The Diaper Heritage Association
Home
Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy - the Diapers of Itchen Ferry
Contact
Early Days Itchen Ferry Village The Captain's Table At Sea Genealogy
The museum contains a permanent display of the town’s maritime history and many of the artefacts have connections with the Diapers. Use this trail to take you around the museum, it will finish at the ‘Fisherman, Ferryman, Sailor, Spy – The Diapers of Itchen Ferry’ exhibit.

Click here to download the Diaper Education Trail
Get Adobe Reader Here
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

A Lay of the Fighting Forties

by the Marquis of Ailsa (with apologies to Mr Rudyard Kipling)

 

Oh! gallant was our forty from her brazen rudder head

To her fighting flag, a chevron and her keel of solid lead:

She looked every inch a lady when we sailed her for the line,

And no forty on the water could the BLOODHOUND outlive.

 

Her sail room bulged with canvas & her mast was stout & tall,

Her rigging taut as iron bars, her crew Southampton all:

With her sails like cards above her on a course clean full & bye,

As we trimmed her up to windward we just made that forty fly.

 

'Twas heartsome in the forty, though they beat us now and then,

For we sailed her like true Britons, & we won and lost like men:

As we rammed her at the salthills her pitching gave no rest,

For stout old Ben who steered her always sailed her for the best.

 

Our foemen, sister forties, sailed against us in each race,

But very few, & those the best, could hope to live our pace:

For we ran them & we reached as we left them in the lee,

For we could not stop to tow them, and we had to let them be.

 

You'll remember, oh, my sonnies! What a well-drilled crowd were we,

The servants of the forties, but the bullies of the sea:

With the hands that made her toilette on the morning of a race,

Schooner, yawl or ketch or cutter, there were nought she couldn't face.

 

Was it storm? The forty started, double reefed she beat the lot,

Cowes that doted on big schooners saw our SLEUTHHOUND lift the pot:

Veering calms, or Channel weather, headwinds, paultry mist or dirt?

With Tom Dutch who gripped her tiller, that forty was a best.

 

But the BLOODHOUND's done with racing now let others fill her place,

Her name still on the Yacht List, may it stand a little space;

She's at length set free for cruising, to see others sail the main,

Free of all the sea can give her, save to sail her mates again.

 

By the brave old hull beneath us, with her rappre creased and torn,

By her gear all chafed & useless, by her trisail patched & worn:

You could swear she'd done good services in her battles with the storm,

Since years ago at Fairlie, Fife upreared her shapely form.

 

And they tell of times & season & of woes the years brought forth,

Of our 'Dog' ashore whilst racing 'midst the dangers of the North:

When the sky was black above her & the seas rolled up the sand,

With a greatly risking skipper, she ran crashing on the ground.

 

She would need no half mast signal, minute gun or rocket flare,

When her cry for help went shoreward, she could get no succour there:

For a dismal, spot she struch on, off the entrance to Loch Nell

Where there's nought but sheep & shepherds her piteous plight to tell.

 

Now they tell me at 'The Ferry' when summers gone once more,

And when old sea dogs foregather to fight their fights ashore:

When lights are lit & mugs are filled, that still the yarn goes round,

How staunchly Harris sailed his tool, the BLOODHOUND and the HOUND

 

Maybe that FATE will give us luck once more to cross the line,

Win some poor race on handicap, as near in days lang syne:

But today we mourn the forties, their palmy days long past,

And the tough old shells who sailed them gone to find their rest at last.

 

Notes:

Ben was Captain Ben Harris of Itchen Ferry

The King of Northumberland Cup was won by SLEUTHHOUND (40 tons) at Cowes in August 1883

Tom Dutch was Capt Thomas Diaper of Itchen Ferry.

BLOODHOUND was often called THE DOG in old days

FOXHOUND (35 tons), often called THE HOUND in old days.

BLOODHOUND did make a successful return to racing.

 

In the early 1880s the three crack 40-tonners were SLEUTHHOUND, ANNASONA (J Hedderwick, later W Collins), and MAY (Ninian B Stewart). Culzean Castle, home of the Marquis of Ailsa, contains a room in which half models of the Marquis's three 40-Tonners (SLEUTHHOUND, BLOODHOUND & FOXHOUND), a picture of each and this poem are exhibited. Information provided by Ninian Stewart.