Sunday, August 7, 2016

“Rope Yarn Sunday” - An Old Naval Tradition

Rope Yarn Sunday is a tradition in the navy where the commanding officer can give the crew personal time off. Although practiced in the United States Navy, it is believed to have originated in the Royal Navy as “Make and Mend”. As such the tradition was also practiced in the navies of the of the Commonwealth.  It started during the times when navy ships used sails. The sailors would break out rope yarn to mend their clothes and hammocks. The tradition was a break from usual chores at sea, and was nicknamed "Rope Yarn Sunday”. After sailing ships were no longer used by the Navy, Rope Yarn Sunday (usually Wednesday afternoons) was declared when sailors would use the time to attend to personal errands and administrative matters. Somewhat archaic, like the author (remember the practice as a midshipman), it was largely discontinued in the 1960’s, and is apparently not that broadly practiced (if at all) in the modern navy.

Consistent with the tradition and attending to administrative matters; During the course of this blog, now going on five years (started March 2011), there have been several different “puzzlements” which have remained unanswered to the author.

First is how a blog focused on the combination of two very esoteric hobbies (toy soldiers and militaria) and a World War II battle (Arnhem) that’s not that well known in the United States, can achieve and maintain an active audience interest. As of this date there have been 417,176 hits from 189 countries. There are 206 countries currently participating in the summer Olympic Games, a difference of only 17 nations.

Second is the relative balanced interest in the main themes of the blog; British Militaria - 31%, Operation “Market Garden”, the Battle of Arnhem - 30% and Wm. Britains Ltd., and other toy soldiers -28%. The remaining percentage pertaining to other subjects of military history.

Another curiosity, given the level of interest in the blog, is the seeming lack of questions from readers. Am not certain what the norm is for interaction with this nature of blog, but my inclination is that people interested in a subject would always have more questions.  

The author is sincerely appreciative of the continuing readership of the 54 “followers” of the blog, as well as certain loyal viewers who can be identified by their sign-in location in the world. While there have been major significant contributions by readers with specific expert knowledge on a subject, the author would continue to encourage any corrections or additions, as well as specific reader questions on a given subject.

With selected subjects of major interest, follow-up addendums and associated aspects in new blog pages have been introduced. Being retired gives the author the extended opportunity to search the Internet, in addition to researching a fairly extensive reference library for answers. It suffices to say over the span of the blog, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from both readers and research.

In order to give the reader/viewer some idea of the diversity of people’s interests, I thought a ranked listing of the top ten posts might be of interest;
            1. The Hamilcar Gliders at Operation ‘Market Garden’- Arnhem 1944
            2. British Cap Badges – Additional Guidance in Identifying Restrikes and Counterfeits
            3. The Airborne Jeeps of the British First Airborne Division at Operation Market-Garden - 1944
            4. Collecting Toy Soldiers/Military Miniatures; The State of the Hobby
            5. WWII Parachute Regiment Cap Badge – A Forensic Analysis
            6. The War Canoes of World War II – Cockleshell Heroes
            7. Famous War Horses in History and Who rode Them
            8. General Aircraft GAL 49/50 Hamilcar - The Other WWII Assault Glider
            9. The 17 pounder Anti-Tank Guns at Operation ‘Market-Garden’- 1944
            10. British 1st Airborne Division Vehicle Markings at Operation ‘Market-Garden’- 1944

When new knowledge is gained on a subject, it’s either incorporated into an addendum, or added to an already published article. Because of this fact readers who may be interested in a particular subject should check back on older articles periodically for revised or additional information.

There is one other administrative matter that should be addressed. Although the author realizes a major opportunity was lost, this blog provides absolutely no direct personal financial gain, with a single exception. Because of the implicit advertisement of items shown in articles, the author has received a limited number of complimentary toy soldier sets from their manufacturers. This fact is mentioned, given the recent and continuing significant increasing price of toy soldiers. In using multimedia images/videos, the author has made it a continuing conscientious effort to obtain the personal permission of the originating party, and/or to acknowledge same.

Given the attempt to make each article as interesting as possible, multimedia features from YouTube and other sources may change or be removed. The author tries to pick up and correct these changes/omissions when they occur, but no absolute guarantees. If you happen to spot something a-miss, please mention it in the comments.

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