Ask a SKIMMER to relate a submarine saying, famous - infamous - or indifferent, and you can bet your bottom dirty dhoby drawer, that he will say:

"They come unseen" 

"They come unclean"


and lots of other rather unflattering statements, uttered out of jealousy, envy or sheer pride that at least one part of the navy is ULTRA PROFESSIONAL and of course free of the female influence - long may that be.

Ask a FISH HEAD to add to the sayings above, and no doubt you will hear things that I dont know about which might be new to the navy I left in the early '80s and the submarine service I left in the early 70s.

What you might hear from a couple of 'old hands' driving submarines and wardroom members, is the one I am attaching here. As a young submariner in Turpin, Seraph [for a very short time] and Grampus, I used to hear this expression often.  Most communicators will know full well the significance of OSB {Outer Spit Buoy - at Portsmouth} , either as a signalled ETA {half an hour from there before the first line across on the dedicated berth} or as a setting watch time on HOA {Harbour Ops Admin} later to become HOAN {Harbour Ops Admin Net} for local signals from the QHM {Queens Harbour Master} exercising his power through AS Portsmouth {Admiral Superintendent} - a Rear Admiral, and of any branch from executive, to engineering to pusser - the boss of the dockyard.

Submariners no longer use HMS Dolphin {Fort Blockhouse} and I wonder whether or not the saying is still used by SKIMMERS [and the odd boat into the Portsmouth side of the harbour} when entering Portsmouth harbour.

Here is the saying: Click to enlarge