A Maggie, a Pony, a Monkey, a Gorilla, and now a Churchill!

Having travelled the Globe courtesy of HM Government; I, like so many others reading this post have become accustomed to hearing nicknames for various denominations of currency, each country unique in its terms, slang, and reference.

During a visit to the USA (Key West was the start point), I offered a 100 Dollar bill to pay for a round of beers, only to be told “Oh Man! I can’t bust a Benjamin this early in the day”! And so a term was created for the use of  the Royal Marine detachment, which later spread through the Ships company; any bar that gave change for a ‘Benjamin’ was hence known as a “Benjamin Buster”, which in turn reasoned that the bar must be popular to carry the (shrapnel) change? Even better was to ask the Bar tender in Sloppy Joe’s bar if we could “leave a ‘Benjamin’ behind the bar until it run dry”, I don’t recall them ever saying no… 

Not a sign of arrogance but necessity; at the time we were fortunate that the £Sterling was strong against the $Dollar (2 to 1). The Ships supply officer initially carried large denominations only, which made his life easier, and the Ships crew more difficult shore-side.

Just as NavyOne loves to tune in his linguistic ear to foreign squarks & babble, I like to listen and pick up certain military pieces of terminology, which filter into the system for eternity. To listen to such makes me chuckle as the true definition is lost on most outside of the bubble. Back in the days when the world was flat; the Royal Navy as well as the Royal Marines picked up foreign language and introduced most of the terms back into the English language, this as well as its use of military jargon, which was, and still is, used within the UK and elsewhere.

For instance;

A square meal; wooden plates were square for ease of stacking, and used less space. Red & Green watch; ‘port & starboard’ still used within the fire service as well as emergency services, due to the fact that ex-service ‘jolly jack tars’ formulated the first ever fire service into watches shore side and took the term along with them.

And so it goes on…

*Yesterday I met up with an oppo who was a bubblehead bootneck, we went for big eats and a few wets, though I decided to settle for a can of ice’rs goffa.  We both opted for huge baked Irish apples with mousetrap and skinheads; my oppo used up all of the slide before I had chance to dive in, a typical wind up! I had to ask the split looking after us if she could please prof some more slide, and put some wind behind it as my big eats was going ice’rs. We had a good craic and spun a few dits about our past life in a green lid, though my oppo swung the lamp a little too much, which, true to form, meant his big eats went harry icer’s.


*Yesterday I met up with a good friend who was Special Boat Service, Royal Marines. We went to a bar for a few beer’s, though I decided to settle for a cold can of fizzy drink. We both chose to have a huge baked potato, with cheese and baked beans. My friend used up the butter before I had chance to take some.  I asked the busy waitress  who was looking after us if she could please provide some more butter pretty quick as my meal was going cold. We had a good laugh as we talked of past times whilst wearing a green beret, though my mate as usual couldn’t stop speaking and his meal went very cold.

Here in the UK we have ‘oodles’ of currency slang, though terms can vary from North to South.

A Maggie = £1- coin. Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister at the time of introduction;  it was small & brassy, and thought it was a sovereign.

A Pony = £25- Denomination. In the days of the Raj in India a twenty five Rupee note had a pony pictured on it, the troops brought back the term to the UK.

A Monkey = £500- Denomination. In the same way as above, an Indian 500 Rupee note had a monkey’s picture on it.

A Gorilla = £1000- (two monkey’s). Denomination.

A Churchill = £5- note. One of the proposed nicknames for this new ‘fiver’. It will be *’minted’ and printed in early  2016 ( the Bank of England has given approval and permission to the *Royal Mint to start producing the note for distribution there after).

Five Pounds Churchill

The new issue ‘fiver’ with Churchill’s features will be a collectors piece for those of us who care about our Sceptered Isles.  So far the name being muted is a ‘Winnie’ a ‘Bulldog’ as well as a ‘Churchill’, the later of which I prefer.

Blowing ten Churchill’s on a night out now appeals to me! It’s the least I can do for this great man…


Yours Aye.

A Primer on Navy FitReps

A good Navy Fitness Report (FitRep) is a true work of art. The perfect amount of space, the exact bullets detailing all the work completed over the last year. Retired naval aviator (and reader) Randy sent me these below. I think you probably know folks (hopefully not many) who fit these descriptions:

He has an overdeveloped sense of unawareness.”

Would be categorized as lazy but for absence.”

At least his education hasn’t gone to his head.”

He has given me a new definition of stoicism: he grins and I bear it.”

The improvement in his handwriting from the last review has revealed his inability to spell.”

Let’s not neglect our friends from across the pond. The British Military writes OFR’s (officer fitness reports). The form used for Royal Navy and Marines fitness reports is the S206. The following are actual excerpts taken from people’s “206’s.”

Royal Navy Sailor Missing in the Middle East?

This is troubling, that a Leading Seaman in the Royal Navy is missing. Seaman Timmy MacColl (of HMS Westminster) has not been seen in months, since May, and his wife is beside herself:

Timothy MacColl, Royal Navy Sailor

The wife of a missing Royal Navy sailor who disappeared five months ago today wept as she issued a fresh plea for help in finding her husband who she described as her ‘soul mate’.

