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The hazards of sweary parrots. “Everything was going OK until the word ‘arse’ was blurted out from the cupboard.” Isn’t that always the way?

Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 09:02:07 -0700
From: (spam-protected) (glen mccready)
To: (spam-protected)
Subject: Polly want a court-marshal?

Forwarded-by: William Knowles (spam-protected),,2-2001211806,00.html


ADMIRAL Sir Alan West, Commander-in-Chief Fleet, was addressing fellow officers in the wardroom of the frigate HMS Lancaster during a tour of the Gulf when a high-pitched voice from a side room cupboard shouted “Arse”.

Mildly perturbed but with steely resolve, the admiral continued with his briefing. “Bollocks”, said the voice.

Further choice epithets not unfamiliar below decks followed without regard for the fact that serious top brass could hear them. “Slag”, said the voice.

It could have been worse. Sunny, the 18-month-old African grey parrot who is employed as the Lancasters mascot and who usually lives in a cage in the wardroom, has an extensive repertoire.

She can quote the words of Sir Michael Caine, “Zulus, thousands of ’em”, whistle the theme tune from Steve McQueens The Great Escape, and remark in the manner of a macho Australian, “Show us your growler”.

The Lancasters officers had thought Sunny should stay out of sight during the admirals visit, but the voice refused to be silenced. “F off”, it said.

One of the Lancasters ratings said: Everything was going OK until the word ‘arse’ was blurted out from the cupboard. The Commander-in-Chief looked a little stunned at first, but fortunately he just carried on as normal. God knows what he was thinking.

The crew had taught Sunny her bad habits, another rating said: Now she shouts ‘arse’ and ‘bollocks’ every other minute.

In future, if senior officers come aboard, Sunny will be banished from the wardroom, as she can no longer be trusted to observe naval discipline.

When she returns to Portsmouth next month at the end of the type 23 frigates six-month tour, she needs to mind her As and Bs or she might find herself an ex-parrot.

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