Author Topic: Gunner's whistle  (Read 1250 times)

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Offline Gunnar

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Gunner's whistle
« on: September 24, 2020, 11:14:50 »
Saw them offered for sale on a kit shop site.  Can someone tell me what a Gunner's whistle is (traditionally) used for?  Is it considered part of the uniform?  Some background on this would be appreciated.

Ubique
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Offline Dimsum

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 11:20:34 »
Saw them offered for sale on a kit shop site.  Can someone tell me what a Gunner's whistle is (traditionally) used for?  Is it considered part of the uniform?  Some background on this would be appreciated.

Ubique

Not a gunner, but I'd suspect that it was used for passing commands bc it can be heard over loud noises.  Like guns.
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Offline Gunnar

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 11:31:14 »
That is my reasonable supposition as well.  However, I'm looking for a bit more detail...
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Offline Ralph

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2020, 15:47:24 »
Something has to go on the end of the lanyard if you've lost your compass...

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2020, 15:59:15 »
Not a gunner, but I'd suspect that it was used for passing commands bc it can be heard over loud noises.  Like guns.

As a Rifleman, Sgts and above - at least in my Regiment - all had a lanyard with a whistle at one time.

Dimsum is correct in his assessment but I cannot speak for the Artillery.
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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2020, 16:46:21 »
Dimsum is correct in his assessment but I cannot speak for the Artillery.

It's alright - they won't hear you anyway   ;)
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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2020, 19:31:07 »
In Shilo, they use a dog whistle, because they all seem to have one....
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2020, 19:40:01 »
In Shilo, they use a dog whistle, because they all seem to have one....

 :facepalm: You just had to poke the dog.....  :rofl:
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2020, 19:55:56 »
The Gunner's whistle was one of two types of whistle used in the various British commonwealth navies (still is outside of Canada, I think.). It was worn at the end of a white lanyard with he square rig by petty officers of the gunners trade as a symbol of authority over the guns. In action, it was used to signal check fire order as it could be heard over the noise of the guns.

Since the gunners were the trade that oversaw parade drills in the Navy, it was also the whistle used on parade grounds to call markers and then order the form up (for those who have never seen how naval parades were done on the parade deck in the old days, it was quite different from the long winded army method now in use  :nod:.

In the navy, all the ratings would stand around the three sides of the parade deck other than the front. The gunner's whistle would be blown to call to stop any chattering and the markers called. They would run (yeah! Run!) from their position to their prearranged spot (marker on the ground so in the navy, you never had to  call for dressing to line up the parade) then the gunner's whistle would blow the fall in and everybody else would run (yes, again. Run!) to their division and form up . divisional petty officers would casually, and without orders walk to their division, sort it out and put it at ease. At that point the parade officer (standing at the front but not yet on parade would order the officers to their division, where they would go and take over from their petty officers, then individually go and report to the parade officer and then come back to their own division.

The whole process from first whistle to the parade officer being ready to receive the reviewing officer took less than five minutes.

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2020, 19:56:01 »
:facepalm: You just had to poke the dog.....  :rofl:

I am an I9er....not a K9er....
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

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Offline Colin P

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2020, 14:58:39 »
It was slim pickings for dates at the Jr mess there in the 80's

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2020, 15:00:15 »
For naval use the Gunners Mate whistle, it makes a different sound to the Bosun's pipe


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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2020, 06:40:47 »
Thank you Gentlemen, I was unable to find useful information on the 'net.  Is there any sort of historical/traditional use for it nowadays, say on a dress uniform or some such?  Or has it gone the way of the late, lamented dodo?
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2020, 07:31:15 »
The Gunner's whistle was one of two types of whistle used in the various British commonwealth navies (still is outside of Canada, I think.). It was worn at the end of a white lanyard with he square rig by petty officers of the gunners trade as a symbol of authority over the guns. In action, it was used to signal check fire order as it could be heard over the noise of the guns.

Since the gunners were the trade that oversaw parade drills in the Navy, it was also the whistle used on parade grounds to call markers and then order the form up (for those who have never seen how naval parades were done on the parade deck in the old days, it was quite different from the long winded army method now in use  :nod:.

In the navy, all the ratings would stand around the three sides of the parade deck other than the front. The gunner's whistle would be blown to call to stop any chattering and the markers called. They would run (yeah! Run!) from their position to their prearranged spot (marker on the ground so in the navy, you never had to  call for dressing to line up the parade) then the gunner's whistle would blow the fall in and everybody else would run (yes, again. Run!) to their division and form up . divisional petty officers would casually, and without orders walk to their division, sort it out and put it at ease. At that point the parade officer (standing at the front but not yet on parade would order the officers to their division, where they would go and take over from their petty officers, then individually go and report to the parade officer and then come back to their own division.

The whole process from first whistle to the parade officer being ready to receive the reviewing officer took less than five minutes.

