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Crossing the Line Ceremony 1919

Page 12

The Admiral, attended, of course, by his Secretary and his Flag Lieutenant, also old friends of His Majesty, duly observed the customary rites. As the Admiral emerged from the bath he was greeted with three enthusiastic cheers from the whole assembly, led by His Majesty and the Court.

A ripple of talk now filled the air, followed by a hush, as Lady Jellicoe came forward, in spite of advice to the contrary from her physician, so that she, too, might observe the full rites. And indeed, she did so, though, instead of taking the full course of the bath, a few drops of its sacred water were sprinkled over her. The ceremony over, she was given three hearty cheers and a " tiger. " His Majesty announced at this stage that the Court would resume at eight bells of the afternoon watch, and thereupon closed the morning session.

At the appointed hour His Majesty came in procession as in the forenoon, and immediately carried on with the remainder of the business. Many old hands followed the example of the Admiral, and all the proceedings were completed within the space of the First Dog Watch.

The most stirring, even touching incident of the afternoon session was the eloquent address delivered by the Admiral's Printer, the oldest member in the Ship's Company, who spoke thus, causing Her Majesty deep emotion

To Father Neptune,

Behold in me a Printer bold,
Who's always got a "thust,"
Contracted in my childhood days
By swallowing dry gold dust.

Your waters I'm prepared to try
Upon my outer skin,
But just to damp the dust, old boy,
I'd like something else within.

Now if You wish to test my wares,
I'm foremost in the race
Just see how nice the gold dust looks
On Amphitrite's sweet face.

(The Printer had gilded the cheeks of Amphitrite and presented King Neptune with a packet of the precious gold dust.)

My tale is nearly ended now
But I'm sure you'd like to know___
I crossed Your blinking, mouldy Line
Just thirty years ago.

Yours (in aqua pura),

After closing of the Court, formalities were relaxed and Their Majesties, before returning to the Deep, permitted the Royal Suite to throw themselves into the bath, where they were joined by crowds of onlookers. The final scene was, very properly, distinctly watery. All those who attended the Court this day were presented, as is customary, with the Royal Certificate, artistically designed and executed by His Majesty's Printer-in-Chief.

Their Majesties were pleased to learn in the evening that the whole of the good ship's company looked back upon a very merry day, which was unspoiled by any unfortunate incident or jarring note. Their Majesties, too, though somewhat fatigued, returned to Their watery Realms in an excellent temper and with a deeper affection for the old ship, her Admiral, and her crew.

His Majesty King Neptune has been graciously pleased to request the Secretary of State to convey His Royal Thanks to those who played the leading parts for their untiring energy, good humour and liveliness throughout the day, and for the trouble they took and the ingenuity they showed in preparing their costumes. They were:

King Neptune

Mr. E. J. Whiting, M.B.E., Chief Gunner, R.N.

Queen Amphitrite

Mr. P. Turner, Commissioned, Shipwright, R.N.


F. H. Green, P.O.

Judge's Clerk

Mr. F. J. Cummins, W.V.O., R.N.


W. Spinks, Sto.


F. R. Stallard, Sto. P.O.

Barber's Assistant

R. Donaldson, Sto.

Lady Barber

E. Roberts, Lea. Sea.

Police A. G. Johnston, P.O.
S. O. Allen, Sergt. R.M.L.I.
R. Horsfield, A.B.
F. H. Marfleet, Cks. Mte.
J. Hicks, Ptr.
W. T. W. Miller. Ptr.
J. J. Upton. Joiner.
A. Marlow, A.B.
A. Joyce, Lea. Sto.
E. W. Battrick, A.B.
J. J. Brennan, P.O.
Secret Police

F. Quick, Pte.- R.M.L.I.
J. Bingham. A.B.
W. J. McCall, A.B.

Bodyguard W. H. G. Bishop. C. P. O.
D. Redfern, Armr.
F. Blake, A.B.
H. T. Andrew, Shpwrght.
Head Bears

W. J. Bryant, P.O.
J. J. Ellis. A.B.

Bears W. T. Cook. Ch. Electn.
H. Daniel, C.P.O.
J. P. Swiggs, P.O.
A. Wardropper, A.B.
H. Trafford, A.B.

King's Messenger

R. Yendall, Cpl. R.M.L.I.

Chariot Seahorses

M. Grant, Lee.-Cpl. R.M.L.I.
R. M. McGregor, Bomdr. R.M.A.

King's Trumpeter

B. J. Every. Bugler R.M.L.I.

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