Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Yard Pay Books (Yellow Admirals, yardarm and Youth)

Y is for Yard Pay Books (Yellow Admirals, yardarm and Youth)

Yard Pay Books for dockyard workers can be found in ADM 42. They cover the years 1660-1857. 

What's a Yellow Admiral you ask?  Well, apparently the British Fleet used to be divided up into squadrons - red, white and blue with red being the most senior and blue the most junior.  Bruno Pappalardo advises:

in 1747 the Admiralty introduced a system whereby unsuitable and elderly captains were promoted to an 'unspecified squadron' popularly known as the 'yellow squadron'.  These officers - commonly known as 'yellow admirals' - were entitled to the half pay of a rear amiral but did not have any prospects of future employment or promotion. (p.12)

Oh look!  Patrick O'Brian wrote a book called The Yellow Admiral.  Well waddya know?

yellow admiral

Here's another picture of a Yellow Admiral.

Rear-Adm. Edward Field, R.N., J.P., M.P., "The Yellow Admiral"

Yardarm...I'm sure at one time or another you've heard or said the phrase "The sun is over the yardarm" but what is a yardarm exactly..... from the Oxford Dictionary of Ships and the Sea:'

the outer quarters of a yard, that part which lies outboard of the lifts, on eitehr side of the ship, i.e. the port and starboard yardarms.  They were the positions in a square-rigged ship where most of the flag signals were hoisted, and in the older days of sail, when the disciplinary code on board included punishments of death by hanging, were the traditional points from which men were hanged on board.

Ouch!   Here are some folk hanging about a yardarm....

Trainees (and, I hope, trainers) Manning the Yard

Last but not least, if you are looking for a good sea-story, real "and then...and then" stuff in terms of storytelling, you could do worse than to read Joseph Conrad's short story "Youth".  I really enjoyed it. You can read it online here. It should take you an hour or so...12,000 words I believe.  I had only read Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and did not know about this story.  The story makes completing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge look like a walk in the park ;) PS Did you know Conrad was born in Poland?  I didn't. 

Yippee Yahoo!  One more letter to go!!


crgalvin said...

Yikes! I didn't know the literal meaning of 'swinging from the yardarm' - now its obvious it was not boys playing with ropes.

Jill Ball said...

I love the way you write, your touches of humour and beaut pics make for engaging posts..

Dianne said...

You have done so well with your letters! This post made me laugh out loud!!!
I didn't know about yellow admirals, tho I'm sure my husband read that book, he got all of them.
I'm glad those guys are "hanging about" and not "from" the yardarm!!

J Lenni Dorner said...

J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
Have you enjoyed the challenge? Did you hop to other blogs? The end of the alphabet here! Reflections sign up is May 9-- mark a calendar.
My blog's giveaway is still going. I'm encouraging everyone to visit more stops.
Excellent post! Loved the pics.

Suzanne McClendon said...

I think the ship on the cover of the book about the yellow admiral is very pretty. I love the old ships.

I've never heard the phrase that you mentioned about the yardarm. Maybe it is a more UK term? Very interesting.

Thanks for the link to the story. :)

Have a blessed night!

Wendy said...

I love the movie "A Few Good Men." There's a scene early on in which Lt. Kaffee and another naval officer are in a bit of an argument about Kaffee stalling in getting to a meeting. The other officer threatens to hang Kaffee's client from a yardarm. It's a minor little scene but if you haven't seen the movie, you might enjoy it. On a more serious note, I have seen those yardarms when tall ships on tour dock at Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia. Hanging by the neck or even by hands and legs would not be much fun to me.