In World War I, the German navy disguised one of their ships as a British ship, the RMS Carmania, and sent it to ambush British vessels. Unfortunately for the Germans, the very first British ship she encountered was the real RMS Carmania. Who promptly sank its doppelganger.
Both British and American sailors have worn bell-bottom trousers. Named for the wide flare at the bottom, they were introduced in Britain in 1857, with the justification that it allowed men in the water to kick them off over their boots.
Although its unclear when the US navy introduced them, they were first recorded as being worn by US sailors in 1813. The American justification for the weird pants was that they could be easily rolled up and kept dry when sailors scrubbed the decks.
By the way, picture is from the World War II hit song, “Bell Bottom Trousers.”
Sunday Funnies, Provincetown, 1948. Photographed by Bill Witt.
Some tidbits that interested me:
- Blackbeard was born Edward Thache, son of a moneyed Englishman who brought his family to the Caribbean when Edward was 4 or 5 years old, to become a plantation owner. They owned slaves.
- Edward’s mother Elizabeth died in 1699, and sometime around then, Edward had a daughter he named Elizabeth.
- By 1699, Edward Thache was working on merchant ships, and in April 1706, he joined the British navy.
- In late 1706, his father passed away. Edward signed over his inherited estates to his stepmother, choosing life at sea over life as a planter
- Thache almost certainly fought in Queen Anne’s War (1701 – 1714) and probably enjoyed the fighting, because when the war was over, he turned pirate
A young woman writing a thank you note to her boyfriend in the Navy for the skull of a Japanese soldier that he sent, May 22, 1944
The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Edwards underway in the Caribbean Sea during her shakedown period, circa November 1942.
Edwards received 14 Battle Stars for her World War II service, a total surpassed by only nine other ships during the war.
Sailors and girl, San Diego, 1948.