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Designed by:

Johnny E. Balsved


Navy life and humour

When I was a lad

Most naval history, the parts that have inspired books, is about magnificent ships, epic tales of heroism, naval battles, clever admirals and heroes.

A quick look at the source material contained in this website proves the point.

However, the opening lines of the song "When I was a lad" from Gilbert and Sullivan's famous opera HMS Pinafore, leaves one with the distinct impression that sometimes even an admiral's career path has humble beginnings:

  "When I was a lad I served a term
as office boy to an Attorney’s firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door,
I polished up the handle so carefullee
That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navee!"


The Training "Ship" LAPPEDYKKEREN

The "practice ship" LAPPEDYKKEREN (tachybaptus ruficollis) at the Navy's school for new recruits in Auderoed.
(Photo: Christian Isaksen)

Most recruits entering the navy during the last 50 years have set foot on the deck of a ship which still has not been honoured with a place in The Navy's annals even though many sailors have fond memories about it.

This is the "practice ship" LAPPEDYKKEREN (L01) (tachybaptus ruficollis) still solidly aground at its usual location on the lawn of the Navy’s school for new recruits.

Daily Life in the Navy

This is not just about admirals and warship commanders.

It is also very much about the many officers of the reserve, sergeants and sailors who have played a big role in the history of the Navy.

These pages will have amble room for the individual story, the sailor's story, tales of adventures or oddities, as well as the humour which ads spice to the daily life in the Navy.

Provide your own contribution to Navy life and humour

Do you have a good story from your days in the Navy, experiences you have had, small or large, do you have photos or did you just happen to have come across your grand-fathers' diary?

Or, if you just have a funny little story about daily life in the Navy, please send it to us.

"Does the Lieutenant
permit the sun to set?"
(Sketch by af Bo Bojesen)

My own story about my first day in the Navy

I was just a skinny lad when I entered the gates of the Navy's basic school for new recruits in 1964.

7th company, class 4/64 had arrived.

After two hours I was still a skinny lad, but now dressed in a dark blue uniform, trying in vain to figure out how the confounded sailor's collar should be worn.

A round hat was awkwardly placed on my head and then off to the obligatory photo session.

I looked like a fool!

The civilian clothes were stuffed into a paper bag.

A loud mouthed corporal and an ungainly sea bag containing all kinds of soldierly equipment were now my only companions.

My new life in the Navy had just started.

Orlogsflaget hejses...

Displaying the colors.

Tasting meal approved

As a messenger on the training ship ÆGIR, I reported to the galley to pick up the daily tasting meal.

Made the trip to the bridge where the duty officer tasted and approved the delicacies.

Always wondered what would have happened if the meal had not been approved?

Then, having secured the duty officer's written approval, proceeded downstairs to the commanding officer’s quarters, knocked on the door as per naval regulations and, having been allowed to enter, stood at attention and reported, almost chanting:

"If the Captain pleases,
the chronometer has been wound and
the tasting meal has been approved.
Does the captain permit
that the crew dines?"

Normally the captain would give his permission, following which I would make my way backwards out through the door and return to the bridge to inform the officer on duty that the captain had permitted the crew to dine...

Translated by J. D. Nielsen

- Do you miss a major event on this Site,
or do you hold a great story?

Are you able to contribute to the unfolding of the Danish Naval History,
please e-mail me, enclosures are welcome.
Please remember to list your sources.

You can also use the Naval Web Forum on this web-site.

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This page was last updated: September 10, 2007

This page was first published: September 16, 2001

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