangster known as Bungey Williams. Or Andy Williams – after the singer.

Tug Wilson. The wonderful book Jackspeak tells us this is after an Admiral Wilson, who upon ordering a battleship to enter harbour, and observing the ship’s difficulties, offered caustically to its captain to have it towed into port with tugs.

Slinger Wood – presumably a reference to carrying wood.
Eddie Edwards, perhaps after the eccentric British skier of the same name.

Nah... well before him... but Eddie is an obvious short for Edward.

Ben Hall – after the bushranger of the same name.

Also Nobby Hall as in Nobby Clark.

Shiner Light

More likely Shiner Wright in RN

Good stuff in there....
Mateytate said:
Some of these are RN but some are from the OZ Navy, hope they help though

Ocker Collins. This might be a reference to the Australian Admiral John Collins of WWII. He was generally known as “Colleoni John†after the cruiser BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI, which was sunk by a force led by Collins. However, it may have been that the British Navy sailors referred to him as “Ocker†Collins – the term sometimes used to describe Australians - and the nickname was transferred into the RAN.

I thought Collins was Jumper :!:

Mateytate, you qoted, some nicknames date from the fifties but many are older than Nelson. God Bless His Soul :!:


Mateytate said:
Some of these are RN but some are from the OZ Navy, hope they help though.......

Awful lot of female fornames amongst that lot! Life on an Aussie ship must be most interesting with Doris, Petula, Gladys, Karen, Connie and Dolly.

Seriously can't think of any similar use of female names in the RN although I did hear an officer called Taylor referred to as Liz recently but officers is different. :D

Pusser Hill

Harry Tate (Old-time music hall comic)

Pat Garrett (cowboy)
Apart from Jumper Collins, there was also Jumper Cross.

Depending on what sort of bloke he was, he may also have been called "Double".
There was Bagsy Baker, Bungy Williams,Edwards, Bunny Warren , Buck Taylor, but as has been stated there are a lot older Nicknames than those quoted.


War Hero
Buster Brown, Jumper Collins/Collings, Happy Day, Nobby Hall, Chats Harris, Jimmy James, Ned or Spider Kelly, Bogey Knight, Bomber Mills, Jimmy Green, Danny Kay/Keay, Cobber Cain/Cane/Kane, Florrie Ford, Soapy Hudson, Nev Chamberlain, Pricky Price, Jeff Chandler, Pusser Hill, Jimmy Young, Jesse Owens, Pansy Potter, Shiner Wright, Rattler Morgan, Doc Livingstone, plus many of those named above, were in common use in my time ('52-'75), but I guess they evolve as a name comes into public prominence, and fade as it is forgotten, or replaced.
For instance Bogey Knight being replaced by Gladys Knight.
Just feel sorry for anyone with the name Hoon, doomed to be known throughout his service career as TCH.

We had a Greenie with the surname Gay, he had a twin brother. Our one was nicknamed 'Marvin', his brother 'Izzy'. :oops:

We had a mess with several female names. The aforementioned 'Julie' (real name Julian) Andrews, 'Toyah' Wilcox to name but two. 'Lindsay' Buckingham (male or female spelling) after the singer from Fleetwood Mac.

In another mess we had a 'Spiney' Norman, named after the Monty Python (invisible) character.

There was a split on the Frigate (HMS Brilliant) featured on the fly-on-the-wall TV series a couple of years ago who was nicknamed 'Sucks', her surname... Allcock! :shock:

'Pincher' Martin - had a penchant for touching young ratings bottoms
'Wiggy' Bennet - wig maker to the Admiralty
'Artie' Shaw - recently deceased Jazz musician
'Chilly' or 'Chilly Chuff' Winterbottom - obvious
'Spider' Widdow/Widdowson - black widdow spider
'Bomber' Harris - I/C Bomber Command RAF in WWII
'Chats' Harris - first reported case of the disease VD found on a naval rating named Harris in Chatham dockyard
'Sharkey' White - great white shark

Other names are after famous football heros, TV & film stars, etc. :idea:


Lantern Swinger
Had a young stoker join the 'Leander' back in the seventies called Silkwood and was a bit gobby. The killiks decided to call him Tosser. when he asked if it was a common nick name for Silkwood, he was told 'No you're just a Tosser. He didn't like his new title so complained to the Engineer. That nights Daily Orders informed the Ships Company to refrane from calling JMEM Silkwood a Tosser. And obviously we obeyed. If you are still out there Tosser, Get in touch!
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