"NOW HEAR THIS"
Title: Remembrances (II) CL-42
Published: January 1996
By: Bruce Davis
We had a new Ensign aboard just out of OCS. We were at anchor in Hamilton Harbor, Bermuda, late December 1941. This new man was sharing OD duty with Lt. Fletcher (who was in the wardroom at the time). The CBS walked onto the quarter deck, snapped off a smart salute and asked permission to raise the accommodation ladder. When asked why, the chief quickly replied “Tides coming in and we don’t want the skirt and steps to get wet.” Permission was granted and the chief and his crew quickly raised the ladder and vacated the quarter deck.
Within 15 or 20 minutes, Captain Giffin called for his gig to go ashore. The gig came alongside but there was no way he could board. When the captain questioned why the ladder was raised, the young officer related the chief’s story. The captain held a straight face for about five seconds and then doubled over with laughter against the rail. Once recovered, the only thing he said was “Get the ladder lowered, I’ll come back.”
Word passed repeatedly for the CBM, but there was no response. Finally, a BM2/C lowered the ladder and told the OD. The chief left the ship with a working party.
Later, I learned the trick was hatched by CBM Newhart and COM Weatherford. . . two old line chiefs.