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The Demise of Jack Tar

The Demise of Jack Tar……the nickname given to the sailor

Jack TarThe traditional male sailor was not defined by his looks.

He was defined by his attitude; his name was Jack Tar.

He was a happy go lucky sort of a bloke; he took the good times with the bad.

He didn’t cry ‘victimisation’, ‘bastardisation’, ‘discrimination’ or for his mum when things didn’t go his way.

He took responsibility for his own, sometimes, self-destructive actions.

He loved a laugh at anything or anybody.

Rank, gender, race, creed or behavior, it didn’t matter to Jack, he would take the piss out of anyone, including himself.

If someone took it out of him he didn’t get offended; it was a natural part of life.

If he offended someone else, so be it.

Free from many of the rules of polite society, Jacks manners were somewhat rough.

His ability to swear was legendary.

He would stand up for his mates.

Jack was extravagant with his support to those he thought needed it.

He may have been right or wrong, but that didn’t matter.

Jacks mate was one of the luckiest people alive.

Jack loved women. He loved to chase them to the ends of the earth and sometimes he even caught one. Less often than he would have you believe

His tales of the chase and its conclusion win or lose, is the stuff of legends.

Jacks favourite drink was beer, and he could drink it like a fish.

His actions when inebriated would, on occasion, land him in trouble.

But, he took it on the chin, did his punishment and then went and did it all again.

Jack loved his job.

He took an immense pride in what he did.

His radar was always the best in the fleet.

His engines always worked better than anyone else’s.

His eyes could spot a contact before anyone else’s and shoot at it first.

It was a matter of personal pride.

Jack was the consummate professional when he was at work and sober.

He was a bit like a mischievous child.

He had a gleam in his eye and a larger than life outlook.

He was as rough as guts.

You had to be pig headed and thick skinned to survive.

He worked hard and played hard.

His masters tut-tutted at some of his more exuberant expressions of joie de vivre, and the occasional bout of number 9s or stoppage of leave let him know where his limits were.

The late 20th Century and on, has seen the demise of Jack.

The workplace no longer echoes with ribald comment and bawdy tales.

Someone is sure to take offence.

Where as those stories of daring do and ingenuity in the face of adversity, usually whilst pissed, lack the audacity of the past, and a wicked sense of humour is now a liability, rather than a necessity.

Jack has been socially engineered out of existence.

What was once normal is now offensive.

Denting someone else over inflated opinion of their own self worth is now a crime.

And so a culture dies…

RIP “Jack Tar”

3 Responses to The Demise of Jack Tar

  1. Arthur Tilley - Webmaster

    February 22, 2012 at 23:22


    With you permission, I would like to publish the “Demise of Jack Tar” on our website.

    Many of our Association members are WWII sailors, many are from the 60’s and 70’s. ALL will relate to this.

    Please let me knbow if posting this is “OK” with you.

    Best Regards,

    Art Tilley USN 1960-1968, USCG(R) 1984-2002

  2. robbyg

    February 23, 2012 at 01:45

    Help yourself. You are most welcome.

  3. Andy Cundell

    September 4, 2016 at 16:27

    This was written by my Dad, Michael ‘Ginge’ Cundell. I would appreciate it if you could credit the article to him as he recently crossed the bar and I would like his memory to live on……

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