Select the begining alphbetical letter:      

GALLEY
(1) The kitchen in a ship
(2) A single-banked six-oared pulling boat, otherwise known as a GIG. Until
1949 one of the boats was provided in most of the bigger HM ships as the
Captain's gallery; the companion boat provided in a flagship for the use of
the Admiral was known as the Admiral's Gig.

The name Galley may be a corruption of GILLIWATTE which was the name of the
Captain's boat in the 1600 period; another possible corruption of the word
Gilliwatte is Jolly Boat.


GALLEY PACKET
Maritime slang name for Rumour, from the time honoured belief of rumours
starting in the galley.


GAMMIES
Old sailor's slang name for Raisins.


GARLAND
WEDDING GARLAND
It is an old naval custom to hoist a garland (usually between foremast and
mainmast) on the wedding day of an officer of the ship; the garland consists
of two loops of evergreen, forming a sort of sphere, with white satin ribbon
streamers hanging from the base.


The custom is said to have its origin in the days when wives and sweethearts
were allowed on board a ship on her return to port from sea; very little work
was done for the first two or three days and a garland was hoisted to
indicate that the ship was `out of routine' and was not to be boarded by the
Officer-of-the-Guard on his tour of inspection.


The wedding garland custom properly culminates in the garland being put in
the bridegroom's cabin for him to find there on his return from his
honeymoon; the white satin ribbon is then the perquisite of the bride.


GASH
Naval slang noun or adjective meaning Superfluous.


GAUNTLET
TO RUN THE GAUNTLET
An old naval expression meaning to take a risk of receiving severe
punishment. It comes from the old naval punishment awarded to men convicted
of theft, when the offender made his way between two ranks of men each of
whom was provide with a rope's end with which to belabour him; the offender
was prevented from running too quickly by the Master-At-Arms holding a sword
to the offender's breast.


GEN
Common slang name for official information. Originally a naval slang word

(derived from General Signal).


GENS
In earlier days this slang word invariably meant General Leave; now it more
often means General Drill or General Quarters.


GENDER
GENDER OF HM SHIPS
Ships are always feminine, whatever their names.


The classical author, Plautus (second century BC), wrote:
"If a man is looking for trouble he only has to buy a ship or take a wife;
both of them will always need trimming".


GIBBY
Old sailors' along (now obsolete) for a spoon.



GILL
The Weights and Measures Act (1878) defines a gill as a quarter of a pint;
this is what it is in the Navy. But by local custom, mainly in the North of
England, the word Gill is sometimes used - quite incorrectly - to describe a
half-pint.


GILT
TO KNOCK THE GILT OFF THE GINGERBREAD
A common expression of nautical origin meaning to spoil the best part of a
thing or story. In the old days in Germany, gingerbread was always on sale at
the country fairs and traditionally was splashed with gilt to make its
appearance more attractive. From this custom, the gilded and painted carvings
at the bows, stern and entrance ports of sailing ships of war came to be
known as "gingerbread work". To knock the gilt off this gingerbread not only
incurred the displeasure of the ship's captain but often, owing to the age
and condition of the ship, damaged the best part of the vessel.


GLORY
THE GLORY HOLE
In the Navy, any repository for general untidinesses.


GLOVES
OFFICERS' GLOVES
The wearing of brown leather gloves was the norm for our period, rather than
the white gloves now in abeyance.


GRABBIES
A sailors' slang name for Soldiers.


GRACE
Grace before and after dinner in the wardrooms of HM ships and naval
establishments is invariably said by a Chaplain if present; if no Chaplain is
present, the mess president says grace. Grace is not normally said before or
after other meals in the Navy. No one form of wording is any more usual than
another.


GRAIN
An old (XVII century) word for the line of water ahead of a ship along which
she will pas: the opposite to WAKE.


GRANNY
GRANNY KNOT
A reef knot incorrectly tied (strands crossed the wrong way); but this knot
is correct when tying two pieces of small chain together.


GRAPE
GRAPE SHOT
A series of layers of iron balls kept in place round a central spindle by
holes in (or indentations in either side or) circular iron plates which would
just fit the bore of the appropriate cannon. When the shot was fired the
balls freed themselves from their retaining plates and scattered. Also known
as TIER SHOT.


