Lieutenant Commander Glenn von Zeil, SA Naval Reserves
The bosun’s call or bosun’s pipe was used in days of sail to communicate commands on board ships, especially to those men in the rigging who were adjusting the
In modern navies it fulfils a functional ceremonial purpose used to announce daily evolutions, including sunset, colours, call the hands at “wakey wakey”, summons the officer of the day, announce meals, rounds and pipe down.
It is also the symbol of office of a master at arms or coxswain and is displayed on a silver chair worn around the neck.
As in the SA Navy, the sea cadets use a bosun’s call for the same purposes and cadets are taught the art of “piping” early on in their cadet exper-
There is nothing like the piercing sound of a bosun’s call piping “wakey wakey, rise and shine, heavo, heavo, lash up and stow” or other humorous variations at 5am to rouse the hands. As bosun’s calls are not manufactured in South Africa, these are valued items in both the SA Navy and Sea Cadet Corps.
The ACME Whistle Company in London, England, and benefactors,
Michael Pinner in London, with
another mystery benefactor, purchased and donated two bosun’s calls to each South African sea
cadet unit. Two
were also procured and are available to the Zimbabwe unit, TS Matebele, based in Bulawayo.
The officers commanding and sea cadets from the South African units are appreciative of this kind gesture as it ensures that sea cadets will have bosun’s calls to practise their piping as well as fulfil the ceremonial functions within the units.
This will ensure that naval and nautical traditions are maintained and that South African sea cadets can participate equally with other sea cadets on an international platform.
Thank you to A
Company and Michael Pinner, in London, and the mystery
South African benefactor for making this possible.