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  #1  
Old 12-03-2009, 15:37
mik43 mik43 is offline
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Default RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

Bill Rice, who some of you may know as the author of 'The RN in SA 1900-2000', is involved in a project by the Simons Town Historical Society to write a book celebrating the centenary of the East Dockyard in 2010. He is interested in any photos you may have of the Naval Base/ships/personnel and of course tales that are relevant that you could let him have so that he may include them in the book if suitable - whether you knew it as Simonstown or as it is now - Simons Town.

Please e-mail your contributions to kemndine1@telkomsa.net Please also be advised that if you have a number of attachments to send then transmit them one at a time to that they don't run foul of the IT size polis!!

On behalf of Bill, many thanks in anticipation of your contributions.

Mik
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2010, 15:42
Abbeywood. Abbeywood. is offline
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Default RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

Can any of you older 'salts' suggest the name of the Simonstown Shore Base.
In the early 60's I remember seeing uniformed RN personnel in Capetown and I feel sure their cap-tallies carried the name of a bird, (for example - HMS Kittiwake), though, so far, I've only managed to come up with the name HMS Afrikander,which is a somewhat flightless humanoid
Any advances on that.
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2010, 15:54
Dave Hutson Dave Hutson is offline
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Default Re: RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

Hi Abbeywood.

The Naval Base at Simonstown was indeed HMS AFRIKANDER.

HMS Kittiwake, a sloop, did exist but she was damaged off the Goodwin Sands in September 1939 when she hit a mine, was towed into Dover and later moved to Sheerness for repair. She survived WWII and was transferred to the Chinese Government in 1946.

In the early 60's we had a few ships with Bird Names - i.e. Eagle, Crane, Magpie, Starling, Redpole - and the only ones I can think of of those perhaps being in Cape Town around that period were the Eagle or the Crane.

No doubt there is a more positive answer out there so prepare for incomig.

Dave H

Last edited by Dave Hutson : 07-12-2010 at 16:09. Reason: Addon - change to post
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  #4  
Old 07-12-2010, 17:07
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Default Re: RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbeywood. View Post
Can any of you older 'salts' suggest the name of the Simonstown Shore Base.
In the early 60's I remember seeing uniformed RN personnel in Capetown and I feel sure their cap-tallies carried the name of a bird, (for example - HMS Kittiwake), though, so far, I've only managed to come up with the name HMS Afrikander,which is a somewhat flightless humanoid
Any advances on that.
It was HMS Afrikander
see here http://www.oldships.org.uk/SHIPS/SHO...ER_DETAILS.htm
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2010, 17:42
whalecatcher whalecatcher is offline
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Default Re: RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

Quote:
Can any of you older 'salts' suggest the name of the Simonstown Shore Base.
In the early 60's I remember seeing uniformed RN personnel in Capetown and I feel sure their cap-tallies carried the name of a bird, (for example - HMS Kittiwake), though, so far, I've only managed to come up with the name HMS Afrikander,which is a somewhat flightless humanoid
AFRIKANDER was an ancient RN cruiser (HMS THAMES 1885) which became the training ship GENERAL BOTHA, reverting to the name AFRIKANDER in 1939. As mentioned by others she was the accommodation ship at Simonstown and the name may attached to other establishments at the Cape.

Wingfield Naval Air Station at Belleville near Cape Town was called HMS MALAGAS. This is a bird name, with Malgas being the Afrikaans word for the Cape Gannet. (The name derives from Malgas Island off Saldhana Bay, a breeding ground for these birds.) However, the air-station shut down for good in 1946, and can hardly have been what was referred to in the original question.

Whalecatcher
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2010, 13:48
Abbeywood. Abbeywood. is offline
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Default Re: RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

Thanks, all, for the speedy replies.
As the general consensus is HMS Afrikander then I'll stick at that.
Seems that I had birds on the brain, or probable over-indulgence in Cape Brandy, or possibly both.
Thanks, again, and my regards
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2011, 07:20
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Default Re: Simons Town, South Africa

Here's a few photos, all taken sometime between May 1946 and December 1949 while my father served as a Leading Signalman in the Signals Unit at Simonstown Naval Base. The Signals Unit was outside the main site, along St Georges Street, on the hillside opposite St Francis Church.

The first photo shows HMS Glasgow entering Simonstown Naval Base. The next two show a parade on the parade ground. The third shows the same parade proceeding along St Georges Street, with the photographer standing in front of the church of St Francis, where I was christened. My Dad wrote on the back that it was taken outside his office (The Signals Unit), which was on the opposite side of the road. I guess at this event was laying up the ship's ensign when Glasgow left the 5th Cruiser Squadron and returned to UK to go into reserve. The next two pictures show the Signals Office and some of the staff. Then there is a "Paint Ship" with my Dad on the left. Then there's a couple of the Signals Unit Canteen. Finally, an invitation to a function that includes myself (family 1): I don't know what the function was but it would have been in late 1948 or early 1949. The name of the C in C's wife - Lady Moody _ might be a clue.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2011, 10:24
Destroyerman Destroyerman is offline
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Default Re: Simons Town, South Africa

Thanks for originating this thread Mik.

