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Meaning: Dabtoes (from Chicken on a Raft)

DigiTrad:
CHEERING THE QUEEN
CHICKEN ON A RAFT
CHINESE MAIDEN'S LAMENT
COAL SHIP SONG
CYRIL SAID IT ALL BEFORE
DIESEL AND SHALE
FIVE FOOT FLIRT
GREY FUNNEL LINE
IN THE SIDINGS
JENNY WREN BRIDE
OGGY MAN
ON A MONDAY MORNING
ONLY SEVENTEEN
SALLY, FREE AND EASY
SAMMY'S BAR or THE LAST BOAT'S A'LEAVIN
SIX FEET OF MUD
THAT'S WHAT IT'S LIKE IN THE NAVY
THE A25 SONG
THE CRUISE OF THE CALABAR
THE LEAN AND UNWASHED TIFFY
THERE ARE NO LIGHTS ON OUR CHRISTMAS TREE
THREE MEN OF EDDYSTONE
VANITY


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GUEST,VINCE 25 Jul 01 - 08:57 AM
MMario 25 Jul 01 - 09:03 AM
Naemanson 25 Jul 01 - 09:27 AM
MMario 25 Jul 01 - 09:29 AM
wysiwyg 25 Jul 01 - 09:50 AM
Keith A of Hertford 25 Jul 01 - 01:35 PM
Keith A of Hertford 25 Jul 01 - 02:19 PM
Seamus Kennedy 25 Jul 01 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 25 Jul 01 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 25 Jul 01 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Doug O 25 Jul 01 - 04:55 PM
Ditchdweller 25 Jul 01 - 05:23 PM
Gareth 25 Jul 01 - 06:49 PM
NH Dave 25 Jul 01 - 07:28 PM
sledge 26 Jul 01 - 11:30 AM
Keith A of Hertford 26 Jul 01 - 11:44 AM
wysiwyg 26 Jul 01 - 12:00 PM
Keith A of Hertford 26 Jul 01 - 12:11 PM
sledge 26 Jul 01 - 12:14 PM
Grab 26 Jul 01 - 12:25 PM
Keith A of Hertford 26 Jul 01 - 12:36 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 26 Jul 01 - 08:46 PM
rangeroger 26 Jul 01 - 09:31 PM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Dec 02 - 03:01 PM
Joe_F 11 Dec 02 - 06:50 PM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Dec 02 - 03:03 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 10:36 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Mar 05 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner) 22 Mar 05 - 02:02 PM
Shanghaiceltic 22 Mar 05 - 07:20 PM
NH Dave 23 Mar 05 - 01:30 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 05 - 02:45 AM
Gurney 23 Mar 05 - 03:32 AM
Keith A of Hertford 23 Mar 05 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,James K 23 Mar 05 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Peter the ex-Chief 31 Mar 05 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,wildlone, sans cookie 31 Mar 05 - 04:25 PM
GRex 01 Apr 05 - 03:53 AM
Dave Hanson 01 Apr 05 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Super Tug - Real Sailor 01 Apr 05 - 02:20 PM
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Subject: DABTOES
From: GUEST,VINCE
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 08:57 AM

ELLO, DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT 'DABTOES' ARE AS MENTIONED IN THE SONG - 'CHICKEN ON A RAFT (CYRIL TAWNEY)???


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: MMario
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 09:03 AM

newbies - new sailors - "green" men


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 09:27 AM

WE HAVE DONE THIS IN ANOTHER THREAD SOMEWHERE. (Damn capslock).

Anyway, all of the terms are defined somewhere in the database. I am not very good at finding things but a diligent search should turn them up. As I remember "Jimmie's in the ward room" refers to the executive officer (second in command). "Comic Cuts" are the sailing orders.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: MMario
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 09:29 AM

chicken on a raft - defined


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 09:50 AM

Hi Vince, welcome to Mudcat.

