History of Leith, Edinburgh

December 22, 2010

The Greeks had a Word

H.M.S. ” Lotus ” made her first U-boat kill in the Mediterranean in April 1943 and shared with ” S tar wort” a second victim the very next day, which was at that time a record for the Navy.

She saw service at the siege of Tobruk and had been as far north
a5 Murmansk on the Russian supply run before she went south again
ror the landing in North Africa. *

The crew of ” Lotus ” seem to have specialised in pets. In the
Arctic they collected three eider ducklings which lived happily on the
ship for quite a long time. But perhaps their greatest pet was Abdul,
the dog. He came from South Africa and travelled many thousands of
miles with the ship. One day he went ashore on the lonely Kola Julet
and there met an untimely death beneath the wheels of the only motor
lorry in that locality. There was great grief amongst the crew who for
some time after reckoned time by the number of days after Abdul died.
One of the officers was a classics master in peace-time. When
listening to the underwater explosions and bubblings by a U-boat
breaking up, there came to his mind a word coined by the Greek poet,
Aristophanes, not far from that spot over 2000 years earlier. It was
” Pompholugopaphlasnasi.” Is it surprising that with the Navy’s
aptitude for nicknames, he was known on board as ” Mr Chips ” ?
” Lotus” was commanded by Lieut.-Commander H. J. Hall, D.S.C., R.N.R.

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