My father served at Simonstown during WWII, hence my twin sister and I were born at Seapoint in October 1942. He was an ERA.

Shall look up a photo I have sculling around somewhere.

Sandy.
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2011, 21:55
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Default Re: Simons Town, South Africa

A picture I saw recently of Simons Town Base in 2006 with RFA Diligence.
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File Type: jpg SIMONS TOWN-2005N-WITH RFA DILIGENCE..jpg (1.43 MB, 44 views)
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  #10  
Old 07-06-2011, 06:50
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Default Re: Simons Town, South Africa

In July 2008, I was contacted by David Erickson of the Simon's Town joint British/South African Naval Heritage Museum who sent me the following illustrated report (pdf format) about four Victorian sea mines discovered in the former Royal Navy dockyard with a request for more information:
Mines at Simon’s Town East Dockyard
I was able to tell him that the mines were probably 500 lb electrically-fired Mk III 'Naval Countermines', also laid as 'observation mines' in controlled minefields, as shown in the first attached illustration from this report produced by HMS Vernon in 1888. The markings on the mines indicated that they were manufactured at the Royal Laboratory (Woolwich Arsenal) around 120 years ago.

The second attached illustration is from a report published by the Vernon Torpedo School in 1891 and shows one of these British EM (Electro Mechanical) mines powered by dry cell batteries with smaller casks probably acting as recovery floats.
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  #11  
Old 09-07-2011, 08:31
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Default Re: Simons Town Naval Base, South Africa

Only just found this thread. My Great Uncle was Officer in Charge of the RN Armament Depot at Simon's Town, HMS Afrikander, 1922 - 1927.

I hope this thread develops to chart the history of this important RN naval base, established around 1806 and eventually handed back to South Africa under the Simonstown Agreement of 1955.
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  #12  
Old 09-07-2011, 13:06
David Verghese David Verghese is offline
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Default Re: Simon's Town Naval Base, HMS Afrikander, South Africa

Earlier this year I obtained a copy of the book Simon's Town Dockyard - the first hundred years, published by the Simon's Town Historical Society and the South African Naval heritage Trust. The development of the book is referred to by Mik43 in the first post of this thread.

It is well researched (by Captain Bill Rice SAN Retd.) and produced, and is a good read for anyone interested in naval bases, especially if there is a family connection as per Dreadnought's post. The one criticism I have is that 90% or more of the pictures in this well-illustrated book are very small, due in the main to the double column printing. This is a shame as it does detract from the overall presentation of the book.

David
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  #13  
Old 09-07-2011, 13:35
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Default Re: Simon's Town Naval Base, HMS Afrikander, South Africa

I was in Simons Town (and I always thought that was one word!) on board the Eskimo in 1971. At that time, on the dock wall, were painted the names of many tens of visiting RN ships. I would guess they are no longer there as people clean things, but is there a photograph in existence?
Steve
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  #14  
Old 09-07-2011, 14:15
David Verghese David Verghese is offline
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Default Re: Simons Town, South Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroyerman View Post
Thanks for originating this thread Mik.

My father served at Simonstown during WWII, hence my twin sister and I were born at Seapoint in October 1942. He was an ERA.

Shall look up a photo I have sculling around somewhere.

Sandy.
Sandy

The Lady of the house's father, Pete Hocking, was an ERA who was at Simonstown naval base late July - early November 1942 and thus may well have known your father. As was often the case in the war he got there "not according to the plan". He was on HMS Janus and briefly:

9. June 1941 - During Operation Exporter, against the Vichy French off the Syrian coast their Destroyer Squadron (Hotspur, Jackal, Jaguar and Janus) sighted the VF destroyers Guepard and Valmy interfering with Austalian troop operations near the Litani river. The British force was widely spread and Janus' Captain decided somewhat unwisely to engage the enemy before the rest of the line had formed up in what might have been a classic offensive manouevre. A gun battle ensued, one of the VF destroyers hitting HMS Janus from 10,000yd. Her bridge was destroyed and both her Admiralty 3-drum boilers were put out of action. I am unsure if she fired her torpedoes. HMS Jackal arrived in support and the VF destroyers retired.

Fire broke out on the Janus and she reached Haifa under tow (HMS Kimberley). She was then towed (HM Netlayer Protector) to Port Suez, her damage was assessed to be fairly extensive and she was ordered to sail slowly to Simonstown, via stops at Mombasa and Durban. She spent time in the Selborne dry dock where repairs were carried out on her boilers, torpedo tubes and rudder. Her gun mountings were replaced in the other dock.