ALL CAPS hurts the eyes, like shouting, so we usually don't use them.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 01:35 PM

I can't remember how I know this, but a sailor's comic cuts is his personal record of service, misdemeanors, etc.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 02:19 PM

Also, although it's in the link it was the present query, dabtoes are the seamen as opposed to the stokers (dustmen)


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 02:29 PM

It's a guitar tuning I've been using for years.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 04:21 PM

Ah....... never mind.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 04:30 PM

Keith A., above, and a few of the folks on the other thread got it basically right as far as the "dabtoes" and "dustmen" references are concerned. They were explained to me some time ago by Jonathan Eberhart of The Boarding Party, who said the dabtoes were deck sailors, who often got their feet wet, and the dustmen were stokers, who ended up covered with dust and soot.

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: GUEST,Doug O
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 04:55 PM

Even tho the other thread referenced above gives a very convincing explanation of "comic cuts" I was told a different one at least equally convincing: That a sailor's confidential service record was referred to as "connie cuts." That's how I've been singing it.

Also, the Yanks might not recognize the phrase "laughing like a drain." It took me quite awhile to decipher it. I first mondegreened it into "laughing like it'd rain" (whatever that might mean).


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Ditchdweller
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 05:23 PM

Knew someone on the Mid-Hants Railway who claimed to have known Cyril Tawney on HM Submarines. He insisted that the actual dish Cyril had in mind was "Kidneys in gravy on toast". The name was changed because this was apparently known as "Shit on a Raft"!!


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Gareth
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 06:49 PM

Sapper 82 - Did not the USN / USMC call ground (minced beef) on toast as "Shit on Shingle" ?

"Chicken on a Raft" was poached/fried eggs on Toast/Fried Bread, or so ex Matloes tell me.

Incidently this nomaclature seems to be related to the Royal Navy aka Grey Funnel Line,or, the "Andrew".

But thats another thread.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: NH Dave
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 07:28 PM

The entire US military used to call Creamed chipped beef on toast, Shit on a Shingle, until well after the chipped (dried, thinly sliced, and heavily salted) beef gave way to hamburg/mince in a white sauce/gravy, and the name ran afoul of the PC Police. I can't say if the nickname is still in use in the active services, PC and all, but any veteran knows what is meant by SOS.

In the southeastern US a similar dish goes by the name of biscuits 'n' gravy, which grates less harshly on the ear, and differs only in that biscuits - like unsweetened scones - are substituted for toast. ANY mess catering to older service people will have a pot of hamburger and white gravy simmering somewhere on the back burner.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: sledge
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 11:30 AM

Dabtoes (or dabbers) is used to refer to chaps in the seaman branches as opposed to mechanics and technicians. Most trades (still have I suppose)had their nicknames, as a medic in the RN I used to be known as a Scablifter.

Naval food also had its own nicknames , the ones I remember are:- Shit on a raft - finley chopped devilled kidneys on toast Elephants foot prints - Spam fritters yellow peril - Smoked haddock Babies heads - steak and kidney pudding, drooool Commanches bollocks (slang for testicles) - Peeled plum tomatoes Pot mess - state secret never revealed which is probably just as well.

Sledge

Now feeling hungry


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 11:44 AM

Pussers did not get properly defined on the other thread. It describes anything issued or supplied by the Navy. You can now buy in some places bottles of pussers rum.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:00 PM

Is that pronounced PUHHSS or POOS?

Pus or puss?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:11 PM

I've only ever heard it as pus but presumably a northerner might say poos. See the current dialect thread. I'm not sure how Gervase's cat would say it!


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: sledge
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:14 PM

WYSIWYG,

Pusser's rum , pronounced, PUS-AH, soft H.

Its Very good dark rum, best drunk neat, people who put anything it were probably dropped on their heads as small children.

Sandy bottoms

Sledge


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Grab
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:25 PM

Keith, I'm guilty of instituting the previous thread, and that's the one thing I did know. The "pusser" (with the "u" short as in "cuss" or "rust") is the ship's purser - this is the officer who is basically the ship's accountant/stocktaker. I guess this'd transfer to "pusser's" describing general Navy-issue stuff?

