Mishearing or misremembering

I was writing to a friend and was saying something about being prepared for action (writing action, actually!) and having said ‘man the pumps‘ and ‘all hands on deck‘, I was going to add ‘ready aye ready‘ – meaning ready always ready, when I suddenly thought that it wasn’t quite right. The pumps and decks reference are navy slang – my friend was a sailor so I was making a bit of a jokey reference; but is ‘ready aye ready‘ correct? or is ‘ready boys/lads ready‘?

I looked it up: ‘aye ready‘ is Rangers Football Club, commonly known as just Glasgow Rangers, motto and  apparently it’s sometimes shortened to just ‘ready’.  The phrase also has a rather controversial connotation in Canada, in its quest for independence from Britain, and  “became tainted with the feeling of a blind following of another country’s politics”:


It was a long road to being its own country and state:

Independence from the United Kingdom

  • Confederation July 1, 1867
  • Statute of Westminster December 11, 1931
  • Patriation April 17, 1982

I continued to look for the phrase, and I think I have found why it seemed familiar to me. When my son was much younger he became a Sea Cadet, and their motto is… Ready Aye Ready! So that is how I knew it! And yes, there is a naval connection!

… oh, and I was probably also thinking of the song, Hearts of Oak which has the refrain ‘ready, boys ready, we’ll fight and we’ll conquer again and again!’

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