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What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?

Bat Goddess 09 Oct 19 - 08:13 PM
Charmion 09 Oct 19 - 08:17 PM
Mrrzy 10 Oct 19 - 01:52 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 19 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Observer 10 Oct 19 - 07:15 AM
EBarnacle 10 Oct 19 - 09:08 AM
Bat Goddess 10 Oct 19 - 09:37 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 19 - 10:07 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Oct 19 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,John Bowden 10 Oct 19 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,John Bowden 10 Oct 19 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Observer 10 Oct 19 - 09:05 PM
BobL 11 Oct 19 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Observer 11 Oct 19 - 06:00 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 19 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,John Bowden 11 Oct 19 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,John Bowden 11 Oct 19 - 07:00 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Oct 19 - 08:12 AM
EBarnacle 11 Oct 19 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 11 Oct 19 - 01:16 PM
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Subject: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 09 Oct 19 - 08:13 PM

I'm rereading James Norman Hall's Doctor Dogbody's Leg with my iPad on my knee to look up nautical or 18th century (and early 19th) terminology that I might be unfamiliar with.

In the story "Attica, the Twelfth", the Banyan Club, "an informal organization, social in character...and its membership comprised both wardroom and warrant officers. Captains, lieutenants, masters, gunners, naval surgeons, pursers, and, often, seamen of yet humbler rank, as well as others connected with the Admiralty on shore, sat down together... And the one bylaw of the organization was, 'No quarter-deck manners'."

I've searched but I'm flummoxed. I can find the term used in other fiction, but no explanation or definition.

I might have the meaning expressed in one of my books on nautical and British naval lingo downstairs, but I can't be arsed to leave my book, cat, and sherry and get out of my comfortable bed to try to discover it.

Anybody help me out?

Linn


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: Charmion
Date: 09 Oct 19 - 08:17 PM

Strict observance of rank and seniority is my guess, as an all-ranks fraternal society could not be friendly with everyone consulting his sleeve or the Navy List to check up on who should be the boss of whom.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 01:52 AM

No acting high-and-mighty?


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 04:18 AM

The quarterdeck was the place from where a sailing ship was commanded.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 07:15 AM

Two bits from the OP, "Banyan" and "No Quarter-Deck manners".

In naval jargon a "Banyan" was a jolly for all ranks normally held out of and away from the ship. It was by definition and tradition an extremely informal and carefree occasion. It's origins come to the English language (1599), via the Portuguese and their trade with India (Gujarati), "banya" meaning merchant or trader, the inhabitants of a village would gather in the shade of the fig trees to hold village meetings or trade with visiting merchants. The trees became known as Banyan Trees.

"No quarter-deck manners" as a rule would mean that the gathering would be informal so that all involved could relax and have fun.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 09:08 AM

A banyan day aboard ship was a day in which no meat was issued as part of the daily ration. The term is used regularly by novelists writing about the Royal Navy during "the age of fighting sail," especially referring to the Napoleonic period.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 09:37 AM

Right, EBarnacle.

I'd already (in a previous tale about how Doctor Dogbody lost his larboard leg, looked up banyan day when no meat was served from the British naval ship's galley. So called from the Banyans in the East Indies where the inhabitants ate nothing that had life.

It also referred to a picnic for the ship's crew, but I think that was later.

All of the above makes sense and is what I inferred, but I couldn't find an explanation of the term "quarter-deck manners" anywhere.

Thanks, all!

Linn


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 10:07 AM

The more typical use of the term banyan referred to a man's 'housecoat'; it was a long, lightweight coat worn in a relaxed setting at home. If you didn't wear a waistcoat and frock, you were in a state of 'undress' and would typically be lounging around in your house. My guess would be that a social group calling itself Banyan is extremely informal, hence no acting like your on the job (on the quarter deck).


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 12:01 PM

Nice quote from Admiral W H Smyth's invaluable 'Sailor's Word Book' (1867)
"Quarter Deckers - Those officers more remarkable for their etiquette than for a knowledge of seamanship"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,John Bowden
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 02:01 PM

What customs and courtesies should be observed on an US Navy ship Quarterdeck?




I found this description of "Quarterdeck Manners":
https://www.answers.com/Q/What_customs_and_courtesies_should_be_observed_on_an_US_Navy_ship_Quarterdeck

"A Navy Ships Quarterdeck is considered a ceremonial area and should be treated as such. No skylarking or loitering is allowed. The Officer of the Deck has complete responsibility and authority on the Quarterdeck and should never be challenged.

On approach from the ships brow to the quarterdeck one must turn and face the flag (aft) or salute the flag if military and covered. One must then turn and show ID and salute the Officer Of the Deck and ask their permission to come aboard (enlisted) or state that they have permission to come aboard (officers). When leaving the ship it is done in the reverse order and one asks permission to go ashore (enlisted) or states that they have permission to go ashore (officer). Hats or headgear are not allowed on the quarterdeck unless they are part of the wearers uniform. The Quarterdeck should not be used as a passage from one part of the ship to another. If it is necessary to do so permission from the Officer of the Deck must be requested and granted".

In other words, the "manners" or behaviour expected on the quarterdeck is very ritualistic, formal and hierarchical, so the "manners" or atmosphere in the Banyan CLub will be the opposite, i.e. informal, so staning on ceremony, no hierarchy etc.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,John Bowden
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 02:51 PM

I meant "No standing on ceremony" of course!


