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 Keeper 
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Post Keeper
I'm reading "Victory" by Stockwin and ran across the term "keeper".

When a midshipman joins the ship, the captain appoints him "keeper" and, in the next sentence, assigns him two young volunteers (ages 11 and 12).

Twenty pages earlier (I had to look back), the mid has been asked to join the ship because the captain knows him from a previous voyage.

I was puzzled and discussed this with Mary since she has already read the book. It was her opinion that the "keeper" was similar to a "sea-daddy" to the young volunteers.

Anybody heard this term before as it relates to a midshipman? Especially in a non-fiction work?

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Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:34 pm
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Post Re: Keeper
I've never heard of it in relation to midshipmen. I looked in Moore's British Mariner's Vocabulary from 1801. The only keeper listed is "boat keeper," which is self-explanatory.

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susan


Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:59 pm
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Post Re: Keeper
susan wrote:
I've never heard of it in relation to midshipmen. I looked in Moore's British Mariner's Vocabulary from 1801. The only keeper listed is "boat keeper," which is self-explanatory.

Thanks for looking Susan. When I first read the passage, I failed to connect the two volunteers to the keeper midshipman entirely. My first thought was "time keeper". Once Mary made the connection, I re-read the whole section several times. Nearby, Stockwin has the captain say that the two "volunteers first class" had been rated as "captain's servants" making them "apprentice midshipmen".

All that explanation makes me think that Mary's opinion is in line with Stockwin's intention. Apprentice midshipmen would certainly need an experienced midshipman as a "sea-daddy".

Whether "keeper" is a valid AoS term is the question. Since Stockwin said that the two volunteers had been placed in the charge of the midshipman, using the term "keeper" was certainly not needed, so why was it used at all? Where did Stockwin get "keeper"? Is it just a novelist's license?

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Don Campbell
"Whoever is strongest at sea, make him your friend."
Corcyraeans to the Athenians, 433 BC


Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:39 am
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