Boatswain’s Call

Courtesy of Charlie Angevine

This sterling silver boatswain’s call was used aboard Abbot during World War II and was provided by Charlie Angevine. Often called a “whistle” or “pipe,” the boatswain’s call dates back to at least 1248. It is still used in the U.S. Navy and elsewhere, including the Royal Navy.

The Belfast cord lanyard that would have been attached is missing. Lanyards had a traditional pattern (including an intricate knot) and were considered part of a boatswain mate’s uniform. A navy blue lanyard was worn with a white uniform, and a white lanyard with a blue uniform.

Boatswain’s calls can be purchased inexpensively, and they are usually made of brass, sterling silver or silver plate. See the official U.S. Navy Bluejacket Manual instructions for instructions about using a boatswain’s call.

Hear a boatswain’s call piping “All Hands” on the battleship North Carolina (BB 55). If the audio controller is not visible above, click to hear the sound clip.

Boatswain’s Call
Boatswain's Call Boatswain's Call closeup