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date: 15 April 2024

The Navy 

  1. A bloody war and a sickly season.
    naval toast in the time of Nelson
    Anonymous: W. N. T. Beckett A Few Naval Customs, Expressions, Traditions, and Superstitions (1931) ‘Customs’
  2. We want eight, and we won't wait.
    on the construction of Dreadnoughts
    Anonymous: popular slogan, in Times 29 March 1909
  3. A willing foe and sea room.
    naval toast in the time of Nelson
    Anonymous: W. N. T. Beckett A Few Naval Customs, Expressions, Traditions, and Superstitions (1931) ‘Customs’
  4. My only great qualification for being put at the head of the Navy is that I am very much at sea.
    Edward Carson 1854–1935 British lawyer and politician: Ian Colvin Life of Lord Carson (1936)
  5. It is upon the navy under the good Providence of God that the safety, honour, and welfare of this realm do chiefly depend.
    Charles II 1630–85 British monarch, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660: ‘Articles of War’ preamble (probably a popular paraphrase); Geoffrey Callender The Naval Side of British History (1952) pt. 1, ch. 8
  6. Naval tradition?. Monstrous. Nothing but rum, sodomy, prayers, and the lash.
    often quoted as ‘rum, sodomy, and the lash’, as in Peter Gretton Former Naval Person (1968)
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: Harold Nicolson, diary, 17 August 1950
  7. I must have the gentleman to haul and draw with the mariner, and the mariner with the gentleman…I would know him, that would refuse to set his hand to a rope, but I know there is not any such here.
    Francis Drake c.1540–96 English sailor and explorer: J. S. Corbett Drake and the Tudor Navy (1898) vol. 1, ch. 9
  8. Heart of oak are our ships,
    Heart of oak are our men:
    We always are ready;
    Steady, boys, steady;
    We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.
    David Garrick 1717–79 English actor-manager: Harlequin's Invasion (1759) ‘Heart of Oak’ (song)
  9. Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.
    Samuel Johnson 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 10 April 1778
  10. If blood be the price of admiralty,
    Lord God, we ha' paid in full!
    Rudyard Kipling 1865–1936 English writer and poet: ‘The Song of the Dead’ (1896)
  11. When I came to explain to them the ‘Nelson touch’, it was like an electric shock.
    Horatio, Lord Nelson 1758–1805 British admiral: letter to Lady Hamilton, 1 October 1805
  12. In case signals cannot be seen, or perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy.
    Horatio, Lord Nelson 1758–1805 British admiral: memorandum to commanders of ships before the battle of Trafalgar, 10 October 1805, in The Naval Chronicle vol. 14 (1805)
  13. May humanity after Victory be the predominant feature of the British Fleet.
    Horatio, Lord Nelson 1758–1805 British admiral: diary entry, on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805; Nicholas Harris Nicolas (ed.) Dispatches and Letters of…Nelson (1846) vol. 7, p. 139
  14. Don't cheer, men; those poor devils are dying.
    Jack Philip 1840–1900 American naval captain: at the Battle of Santiago, 4 July 1898; in Dictionary of American Biography vol. 14 (1934) ‘John Woodward Philip’
  15. Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive. And with it, everything honorable and glorious.
    George Washington 1732–99 American statesman, 1st President 1789–97: to Lafayette, 15 November 1781