Rachael MacColl, 25, said she has not given up hope since husband Timmy MacColl, 28, vanished while on shore leave in Dubai on May 27.

But she revealed their seven-year-old son Cameron now believes ‘Daddy is in heaven’.

Appeals to trace the Leading Seaman – who is said to have got into a taxi back to port at around 2am after a night out – have drawn blanks.

But Mrs MacColl – who gave birth to the couple’s third child, daughter Eriskay, last month – still believes her husband of six years may be alive.

Mrs MacColl, whose family is originally from Killin, Stirling, described the effect his disappearance has had on Eriskay, Cameron, and daughter Skye, four.

Someone, somewhere knows something. It’s only a matter of time. Good news or bad.

Making Fun of the Navy and the Air Force?

I’ve got two comments for you. The partial transcript of Ex Bootneck’s reminiscence is below. Please ignore his woeful jab at the poor defenseless Navy: 

Last year after attending the Remembrance Service parade; I crossed the square to partake in a hot beverage in the Costa Coffee shop, in the market town of Beverley.

I sat waiting the arrival of a good friend, who as usual was slightly adrift (Ex Royal Navy). The shop consisted of the usual gathering you would expect on a freezing cold November 11th day, mainly young teens with a smattering of adults pre-Christmas shopping.
Due to the Memorial Service the town had more than the usual patrons; the majority being ex serving members suited up with medals glistening in the sun, a variation of all ages showing their respect to the fallen.

 And here is his very-partial response to the Breakfast in Bed post:

The British Army promotion cycle is much more relaxed with less time required for promotion, which also applies to the Royal Navy.
The RAF are the most junior service and as such… who cares? (wink at ExAFCrewDog).

Piling on the Air Force? Wow, I’ve never done that. Click on the link for the full chuckle.

HMS Sasquatch, a Vessel Measured in Feet

I’ve got some humonginormous feet. And I, usually, almost always, quite rarely, have complete control over the things.

In Boot Camp, I marched behind a guy who would later become my ‘A School’ roommate. And I kicked his sole more than once an hour. (I was always muttering: Whoops, sorry buddy!) When you are in tight formation, it is quite easy to do:

Helston Freedom Parade

For reference, my feet are roughly the same size as poor Emma Cahil, an Oxford Brookes student from Worcester. And she has one of the largest set of dobermans ever launched from the London pier. They christened them with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and the Royal Navy even dothed to issue them a name, HMS Sasquatch.

Yes, to answer your question. I do feel better about my situation now that I’ve picked on a poor, defenseless schoolgirl. Well, a big, defenseless schoolgirl. Umm, a big schoolgirl.

Boy, that was a terrible apology. Sorry Emma! I’ll lend you any of my shoes, any time. But you gotta get to Sandy Eggo.

A Bell at the Bottom, HMS Hood’s Recovery

Blue Water Recoveries discovered the bell near the Hood’s hull

The United States and Great Britain (England, the United Kingdom, Them*) have a special relationship. And if anyone needed any more proof of it:

A US billionaire has offered to lead an operation to recover the bell of the sunken battle cruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in 1941 and killed 1,415 men, for free.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said US philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul G Allen has offered his private yacht be used in the search to recover the bell at no cost to it.

HMS Hood, which was a state-of-the-art vessel for its time, is the largest Royal Navy vessel to have been sunk, causing the biggest loss of life suffered by any single British warship.

* I am full well aware that there is a difference among the three. I seem to recall a YouTube video bobbing around somewhere that details the variance among the Britishy definitions.

Updated: Per Ex Royal Marine Detachment Sergeant Major, HMS London, I took out the the in the title. Thanks again Sergeant Major. . .

The Royal Navy and Spiders?

Certain things go hand-in-hand with the Navy. Like: the Navy and the ocean, the Navy and blue, the Navy and beans. . . What does not go with the Navy- spiders:

ROYAL Navy aircraft engineers found a black widow spider.

ROYAL Navy aircraft engineers found a deadly black widow spider stowed away on a helicopter which had returned to the UK from training sessions involving Prince Harry.

Petty Officer (PO) Alex “Scotty” Scott and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Daryl “Daz” Prichard, of 845 Naval Air Squadron, discovered the eight-legged insect on board a Sea King support helicopter.

The aircraft had returned to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, Somerset, from a training exercise in El Centro, California, which had involved Prince Harry.

Royal Navy’s Sea Ceptor Missiles

This entry is entirely an excuse to post this picture:

A Royal Navy Sea Ceptor missile

An elite supersonic missile system which can bring down multiple enemy rockets up to 500 miles away is being developed for the Royal Navy.

The cutting-edge £485 million Sea Ceptor will be fitted to a new fleet of warships. Travelling at Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound – it will provide potent air defence for the Falklands or the Gulf.

Remind me to be nicer to our Britty friends. No more jokes on soggy fish or grey peas.