DougO, the DT has "laughing like it'd rain", and that seems to be how the Young Tradition sing it. Anyone know how Cyril Tawney sings it?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 12:36 PM

Definitely like a drain. This is a commonly used expression in English English.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 08:46 PM

Oh fuck! what a hoot....lol. Just read this one ha ha... Dabtoes = Gay ... Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: rangeroger
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 09:31 PM

Sledge,I was a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S.Navy and one of our nicknames was "pecker checker".

This was because we had to give the messcooks "short-arm" inspections to check for urinary tract infections.

rr


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 03:01 PM

Dave(T.A.M.) You are in a minority of one with that definition.
Also, I was checking sleeve notes for the current Cyril Tawney thread and I see that Cyril also defines dabtoes as seaman grade ratings.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 06:50 PM

"Laughing like a drain" is the way it appears in _Songs of Cyril Tawney_. I did not realize that it was an established expression. I had supposed that it meant that the laugh sounded like the noise the last bit of water makes when it goes down the drain.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 03:03 AM

Its so common I have never thought about it.
It's visual, a drain cover could appear as an exagerated open mouth with bared teeth.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 10:36 AM


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:09 PM

I thought the more common use of "comic cuts" was an ironic referenc to the wellknown children's comic - thus (for seamen) pornography.

So a friend who used to be in the mob (in this context, RN) told me.


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Subject: RE: Help: DABTOES
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 02:02 PM

Hey Keith, i'm used to being a minority mate. The only time we would use that expression in my mob would be implied with a derogatory reference to the effeminate practice of dabbing ones toe in the water (a nasty habit of RN snotties btw ) to test the water temperature before jumping, falling, or being blown in to the oggin; therefore earning it the inflection of being a Queer. However i'm sure Cyril (et al) used it to refer to New Entries OD's JOS's and below, but I studied at the North Atlantic University of Couth and Culture in a much harsher marine environment, where such references would usually end up with a boot in the nadgers, just in case it was used as a derogatory inflection meaning queer.
Guess we were wrong ;-)
Cheers, Yours Aye Dave ;-)


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 07:20 PM

Dabtoes = non technical ratings, seamen.
Comic cuts = cartoons in newspapers

When I left the RN in 1983 engine room crew were just referred to as stokers. Dustmen was a term that fell into disuse when coal powered ships were replaced by ones driven by diesal, or steam raised by means other than coal.

Sometimes the marine engineering branch were referred to as 'Clanky's'

It was also common to refer to members of the electrical branch as 'greenies'. This was due to the fact that for a period of time the ships electrical engineering officers had a green stripe between the rings of their uniform. Memebers of the radio/communcations engineering branch were often referred to a 'pinkies' for the same reason.

When I joined up in 1972 the wearing of a coloured stripe between the rings on an engineering officers uniform had fallen into disuse, but the nick name remained.

I joined as an artificer apprentice and we were always refrred to as 'tiffy's. CT's song "A Lean and unwashed tiffy' is a particular favourite of mine.

Only the medical branch officers retain the red stripe between rings.

Midshipmen were always called 'Snotties'

The members of the communications branch who actually operated the radio and comms systems were often called 'bunting tossers'. This was a reference to the days when flags were used for signalling between ships.

Physical Training Instructors were referred to as 'Clubs' from the badge worn on their uniform, a pair of Indian clubs crossed.

I dont know if it was common but on boats the wardroom steward was often just called 'Plates' a referrence to being a plate layer, laying the table for the wardroom meals.

All navies have their own vocabulary. CT's songs were mostly written in the 50's and early 60's and the terms used reflect that period, many were in common usage when I was in the mob but some had changed and more modern terms were being used.

Try this link it will take you to an RN website that gives explanations to much of the Royal Naval slang.

Covey Crump-RN Slang


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: NH Dave
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 01:30 AM

The Fleet Air Arm Museum, has a new book out called Jackspeak , costing 9.95 pounds,which I found to be a very complete reference to British Naval lingo, although it doesn't have every name that Tawney used in his songs.

