HMS NEW ZEALAND|
Crossing the Line Ceremony 1919
In Her Majesty's private apartments all was bustle as the Queen made Her toilet, and in moments when Her Majesty lost Her temper over the silly fiddling of Mermaids-in-Waiting, not a few were threatened with the losing of their empty heads. Nor was the old King unstirred by the significance of the day, and He soundly rated a walrus for not grooming the seahorses to His liking. Their Majesties set off at last for the ship, and domestic unhappiness had fled long before They heard the drone of the propellers or saw the smoke trailing away over the starboard quarter.
" Clear Lower Deck " had been piped and the Officers' Call of four " G's " had summoned all to the 'midship deck. In a few moments Their Majesties arrived on board, and were received by Lieutenant-Commander Boyle, whom His Majesty greeted most cordially as an odd a acquaintance. The Lieutenant-Commander, having made his obeisances to the various members of the Royal Suite, conducted the party to the Robing Room in the starboard shelter.
A gun-carriage, suitably equipped, with a double throne, was in readiness. It was noticed that in the decoration of the thrones the starboard one was red and the port one green. This interesting mythological fact may possibly be due to His Majesty's dealings with the Americans, who, as everybody knows, steer by " Right " or " Left Rudder, " instead of " Port " or " Starboard Helm. "
" Attention " having been sounded, the screen on the after side of the starboard shelter was raised, and the Royal Procession proceeded " Slow Ahead both " in this order along the starboard side of the quarter-deck and amidship deck.
During the Royal Stately Progress, officers and men stood rigidly to attention, though occasionally they broke into loyal and enthusiastic demonstrations. It was an inspiring scene, and all who were favoured to witness it were moved with the deepest emotion. At the after end of the bath Their Majesties were received with a Royal Salute, while the Band played "A Life on the Ocean Wave." The procession halted for Their Majesties to alight, and then resumed its way, the King and Queen on foot. With great dignity the party mounted the dais where the Admiral of the Fleet and Lady Jellicoe, Mrs. Share, and the officers had already taken their places. In making the Royal Address, His Majesty's voice was at first a little husky, possibly owing to His having been so long in the water, though later, when He fell into His stride the full strength of the Royal lungs was distinctly felt, and a trace of gunnery accent was faintly noticeable. With His venerable grey beard, His ancient crown, His trident, His carmen velvet robes, and standing there as only a King can stand, His Majesty filled the air with all the grandeur of His aged dominions. Formalities over, and the Court at length having settled into position, His Majesty at once proceeded with the Investiture, conferring upon the Admiral of the Fleet the Insignia of the Most Exalted Order of the Old Sea Dog, and upon Commodore Dreyer, Captain Leggett and Paymaster-Captain Share the Insignias of their respective Orders. In bestowing these honours, His Majesty was pleased to address a few words to each:
My gallant Admiral, Captain, Crew,
Our pleasure's great at seeing you
Once more on Our Equator.
Old friends We notice by the score,
But some We've never met before.
They'll be presented later.
(To the Admiral )
British Admiral of the Fleet's
A subject Whom one seldom meets,
Sir, Our congratulations!
Delighted too were We to know
We'd meet the Lady Jellicoe,
To whom - felicitations.
(Pinning Order on Admiral)
This order on you We bestow,
An "Old sea dog" henceforth you go
With wishes of the best, Sir.
(To the Commodore)
And Commodore, the gunner's friend,
This "Veteran Novice Star" append
We on your ample chest Sir.
(To the Captain)
The honoured "Equatorial Star,"
To which We've added half a bar,
Friend Captain you may wear, Sir.
(To the Secretary)
And then the Equinoctial Cross
A talisman ensuring joss,
Friend Share, Sir, is your Share, Sir.
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