Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle
Ottawa Citizen, 14 May, 1963 By the Canadian Press
The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication [in 1963] it plans to drop them.
The call is a two-note musical instrument used to pipe orders. The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication it plans to drop them.
The pipes still in use are the "still," "carry on," "general call," "pipe the side," "dinner," and "pipe down." The pipes which have fallen into disuse have to do mainly with heaving and hoisting; for instance, "heave round the capstan."
No one, with the exception of the Queen, is entitled to a pipe unless in naval uniform, "pipe the side" is jealously guarded as a mark of respect. It has its origin in the pipe used for hoisting a person in or out of ship by means of a yard-arm whip and boatswain's chair when the ship is at sea.
Started in Crusades
"Pipe down" means "hands turn in."
Every sailor must know how to use the call and how to pipe orders.
The use of the call dates back to the days of the Crusades, 1248 AD. The call was worn as an honoured badge of rank, probably because it had always been used to pass orders. It was worn as the badge of office of the Lord High Admiral of England between 1485 and 1562. It has been known as the boatswain's call since about 1671. Today the call is the badge of the Chief Boatswain's mate, quartermasters and boatswain's mates.
A naval tradition resulting from piping of orders is that whistling is forbidden in ships lest it be confused with the sound of the call.
- The Boatswain's Call
- Boatswain's call History, Timeline, Examples and More.
- Wikipedia - Boatswain's call