The term all gate and gaiters can be used to describe someone, or something, that is all show and lacking genuine substance, i.e., “That new ship announcement was all gate and gaiters.” Used in this way, gate means big talk, bragging, or even mouthing off, i.e., “Bloggins was gating off at the Boatswains.” In the same vein, gate can be used to refer to the mouth, as in, “Shut your gate.”
When a ship travels the seven seas it racks up the sea miles, a distance measured in nautical miles. A nautical mile is exactly 6,076 feet. For simplicity’s sake, sailors just say it is 6000 feet, or 2000 yards, and as a Chief Radar Instructor once told me that’s close enough for government work.
In an HMC ship everyone has a trade, which is a job or specialty. A traditional way a specialist might be identified is through the title artificer. Generally, artificer indicates a skilled sailor, historically the most common being an Engine Room Artificer which referred to a specialist within a ship’s engineering branch. In modern times, only the senior engineer in a warship, the Chief Engine Room Artificer, retains this specialty indicator.
Bloggins is a generically used sailor name, sometimes featured in training materials, and may appear in everyday shipboard life, i.e., “Who ate the last piece of duff?” The answer may well be, “Bloggins.” Of course, there is no actual sailor named Bloggins, but every sailor is represented by Bloggins, and Bloggins is everyone’s winger.
I was introduced to Jackspeak when I began my 26-year naval career in HMCS CHIPPAWA on July 1st, 1980. I quickly learned my training base was a Stone Frigate, floors were decks, the ceiling was a deckhead, walls were bulkheads, and the upper ridge of my boot soles were catwalks.