Home « Forum « Editors/Reviewers Hangout

Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

Help wanted: Australian Sailor

Zen Master

I am very early in writing part two of my "The First Command". It will be told from the point of view of the person who is the ship's XO in TFC. He is an Australian naval officer who was medically retired. I know ships, I know the Swarm Cycle, I'm still learning how to write, but I won't pretend to speak Australian Naval Officer. I'm gonna need a lot of speech therapy......

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Zen Master

The second in command of an Australian naval vessel has the title of First Lieutenant, regardless of rank; nicknamed The Jimmy.

There's a series of action stories set in the Australian Navy during WW2 my James Edmond MacDonnell that's quite good - he worked his way up from sailor to officer and was also a reporter and author.

Edit to add: His actual rank will vary with the size of the ship.

Replies:   Zen Master
Zen Master

@Ernest Bywater

I thought of sending you and AgroDavid a private email asking if you knew any cranky old men who just happened to have served as officers in RAN. It's not about the Australian Navy. It's about an RAN officer 'transferred' to a very foreign service and dealing with, among other things, the differences in speech patterns, the way things are named, etc. The setting is Thinking Horndog's Swarm Cycle which I know summat about, it's just the way the character would talk that I can't fake.
You raise an excellent example. The US Navy has a title "First Lieutenant". It refers to the officer responsible for the First (or "Deck") Division, all those guys who deal with all the deck equipment. Boats, anchors, the flagstaff, etc. Anyone raised in the USN would hear Our Hero say "I was First Lieutenant on...." and think he was an established expert on anchor maintenance. Our Hero would be saying "If the Old Man buys it I'm in command", something completely different. I need a translator!

Replies:   sejintenej
FSwan

I've been under the impression Commonwealth navies called the XOs "First Officers" and referred to them as "Number One". But, I may be confused by CAPT Picard.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@FSwan

Number One


That term is also used, but the common slang term used by the crew is The Jimmy heaven only knows why. However, the information I have is from decades ago, and it's possible the close involvement with the US military has seen some changes.

sejintenej

@Zen Master

It refers to the officer responsible for the First (or "Deck") Division, all those guys who deal with all the deck equipment. Boats, anchors, the flagstaff, etc

A naval officer I know well was seconded to the US during the Falklands War (NO not the Malvinas). His wife phoned for him asking for Lieutenant Major and the US navy moron replied "this is the navy - we don't have majors here" before slamming the phone down.

Back to Top