- Letter Writer
- WWII operations, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 2000 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Reading Roger Puttman’s letter (NHR 20-2) and his shared complaint concerning the loss of sea language put me in mind of an incident aboard Quiberon during Arch Harrington’s command during the war.
In those days we had a very large searchlight, mounted on the superstructure over the gear room, which had never been used, at least in my time. Harrington decided he’d like to see if it still worked and so one evening, I can’t recall where, it was to be lit.
The order from the bridge was given, clear and explicit: “BURN SEARCHLIGHT”! Wonderful, it worked and it was flashed about beautifully. But then, to turn it off! Nelson didn’t have searchlights, so how to say it? I don’t know who came up with the answer but it could not have been done better:- “DOUSE THE BEAM!”
Beautiful in its succinctness.
Christopher Daniell, A.B.(Ret)
[Ed: “Arch” must have forgotten his early training! The proper orders were “clear, explicit” and “beautiful in their succinctness “. I used them!
“OPEN SHUTTER “. “CLOSE SHUTTER”!
The light was generated between two carbon rods and was switched on behind the shutter when the crew “closed up”.
When OPEN SHUTTER was ordered, there was no delay in exposing that intense beam.]