The Acasta, in company with HMS Ramillies and Dotterel, was sent out from the Royal Navy Dockyard at Bermuda in search of an American Frigate that is reported to be in the area. We have been on the lookout for a fortnight.
Today, the Ramillies came within sight again and was flying her signal flags. You there! Fetch your copy of Popham's Signal Book and translate that signal straight away! Be sure to post your results in the comment area below. No peeking at the answers until you're done!
An interesting note about the copy of Popham's linked to here, is the addition of several numbers that are using the same digit. As most vessels only had one set of signal flags -- one flag for each number. Popham left out numbers in the code like 101, but are hand-written additions in this copy. He did include 110 because with the addition of one flag (the repeat or ditto) you could add a whole series of numbers you would otherwise loose.ReplyDelete
Telegraphic flag, 739, 873, 986, message ends.
Return/ed/ing to/o yard/s
Return to yard, message ends, sir.
(I find this a slightly easier version of the Popham code book to use.
I spent ten minutes on this before realizing I was reading them incorrectly. Thank goodness my parents never sent me for a sailor! I'll be ready next time!ReplyDelete
I find a piece of paper and pencil to be useful - merely mark down as many columns as there are hoists and then fill in the numbers. But remember to write them going down, as each multi-flag hoist would fly from a different signal halyard and would have to be read downward.Delete
I'm surprised that Bermuda is not found in the code book. It is rather Euro-centric, I'm afraid, with a lot of German places like Beerhaven! Portsmouth isn't in the book either, although Spithead is, which makes more sense, I suppose.ReplyDelete
"West Indies" can be represented in two hoists, but as Mrs. Croft says, "We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies."
You read Miss Austen!Delete
Actually, that is surprising, as the British maintained a presence in the West Indies for the whole of the war, and one would think that Admiral Popham would have included certain of the names of the Leeward or Windward Islands stations. I find that even to signal 'English Harbour' meaning the dockyard at Antigua would take six flags in two hoists.
Even with the improvements of the telegraph system it seems that captains (or rather, their signals officers) had to use their imaginations.