This would require a modified "Greatcoats On! Greatcoats off!" drill.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2020, 17:10:20 »
I thought that 'Gunner's Whistle' was a slang term for Tinnitus? :)
“To stand on the firing parapet and expose yourself to danger; to stand and fight a thousand miles from home when you're all alone and outnumbered and probably beaten; to spit on your hands and lower the pike; to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King; to be rear guard at Kunu-Ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary.”
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2020, 18:57:46 »
The Gunner's whistle was one of two types of whistle used in the various British commonwealth navies (still is outside of Canada, I think.). It was worn at the end of a white lanyard with he square rig by petty officers of the gunners trade as a symbol of authority over the guns. In action, it was used to signal check fire order as it could be heard over the noise of the guns.

Since the gunners were the trade that oversaw parade drills in the Navy, it was also the whistle used on parade grounds to call markers and then order the form up (for those who have never seen how naval parades were done on the parade deck in the old days, it was quite different from the long winded army method now in use  :nod:.

. . .

There was no mention of "whistles" in the Royal Canadian Navy Manual of Drill and Ceremonial - BRCN 3058, save for brief mention of bos'un's pipes.  The use of a bugle call for "markers" seems to have have been the 1960s method to fall in for parades.  However the current day Royal Navy Ceremonial And Drill BRd 1834 has this to say about whistles and drill.

Quote
. . . The correct dress for a drill instructor is No 3A/3C for Senior
Rates and 3B/3C for Junior Rates, (if instructing in tropical climates then dress maybe relaxed
down to 3B for Senior Rates), cap, pace stick (Stained Dark Rose Wood for instructors and
Black for the SCTO), and parade whistle (see note 1 and note 2). The whistle is to be worn with
the chain of the whistle secured around the right hand front belt loop of the uniform trousers with
the whistle itself in the right hand pocket.

Notes:
1. Senior Rates - When wearing a uniform jacket the whistle is to be worn
with the chain underneath the collar and pulled taught across the chest (not
hanging in a loop) with the whistle itself retained in the breast pocket of the
uniform jacket.
2. Junior Rates - When wearing class II uniform jumper the whistle is to be
worn with the chain pinned on the left side and underneath the blue collar
(hanging in a loop) with the whistle itself retained in the inner left pocket of the
uniform jumper. Lanyards are still to be worn.

Their procedures for falling in parades/divisions include a whistle blast to call for "markers".

The item listed on the William Scully site as a "Gunner Whistle" appears to be the same as the bog standard "Metropolitan" (as in Police) whistle that we were issued for phase training, though ours had the leather fob that could be buttoned to the pocket.

https://www.williamscully.ca/shop/index.php/shop/whistles.html#page=0&top=1&
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Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2020, 01:10:23 »
There was no mention of "whistles" in the Royal Canadian Navy Manual of Drill and Ceremonial - BRCN 3058, save for brief mention of bos'un's pipes.
Looking through BRCN 3058: it appears (13-2 4a) that the RCN (and presumably the RN) of the period acted as if it held the Freedom of the City anywhere in the Commonwealth.

On the gunner's call/whistle side of things, Naden drill shed's script for IIRC Ceremonial Divisions had reference to using what was referred to as a "thunder whistle" until fairly recently, I think for calling for markers.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 01:13:49 by quadrapiper »

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2020, 07:56:09 »
Looking through BRCN 3058: it appears (13-2 4a) that the RCN (and presumably the RN) of the period acted as if it held the Freedom of the City anywhere in the Commonwealth.

On the gunner's call/whistle side of things, Naden drill shed's script for IIRC Ceremonial Divisions had reference to using what was referred to as a "thunder whistle" until fairly recently, I think for calling for markers.

Section commanders in the infantry were issued "Whistle, Thunder" at one time.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2020, 09:29:25 »
Section commanders in the infantry were issued "Whistle, Thunder" at one time.

FWIW, I still carry the one I was issued, and also use it during various back country adventures. It's nowhere near as effective as some of the newer safety whistles, like the Fox 40, but it's solid steel so will not break, and works when soaking wet - like the Infantry ;)
“To stand on the firing parapet and expose yourself to danger; to stand and fight a thousand miles from home when you're all alone and outnumbered and probably beaten; to spit on your hands and lower the pike; to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King; to be rear guard at Kunu-Ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary.”
— Jerry Pournelle —

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2020, 15:08:57 »
FWIW, I still carry the one I was issued, and also use it during various back country adventures. It's nowhere near as effective as some of the newer safety whistles, like the Fox 40, but it's solid steel so will not break, and works when soaking wet - like the Infantry ;)

Come to think of it I may have one somewhere.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Gunner's whistle
« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 21:00:14 »
It just occurred to me (that was slow - I'm getting old) that in the Navy, we also (and still do AFAIK) used the gunner's whistle operationally: It is used during Replenishment At Sea and for Jackstay.

It is used by the supplying ship to indicate they are bout to pass the first line across using the gunline, and for the receiving ship to reply that they are under cover and ready to receive.

How thick of me to have taken this long to remember!