Crossing the Equator

To get to Leyte, the ships of Operation King Musketeer II (!!!), the name given to the invasion of the Philippines, had to cross the Equator, “an event that is of some distinction in Navy tradition.”

There was some elaborate cosplay revolving around a mock trial of “pollywogs” (crew who had never crossed the equator before):

The pollywogs were ordered to the fantail, stripped down to their shorts, and faced “prosecution” for their offenses. Fire hoses were turned on them . . . until they were all duly soaked.” Characters in this drama included a “royal devil, wielding a pitchfork,” a King, a “royal judge,” a “royal dentist,” a “royal barber”, and a “royal baby.” Then the pollywogs had to run a “royal gauntlet”: “a fifteen-foot canvas ventilation tunnel filled with a two-day-old compost of eggshells, coffee grounds, and potato peels . . .” while shellbacks (crew who had crossed the equator before) pounded them “through the canvas with large wooden paddles.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


  1. Andrew Blair said,

    November 10, 2021 at 10:33 am

    As a child I crossed the Equator on our way to Australia, I remember a King Neptune – that is about all.

    • November 10, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      I had to write a scene on a Spanish ship crossing the equator. I should put in a King Neptune.

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