So Pete got an HMS Afrikander stamp on his service record. After several actions on HMS Janus in the Mediterranean theatre (Convoy duties under fire, Battle of the Tarigo Convoy, Battle of Crete - part of Force D under R. Adm I. Glennie, then the enounter with the VF) I suspect Pete Hocking's time in Simonstown was not too arduous. He spent time on shore-based duties there so could well have worked with base ERAs. (he might be on one of your photos). He came back to Pompey aboard HMS Dauntless, arriving mid December 1941 and got married to Mary.

David
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  #15  
Old 10-07-2011, 06:45
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Brett Hendey Brett Hendey is offline
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Default Re: Simon's Town Naval Base, HMS Afrikander, South Africa

Steve

The Naval Heritage Society of South Africa published the following book:

The Ship's Badges of Simon's Town Dry Dock by J F Wainwright
Cost: SA Rand 150.

It has colour pictures of all the badges, together with an account of the ships represented.

Regardss
Brett
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  #16  
Old 17-09-2012, 11:06
Ceres Ceres is offline
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Default Re: RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbeywood. View Post
Can any of you older 'salts' suggest the name of the Simonstown Shore Base.
In the early 60's I remember seeing uniformed RN personnel in Capetown and I feel sure their cap-tallies carried the name of a bird, (for example - HMS Kittiwake), though, so far, I've only managed to come up with the name HMS Afrikander,which is a somewhat flightless humanoid
Any advances on that.
V. late to reply but just read query. HMS Afrikander was land based HQ of
C-in-C South Atlantic - my father was on his staff in 1963-1965. Any contact with Simonstown was only if there were visiting R.N Ships.
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  #17  
Old 17-09-2012, 14:25
Destroyerman Destroyerman is offline
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Default Re: Simons Town, South Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Verghese View Post
Sandy

The Lady of the house's father, Pete Hocking, was an ERA who was at Simonstown naval base late July - early November 1942 and thus may well have known your father. As was often the case in the war he got there "not according to the plan". He was on HMS Janus and briefly:

9. June 1941 - During Operation Exporter, against the Vichy French off the Syrian coast their Destroyer Squadron (Hotspur, Jackal, Jaguar and Janus) sighted the VF destroyers Guepard and Valmy interfering with Austalian troop operations near the Litani river. The British force was widely spread and Janus' Captain decided somewhat unwisely to engage the enemy before the rest of the line had formed up in what might have been a classic offensive manouevre. A gun battle ensued, one of the VF destroyers hitting HMS Janus from 10,000yd. Her bridge was destroyed and both her Admiralty 3-drum boilers were put out of action. I am unsure if she fired her torpedoes. HMS Jackal arrived in support and the VF destroyers retired.

Fire broke out on the Janus and she reached Haifa under tow (HMS Kimberley). She was then towed (HM Netlayer Protector) to Port Suez, her damage was assessed to be fairly extensive and she was ordered to sail slowly to Simonstown, via stops at Mombasa and Durban. She spent time in the Selborne dry dock where repairs were carried out on her boilers, torpedo tubes and rudder. Her gun mountings were replaced in the other dock.

So Pete got an HMS Afrikander stamp on his service record. After several actions on HMS Janus in the Mediterranean theatre (Convoy duties under fire, Battle of the Tarigo Convoy, Battle of Crete - part of Force D under R. Adm I. Glennie, then the enounter with the VF) I suspect Pete Hocking's time in Simonstown was not too arduous. He spent time on shore-based duties there so could well have worked with base ERAs. (he might be on one of your photos). He came back to Pompey aboard HMS Dauntless, arriving mid December 1941 and got married to Mary.

David
Thanks David.

I now remember promising to post an image of my Dad.

Yer 'tiz.

Mum, Dad at Hout Bay 1941.

Sandy.
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File Type: jpg m.Mum Dad Brian Hout Bay 1942.jpg (233.0 KB, 27 views)
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  #18  
Old 18-09-2012, 16:12
whalecatcher whalecatcher is offline
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Default Re: RN Dockyard at Simonstown, South Africa

[quote=Ceres;10044795]V. \

Ceres writes:

In the early 60's I remember seeing uniformed RN personnel in Capetown and I feel sure their cap-tallies carried the name of a bird, (for example - HMS Kittiwake), though, so far, I've only managed to come up with the name HMS Afrikander,which is a somewhat flightless humanoid.

Although the Simonstown base was handed over to the South African Navy in 1955, I believe the facilities remained available to vessels of the Royal Navy until much later, so Ceres might have seen libertymen from one of the Kingfisher or Shearwater class patrol vessels, if any of these survived into the sixties.

