Diesel Weasel
Yorkie and Spud
3 O Boats
forward mess
Taff Hartvelt and me
derelict boats

The Motor Room Dit Book

We had a tradition in the motor room of Opportune of maintaining a dit book. The motor room dit book was recorded in the rough battery log; one page recorded all the battery data, the opposite page was dedicated to a series of scurrilous, lewd, scatological and occasionally amusing poems, sketches and cartoons. The dit book became required reading, even the skipper asked for it to be sent forward on a regular basis. When Prince Charles visited Opportune in Faslane the dit book was perused by the heir to the throne. He was seen to smile, but declined to sign the dit book.

One by one the dit books disappeared from the motor room, I know the whereabouts of one of them. It resides in Cambridge in the clutches of one who shares a nickname with David Beckham. Perhaps if you possess one of these dit books you could scan them and e-mail them to me.

I came across a copy of one of the pictures I'd previously cut out of a magazine to use in the dit book. I've recreated the dit below.

Nelson dit


Here's another one.

pope dit

Thanks to Skip Phillips for the following dit:


Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to the signal officer. What's the meaning of this?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir?"

Nelson (reading aloud): "England expects every person to do his duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability". "What gobbledygook is this?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It’s part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it ... full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What?"

Hardy: "Health and safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness. And they said that rope ladder doesn't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny."

Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

Nelson: "We're not?"

Hardy: "No, sir. The Frenchies and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-coordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules."

Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

Hardy: "I believe it's to be encouraged, sir."

Nelson: "In that case ....................................
.............................kiss me, Hardy!

A bit too close for comfort some may think!


A poem:

I like the sea
And I like the navy
I like the Jimmy
Dipped in gravy.....
.....red hot bastard gravy


Thanks to Bob Head for the following dits:

A Clash of Cultures

It’s the early 60’s when one of Her Majesties sleek black messengers of death enters Portsmouth dockyard for dry-docking. ‘Deeps’, the Tanky, an able assistant to the Coxswain and oppo of the Leading Chef is instructed to run an errand to Victory Barracks by the No1.

Resplendent in his battery acid honed No.8ts. trousers, salt encrusted steaming boots, off grey submarine roll neck sweater and nicely yellowed cap with bow strategically placed over his left eye, our hero enters Barracks. He strolls across the parade ground contemplating lighting up a DF when the strangulated cry of a “That creature there” rents the peace. 

A Chief Gunnery Instructor, testicles tightly bound with black masking tape to obtain that required pitch, stands quivering on his mirror like boots with inch thick soles and 200 polished hobnails. Deeps thinks, ‘not me I am only a visitor’ and ambles on.

The Chief of the Parade, who, as we all know never runs any where, walks at great speed, pace stick clenched firmly between the cheeks of his ar-s, no under his arm really. When he gets in front of our hero he places the tip of his pace stick on Deeps chest to prevent any escape and eyes him up and down. Deeps, having suffered the wrath of various Submarine Chief Stokers, is totally unfazed by this apparition and awaits the next move.

Chief of the Parade, “There is a bit of sh-t on the end of my stick”

Deeps, “Not at my end Chief”

P.S.  CLANG, “Mind your fingers Jack”


Read and understand, for this is the past, present and the future.

In the beginning was the plan.
And then came the assumptions.
And the assumptions were without form.
And the plan was completely without substance.
And the darkness was upon the face of the Junior Rates.
And they spoke among themselves saying,
"It is a bucket of shit and it stinketh."

And the Junior Rates went unto their Senior Rates, and sayeth: "It is a pail of dung, and none can abide the odour thereof"

And the Senior Rates went unto the Coxswain and sayeth unto him, "It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, such that none can abide it."

And the Coxswain went unto the Jimmy and sayeth, "It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none can abide its strength." And the Jimmy spoke with the Old Man and Staff Officers, saying one to another, "It contains that which aids plant growth, and is very strong."

And the Old Man went unto the Captain Submarine Squadron and sayeth to him, "It promotes growth, and is very powerful."

And the Captain S/Mís went unto the Flag Officer Submarines, and Sayeth unto him, "This new plan will actively promote moral and fighting efficiency among Submariners."

And the Flag Officer Submarine looked upon the plan, and saw that it was good. And the plan became policy.

And this is how shit lands upon you.

Admiral John Fieldhouse

Admiral Fieldhouse showing no hard feelings after an exchange of views in the Fore Ends.

Thanks to Michael 'Laffbag' McLaughlin for the following:

Senior Rates Mess dit