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Monday, November 24, 2008

England Expects...

One of the most interesting books in my library is a copy of the International Code of Signals published for the use of ships at sea by the British Board of Trade in 1899. I don’t know when or if later editions were published but there was, presumably not much further use of flag messaging after the invention of radio and signalling by morse code.
“Every schoolboy knows” that before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 Admiral Nelson sent a message to his fleet using flag hoists which read “
England expects that every man will do his duty”. My book has various sections, dealing with phrases, individual words, national flags, places around the world. The end papers contain fascinating advertisements of use to shipmasters such as “McInnes’s Anti-corrosive and Anti-fouling Compositions for Ships’ Bottoms. As used by Principal Companies at Home and Abroad. Contracts to the Admiralty. Sole Manufacturers: John McInnes & Son, 13 North Street, Liverpool. Another example: John Phillips & Co, 17 Anderston Quay, Glasgow, advertising cooking apparatus for use in steam ships.
Next time the Antiques Roadshow comes to Bristol I will try to take it for a valuation, hoping that it has increased from the fifteen shillings (£0.75) I originally paid for it, about 40 years ago!

From the three-letter codebook:-
KCQ – Crew have mutinied.
INP – I have been chased by disguised war vessel.
ETN – Do not approach the coast as it is mined!

Greetings from AEQC (Bristol)

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