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 10 Oct 19 - 09:05 PM

Quarter Deckers - Those officers more remarkable for their etiquette than for a knowledge of seamanship" - Admiral W.H.Smyth

While that may well have applied to the man himself it most certainly did not apply in general to the Royal Navy of his time, which was most certainly a system of promotion based on practical meritocracy. You actually had to prove yourself beyond doubt that you were technically proficient and knowledgeable to advance from the rank of Midshipman to Lieutenant. While anyone could purchase a commission at whatever rank you liked in the British Army of the time, you had to prove yourself professionally capable for advancement in the Royal Navy. If you doubt that take a good look at some of the leading lights in positions of command in the Royal Navy and their backgrounds:

French Revolutionary Wars & Napoleonic Wars

Admiral Viscount Lord Horatio Nelson - the sixth of eleven children of a Norfolk Parson - hardly born with a silver spoon in his mouth. One of the most effective, competent and capable naval commanders of all time. He got to where he did through shear ability, application and hard work.

John Jervis, First Earl St. Vincent - ran away to sea and first joined the Royal Navy as an able seaman, ended up as First Lord of the Admiralty:
In 1801 in a letter to the Board of Admiralty regarding the threat of invasion by a French Army, St Vincent made the now famous remark: "I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea."

In 1801 St Vincent was replaced by Admiral William Cornwallis and the new Prime Minister Henry Addington promoted St Vincent to First Lord of the Admiralty.

Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, second son of a Cornish merchant captain. This is how he earned his title when he was a Commodore in the Channel Fleet - He was a good swimmer and noted for saving the lives of several seamen who had fallen overboard. The most striking life-saving event was on 26 January 1796 when the East Indiaman Dutton was carrying more than four hundred troops, together with many women and children, when it ran aground under Plymouth Hoe. Due to the heavy seas, the crew and soldiers aboard were unable to get to shore. Pellew swam out to the wreck with a line and, with help from young Irishman Jeremiah Coghlan, helped rig a lifeline that saved almost all aboard. For this feat he was created a baronet on 18 March 1796

But I daresay all these men were well acquainted with etiquette

Many more examples none of whom were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and all made their way up through the ranks by proving that they were professionally capable.

Interesting to note that Admiral [An honorary rank bestowed upon W. H. Smyth] W. H. Smyth as mentioned died in 1865. Yet His "Word Book" was published in 1867.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: BobL
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 04:01 AM

Just in case anybody was wondering: W. H. Smyth (1788-1865), admiral, astronomer and author, not be confused with W. H. Smith (1825-91), bookseller, MP and First Lord of the Admiralty, nor his dad W. H. Smith (1792-1865), entrepreneur, bookseller and founder of the eponymous firm.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 06:00 AM

I think we are talking about the right Smyth as opposed to Smith. W.H.Smyth whose nickname was "Mediterranean Smyth" career ended as follows:

On 7 February 1824, he was promoted to Post-Captain, and in November paid off the Adventure, marking the end of his service at sea and his turn to a life of literary and scientific pursuits. In 1846 he retired from the Navy on half-pay, being advanced on the retired list to Rear-Admiral on 28 May 1853, then to Vice-Admiral on 17 May 1858, and finally to Admiral on 14 November 1863


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 06:56 AM

"W.H.Smyth whose nickname was "Mediterranean Smyth" career ended as follows:

On 7 February 1824, he was promoted to Post-Captain, and in November paid off the Adventure, marking the end of his service at sea and his turn to a life of literary and scientific pursuits."

Yes, but the OP said 'I'm rereading James Norman Hall's Doctor Dogbody's Leg..." - W. H. Smyth was just mentioned in passing in a later post. James Norman Hall was an American writer, so all the references to the (British) Royal Navy and its customs are irrelevant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Norman_Hall


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,John Bowden
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 06:56 AM

Sorry, Guest above was me.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,John Bowden
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 07:00 AM

Although since he served with the Royal Navy and wrote about the Napoleonic Wars, please ignore my comments above!!


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 08:12 AM

Bat Goddess: I'd already (in a previous tale about how Doctor Dogbody lost his larboard leg,)

How can he have lost his larboard leg? I can understand that he might have lost his left leg (Larboard* being the left side of the ship when facing forward). But, unless he always faces the front of the ship, 'larboard leg' swaps between left and right.

*Later 'Port' to avoid confusion in shouted orders between 'Larboard' and 'Starboard'.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 09:55 AM

It is clearly his larboard leg as his face follows the pointy thingus on the front of his face. No need to be so pedantic, Nigel.


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Subject: RE: What are 'Quarterdeck Manners'?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 01:16 PM

Being a "quarterdecker" is not the same as having "quarterdeck manners."

A seaman's quarterdeck manners are best Sunday-go-to-meeting behaviors, etiquette, dress &c.

Officer's quarterdeck manners might be the same but often it's just having a stick up the ass of the stick up one's ass.

Colonial perspective: The Royal Navy officer corps has, at times, considered institutional snobbery & imperiousness to be forms of good order and discipline.

Anatomical larboard is traditionally pelvic to avoid confusion when facing inboard. (Outboard is always right-handed on months ending in "arrrrrh.")


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