(June 18th to 24th)

Format: Triple

‘…In the balmy dawnin’ it was given out, all among the ‘olystones, by our sub-lootenant, who was a three-way-discharge devil, that all orders after eight bells was to be executed in inverse ration to the cube o’ the velocity. “The reg’lar routine,” he says, “was arrogated for reasons o’ state an’ policy…”


This is from “The Bonds of Discipline” in Traffics and Discoveries. In his own inimitable style, Petty-Officer Pyecroft is recounting the tale of a French spy who got on board HMS Archimandrite disguised as a Portuguese castaway. The crew discover his identity, and put on a show of indisciplined and eccentric behaviour, so as to confuse and baffle him and his masters.

“Get out of this and conduct your own damned manoeuvres in your own damned tinker fashion ! You’re a disgrace to the service, and your boat’s offal.” …”I shall take these as my orders” said Mr Moorshed.


This is from “Their Lawful Occasions” in Traffics and Discoveries, another naval tale in which Pyecroft figures large. Mr Moorshed, the commander of a small elderly torpedo boat, has fallen foul of the Admiral’s flagship, and received a broadside of abuse. He is determined to get his revenge, and in the naval exercise that follows suceeds in putting two large cruisers of the rival fleet ‘out of action’ .

‘What’s her speed ?’ he demanded of the engineer.
‘Twenty-five’, said that loyal man.
‘Easy to run ? ‘
‘No: very difficult,’ was the emphatic answer.
‘That just shows you ain’t fit for your rating. D’you suppose that a man who earns his livin’ by runnin’ 30-knot destroyers for a parstime – for a parstime mark you ! – is going to lie down before any blighted land-crabbin’ steam-pinnace on springs ?’


This is from “Steam Tactics” in Traffics and Discoveries. Henry Hinchliffe, first class engine-room artificer and Emanuel Pyecroft, on leave from their ship, have encountered the narrator and his steam car, and Hinchliffe is keen to find out how to drive it. Later in the tale they are stopped by an officious and objectionable constable for speeding. They kidnap and maroon him, many miles from home, in the depths of a park full of exotic animals.