Our (Their) Navy


There have been
an awful lot of
changes made
since I served
in the United
States Navy ,
and even more
so since World
War II.

But you know,
some things
never seem to

… and that applies
even if you’re talking
about another
country’s Navy

The French
Navy, for instance.

One of the oldest
and finest Naval
forces in the world,
the French Marine
counts a
number of ‘firsts’
among their achieve-
ments –

The first catamaran
style landing craft,
the first seaplane,
and the first seaplane
carrier, for instance.

Not to mention
the snarkiest slogan –

( all Navies have
certain expressions
that are specific to
them ) –

If a recruit calls a
deck officer
Mon Capitaine“,
he will inevitably
receive the retort :
” In the Navy there
is My God and my
ass, but no
my captain‘! ”

Before WW II,
the French artist
Charles Millot,
a veteran of the
Great War —

( and known in
the postcard world
by his alias Henri
Gervese )

— created a series
of comic postcards
called ” Our Sailors “,
lampooning the
day to day life
of enlisted men
in the French

It’s interesting
just how many
parallels a
modern American
Sailor can find
in these….

Ok, so maybe
we didn’t have
the bright red
on our hats…

But the
cards in the
series still do
a good deal
of humor about
the military
and boondoggles
as they have
and still are
being practiced ;

liberty boats,
uniform inspection,
pretentious know-
nothing O-gangers,
chow lines,
rack rotations,
marching parties,
mid (night) watches,
general quarters,
weapons training,
military protocol,
and mail calls.

These cards,
as they appear
today on the post,
are mostly in French..

of course
it’s easy to see
what’s going on
in them for any
former sons of
Neptune )

but the series
was also issued
in English, and
they were much
appreciated in Britain,
by denizens of the
Royal Navy

There were other
series by different
artists on the same
general subject as
well, and we’ll
feature those as
we find ’em.

But, somehow
these cards by
Henri Gervese
sing just the
right chord for
me, and I’m happy
to share them
with you.


!! HOY !!



Saturday Car Post: Wartime Fords

Reader Question:

Have you ever heard
there were

cars that were registered
and titled as 1943,
and 1945 Fords?

Yes, indeed.

And, you’re probably
wondering how such
a thing could be –
considering all the
major U.S. automakers
stopped making civilian
cars in early 1942 for the
duration of World War II,
and didn’t resume until
the 1946 models.

Still, both facts
are true –

Because a large number
of the 1942 Fords made
were held back for U.S.
government use and
for other “war-essential”

And some states issued
the titles on those cars
based, not on date of
manufacture, but on the
date it was first registered.

Also, certain Ford plants
continued to produce
military ‘staff cars’ based
on the 1942 model
(mostly 4 doors-
the ‘Fordor’, but also
pickup trucks ) all the way
up to the end of the war.

Other manufacturers
were making staff cars
during this period
as well —
for example,
General Eisenhower
had a Packard Clipper,
Buick made such a car
called the Century
Series 60, and Plymouth
made the P-11.

The cars were equipped
with basic equipment,
and then modified for
their specific use, so it’s
not uncommon to find
a large variance in their
options and interior layouts.

One of my favorite features
on the Fords made at that
time was the manual start
mechanism – usually, the
car would be started with
the electric ignition- but
in case of a flat battery,
a crank could be inserted
into the front engine
compartment and fire the

This feature was discontinued
after the war.

Thanks for your question !