Not exactly relevant to what Ceres was looking for, but one South Atlantic wartime shore establishment was named for a South African bird. Malagas is he Afrikaans term for the Cape Gannet, and the Naval Air Station Wingfield at Bellville near Cape Town was named HMS Malagas. It closed down in 1946, and as best I remember cap tallies did not read MALAGAS...just HMS.

Whalecatcher
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  #19  
Old 24-09-2012, 16:10
harris harris is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

It was certainly still available for the use of RN ships in 1972. The Royal Yacht called in on the way out to the far east and again on the return home. A lot of "up homers" were offered for the three day stays and local branch of the RNA put on some great events for us.
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  #20  
Old 24-09-2012, 19:38
Destroyerman Destroyerman is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by harris View Post
It was certainly still available for the use of RN ships in 1972. The Royal Yacht called in on the way out to the far east and again on the return home. A lot of "up homers" were offered for the three day stays and local branch of the RNA put on some great events for us.
Harris, how I wish I could have got "up homers".

Twenty five years in the mob and never got to call in to Simons Town.

Even when the Suez Canal was closed and HMS BULWARK had to get to the Far East around the Horn, we never called-in.

Managed to get over in 2004 and visited the house we lived in, Claremont.

Que Sera.

Sandy.
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  #21  
Old 24-09-2012, 21:10
harris harris is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

Hi Sandy. The reason we got so many grippo's I suspect was because the yacht was never "open to visitors" as such. Crew members were allowed to bring "friends" back on board so there was always plenty of hospitality on offer so that the hosts could be invited back for a look round. We were just lucky I suppose to be serving on such a prestigious ship.
Fred.
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  #22  
Old 15-04-2014, 02:27
FMG FMG is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

Simonstown 1968.

FMG
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File Type: jpg Simonstown 1.jpg (323.2 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg Simonstown 2.jpg (238.0 KB, 61 views)
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  #23  
Old 13-05-2014, 09:40
bobtt55 bobtt55 is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

Hi, I'm researching my grandfathers time in South Africa. According to his service certificate, he was drafted to HMS Afrikander I on the 27th May 1942 from HMS Victory on the 26th May 1942. Clearly impossible, I know, but like my own service certificate, transit time was not accounted for, only the fact that you were drafted that day. Once my Grandfather arrived in Simonstown I have a record of his movements over the following 2 years from the Afrikander I to the Assegai, Kongoni, Genista, Sennen & Tana during the period he arrived & departed back to Victory on the 13th July 1944. My question is, how were Naval personnel transported from Portsmouth to simons town. I assume by escorted convey via, Gib, then the Suez, perhaps stopping at Aden, Kilindini, Durban. Does anyone out there have any records or pics to support this.

Thanks
Bob
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Old 14-05-2014, 02:59
fleetchief fleetchief is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

The best C.O. I ever had, was Cdr. Alan Grose on HMS Eskimo, who later became Vice Admiral Sir Alan Grose, KBE, RN. He was married to Gillian Dymond, who was the daughter of Commodore Dryden Dymond, SA Navy, who I understand was one of the driving forces behind building the SA Navy.

Alan moved to SA, when he retired from the RN, and worked as Head of Security for DeBeers. He and Gillian moved into Commodore Dymond's old house overlooking the bay.

I had the opportunity to visit Cape Town, early 1969, when Glamorgan went into Simonstown when en-route from the Far East to U.K. Still Apartheid then, I had to sort out the Dockyard Police who were trying to prevent some guests visiting the ship, because they were coloured. They were accompanied by one of the few coloured crew members we had and weren't going to let them in. I had to explain we had no colour bar in the RN, and the crew member was entitled to bring his guests on-board. The Dockyard Police finally relented and let them in, though with ill grace.

Cheers,

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  #25  
Old 14-05-2014, 09:31
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Rob Hoole Rob Hoole is offline
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Default Re: RN Naval Base: HMS Afrikander, Simon's Town South Africa

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobtt55 View Post
...My question is, how were Naval personnel transported from Portsmouth to simons town. I assume by escorted convey via, Gib, then the Suez, perhaps stopping at Aden, Kilindini, Durban. Does anyone out there have any records or pics to support this.

Thanks
Bob
Hello Bob,

Most likely, your grandfather would have been given a warrant or been put on a special train from Portsmouth to Liverpool to embark in a troopship. This would have progressed to Simonstown via a series of convoys ('Winston Specials') and he may well have gone westabout via Freetown in Sierra Leone.

See WS CONVOYS - January to June 1942 SAILINGS on the naval-history.net website.

Many of the trains involved had non-walkthrough compartments without a WC. It was a long time to wait and one of my friends told a possibly apocryphal tale of boarding the troopship at Liverpool with a desperate soldier:
Soldier: "Where's the nearest toilet?"
Sailor: "Port side."
Soldier: "Port Said? Phew! I hope we stop at Gibraltar on the way!"
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