GRAPNEL
Although a grapnel is indeed an iron-clawed instrument thrown, on the end of
a rope, to seize an object, a boat's grapnel in the Navy is the length of
rope used in a boat as a bow-rope or `painter'.


A Creeper is a grapnel used for dragging the sea-bottom.


GRAVING
GRAVING DOCK
In the old days, to grave a ship was much the same thing as to careen her. So
when the first dry dock was made - at Portsmouth in 1495 (where the VICTORY
is now berthed) - it was called a Graving dock.


GREEN
JIMMY GREEN
Naval slang name for a greenhorn.


STICKY GREEN
Officers' slang name for Creme de Menthe.


GROG
GROG is the mixture of one-eighth of a pint (1 gill) of rum with ¼ºping of
water (i.e., 1 part rum, 2 parts water) issued as a daily ration to all
ratings below Petty Officer of and over the age of 20 years who desire it;
CPOs and POs draw their rum neat; men entitled to the rum or grog issue who
do not draw it receive GROG MONEY (21/- per part or) in lieu; officers are
not entitled to the daily ration of rum or grog. Grog money was increased to
3d per day in 1919; prior to then it had been 1s/7d per month.


In 1740 Admiral Vernon (commonly known as "Old Grog" because of the cloak he
habitually wore, made of a coarse kind of taffeta called Grogram) introduce
the watering-down of the sailors' rum; the watered rum accordingly soon
achieved the name of Grog. In 1740 the issue was ? pint of rum mixed with 1
quart of water, issued in the forenoon and again in the evening; the evening
issue was stopped in 1824 and the ration of rum reduced to one gill in 1850.
Two-water grog replaced three-water grog early in 1937.


GUMPERS
Sailors' slang (ephemeral) for sentimental.


GUTS
It is an old naval saying that "Midshipmen have guts, ward room officers have
stomachs, but flag officers have palates"!


GUN
COURT-MARTIAL GUN
The Court-Martial gun (known unofficially as the "Rogue's Salute" or a "One-
gun salute") is the signal gun fired at `Colours' on the morning of the day
on which a naval court-martial has been ordered to assemble. A Union flag is
flown from the peak halliards (at the yard arm in a single-masted ship) while
the Court is sitting.


In bygone days it was customary to fire a gun to muster on deck all hands in
all ships present to witness a yard-arm execution; a yellow flag was hoisted
and kept flying until the sentence has been carried out. When keel-hauling
was a recognised punishment, a single gun was fired over the head of the
malefactor as he was about to emerge from the water, `which is done as well
to astonish him the more with the thunder thereof, which much troubles him,
as to give warning unto all others to look out and beware of his harm'.


THE GUN ROOM
The usual name for the `young gentlemen's' mess in the old days was the
"Midshipmen's Berth" (or Berths, for there were usually several of these in a
large ship). The newest joined lads were sometimes put in charge of the
Gunner and lived in his sanctum, known as the Gunroom, where pistols,
muskets, etc., were stored; the lads moved thence to a Midshipmen's Berth
when they were rated midshipmen.


Later, all junior officers messed in the Midshipmen's Berth(s) and
Lieutenants in the Gunroom (right aft, beneath the Captain's cabin).

SON OF A GUN
Although frequently used as meaning a "good fellow", this is really an old
naval expression casting aspersions on a man's parentage. In the days when
women were allowed on board during a ship's stay in port, the gun decks were
often the scenes of debauchery; and if a male child was born he was called a
Son of a Gun. An old description of such is "he was begotten in the galley
and born under a gun: every hair a rope yarn, every finger a fish-hook, every
tooth a marline spike and his blood right good Stockholm tar"; he would be
christened "Tom Bowline" or "Bill Backstay" or some such name. Tom Bowline
was a famous character who died of wounds in 1790 and was buried at Haslar;
he went ashore once in seventeen years.


GUNWHALE
The name (pronounced GUN'L) given to the uppermost line of planking of a
boat's sides. In the old ships the upper tier of guns used to fire over the
top planking which was therefore specially strengthened by "whales".

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