There are some romantics who would have you believe that the boss of a Portsmouth PRESS GANG, a nice chap called Andrew, gave his name to the colloquialism THE ANDREW, when referring to the Royal Navy.

In the days of yore, young sailors used to be TANT'ed , or teased by their more senior sea-daddies, and as time went by, the word became know as TANTALISE.  Still in the days of yore, when ashore, sailors used to be TANT'ed by lasses [what's new?] and that tease was prefixed with the male sex organ and used as a  universal colloquialism. 

Many years later, after the days of yore, a bright young thing called Marmaduke Cocked-Hat after whom the dodgy navigation fix was named, invented a device for pulling the stars out of the sky and sitting them on the horizon, just as though they were terrestrial objects, so he could use them to fix the ships position.  He had read about the girls of Portsmouth and their TANTING, and thinking about 'things coming down' {rather like his stars}, and why they would come down?, he decided to call his new instrument a SEX TANT.  Eventually, the words were joined and SEXTANT became nearly as well known as the P-Teaser half mentioned above! After that, sailors became pre-occupied with pulling stars, and since feathered aviators flew in the heavenly spaces, like the stars, the phrase pulling birds was born. 

Now I put it to you that sailors, nay every sailor, had a love-hate relationship with the Navy, and basically, at least in the days of yore, when they were ashore they loved it, and when back onboard they hated it.  Oh, incidentally, this group of sailors were not pressed men, otherwise they would not have been  allowed to clean for the liberty boat.  That established, we can safely assume that a local bully-boy didn't scare them, and his name would not have been used pan-Navy. His name would have been parochial to Portsmouth [mainly] and feared by civilian men frequenting the local pubs.  What then would have generated the need to have a name, other than the Royal Navy?

The answer is quite obvious and is based on the hate side of the love-hate relationship.  Hate manifests itself in many different and diverse ways, but an unsophisticated sailor would have chosen the easy option of blaming all his ill's on the Navy, and in those days of poor and inadequate food, his motions would have been 'all at sea'.  Too much beer ashore and not enough greens at sea would have played havoc with his bowels, and given the inadequacies of the heads, every visit would be a curse brought upon him by the Navy.  Put simply, the Navy gave him the motions!!  

Just about that time, a little fat grubby man from Mablethorpe, happened upon a remedy for making sure that the bowel would always perform as intended notwithstanding what the owner pushed down his throat.  He found that by giving a kick-start to the liver, the largest organ in the human body, every other organ would perform well so ensuring the well being of the body owner. To do this, he TANT'ed the liver with salt, and as everybody knows, liver's do not like salt.  The liver rejected the salt almost immediately, and everything that was in the way between the liver and the anus was forcibly rejected too.  This intrigued Jack {our sailor} and he readily sought an analogy with being in the Navy where his 'imprisoned' environment and harsh treatment gave him the s.... in much the same way.

However, Jack {our sailor} could not capitalise on his findings, though he knew that sailors had no need of this new product, for the Navy, in his eyes, supplied it in abundance: laxative that is.

Andrew Squeezehead, our man from Mablethorpe did however capitalise on his product and it became known world wide [never mind just the Royal Navy] as Andrews Liver Salts.  Because of its direct association with the functioning of the bowels, sailors called the Royal Navy The Andrew, and used it as a euphemism for going to the heads for a sit-down job.

Thus, this little advert is the true cause of the name and naval folk-law.

I beg you not to listen to other stories.

Yours aye

Godfrey [Jeff] Dykes

Ganges, in the days of yore!!

P.S. On a more serious note, this little snippet is taken from Hansard, the daily record of the goings-on in the Houses of Parliament.

Press gangs

Navy and Army

Press gangs were well known for the physical force they used in recruiting men into the Royal Navy during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was, however, a practice which Parliament had first sanctioned several centuries earlier.  

In time of war impressment – as the practice was known – was also a tactic employed by the Army to acquire extra men, usually when the non-violent methods of the recruiting sergeants failed to enlist sufficient numbers.   

Naval impressment

The Crown claimed a permanent right to seize men of seafaring experience for the Royal Navy, and the practice was at various times given parliamentary authority.   Impressment was vigorously enforced during the naval wars of the 18th century by Acts passed in 1703, 1705, 1740 and 1779.  

The men pressed into service were usually sailors in the merchant fleets, but might just as often be ordinary apprentices and labourers. During the wars with France from 1793 to 1815, an impress service operated in British coastal towns. 

Although further laws passed in 1835 upheld the power to impress, in practice it fell into disuse after 1815.  

Army recruiting

During the 18th century, public perception of standing armies as instruments of despotic government obliged Parliament to keep Britain’s peacetime forces as small as possible.  

There were times, however, when involvement in continental and colonial wars made it necessary for Parliament to legislate hastily for the speedy recruitment of vast additional forces. 

These extra men were raised either through voluntary enlistment or by compulsion. Recruiting Acts were passed annually during the periods 1703-11, 1743-44, 1756-57, 1778-79, and in 1783, while the British army was engaged in major wars in Europe and elsewhere.  

The Acts offered a financial bounty or reward to men who enlisted for limited periods – in 1757 the sum was £3. They also gave powers to magistrates to press unemployed, but otherwise able-bodied, men.