I gave a spare copy to Bat Goddess, and she amused Curmudgeon for a couple of hours with quotes from this book. You have to be careful with these folks too. I considered ordering a copy of this fine book from them, but found it cheaper [new] from Amazon.com. I get my copy from the Amazon book seller, and then a week or so later, I got another copy from the museum, along with one of their caps, neither of which I had ordered from them. Several emails to them seem to have fallen on deaf ears, and I can's seem to get them to take my payment for these items. Of course, somewhere there is a highly cheesed customer who ordered and paid for both objects and never received them.

Dave


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 02:45 AM

I had heard of Jackspeak. If the illustrating cartoons are done by an ex-naval person under the monicker Tug then it is going to be a good read as his cartoons as they appeared in the Navy News were excellent.


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: Gurney
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 03:32 AM

I asked Cyril to explain the terms 35 years ago, and he often explained one or two terms when introducing a song.

Pursers;   Puss-ers
Donibristle
Whalers. Not whaling. The crew of the ships whaler.
Comic cuts=service record.


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 07:12 AM

Thanks Gurney.


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: GUEST,James K
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 11:07 AM

Cyril Tawney is very ill in hospital in Exeter, he needs your good wishes and your prayers,whoever your God is.
Check his website,Rosemary keeps it well up to date.


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: GUEST,Peter the ex-Chief
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 03:51 PM

I'm a retired U.S. Navy Chief Yeoman. Every so often, someone would hear one of CT's songs, particularly Chicken On A Raft. Knowing that I was the font of knowledge for all things maritime and naval, they would ask me for a translation of some of the more obscure terms. Since USN and RN slangs are almost completely different*, I couldn't give them an answer.

*Other terms are different as well. In the RN, a Yeoman is a bunting tosser (one of the few terms that are identical in both navies) while in the USN a Yeoman is an admin and personnel specialist. If anyone cares, I can explain how this difference came about.


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: GUEST,wildlone, sans cookie
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 04:25 PM

I was friends with a guy who worked in the propulsion room of a nuclear submarine.
They are still called stokers.
dave who once had a chrismas dinner on his boat.


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: GRex
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 03:53 AM

Re Dabtoes:
An ex Royal Marine friend of mine, who had served on Royal Navy ships, once told me that marines on board, who were always stationed at the "sharp end", were known as "dabtoes" because of the highly polished toecaps on their boots. Seems logical to me.

KRex


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 04:45 AM

From the liner notes to Cyril's album ' Sally Free and Easy '

Dabtoes were seamen and dustmen were stokers. OK

eric


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Subject: RE: DABTOES
From: GUEST,Super Tug - Real Sailor
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 02:20 PM

Dabtoes are seamen - Dustmen are stokers - The Jossman (Joss) or Jaunty is the Master-At-Arms - WAFU's (Wet and F***in' Useless) are Fleet Air Arm Ratings - Crushers are Regulators (Naval Policemen) - Greenies are Domestic Electricians – Pinkies are Radio Electricians - Scab-Lifters are Medical Staff - Jimmy (the One) is the First Lieutenant - The Old Man is the Skipper - Father Famine is the Catering/Supply Officer - The Tooth Fairy is the Dental Officer – Comic Cuts are (indeed) a sailor's naval record – A Yeoman is a Signals/Communications Senior Rate (or assistan t to an officer ie; Navigator's Yeoman)

Great books to read are:
Just An Old Naval Custom by A Cecil Hampshire (Good for a laugh but wildly inaccurate in places)
Janes Dictionary Of Naval Terms (The Official Navalese Translator - Comprehensive but boring!)
Jackspeak by Rick Jolly (The REAL sailor's dictionary - Cross ref'd with all the little swearies and rude names for bits of girlies bodies and other naval pastimes) A Must for anyone who wants to translate anything by Cyril T or Tom Lewis (or to insult people without necessarily getting a thick ear)

Super Tug


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