The Worm of Destruction; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS

Daily Mail (London), May 10, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Worm of Destruction; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS


Byline: Compiled by Charles Legge

QUESTION The teredo has been described as 'the clam that sank a thousand ships'. Just how big a problem was this creature for naval vessels? TO give it its full name, Teredo navalis, the 'naval shipworm', has a worm-like appearance, but it is, in fact, a saltwater clam. Probably originating in the North Atlantic, it is found in most temperate and tropical seas and oceans.

T. navalis can grow up to 60cm long and to a diameter of 1cm to 2cm. It has exceptional burrowing qualities and can live in a wide range of temperatures.

The question aptly describes T. navalis as 'the clam that sank a thousand ships'. It wasn't just ships that got attacked, but piers, jetties, dykes - anything wooden. There are reports of the creature damaging ships going back to Columbus.

During the Age of Sail, this clam was one of the biggest problems for wooden sailing ships. Whole ships' hulls were eaten away relatively quickly. Many ships were leaking by the time they arrived in the West Indies; sometimes whole ships were lost to the 'worm'.

The warmer the climate, the more voracious an appetite it seemed to have. This worm was up there as a problem for the British Royal Navy with yellow fever and the French!

Deterioration of the hull of a wooden ship was a big problem, due to infestation, weeds and wet rot. These affected a ship's handling and fighting capability.

Many types of hull protection were tried: wood sheaths, pitch, tar, hair and yarn. In 1761, HMS Alarm was the first ship to have experiments carried out on her using copper plates.

The Alarm was chosen as she was in such poor condition due to T. navalis. The innovation of copper sheathing kept the worm and weed at bay, enabling naval vessels to function around the world.

However, copper cladding was not certain protection from the 'worm', as a poem by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) attests: 'The vessel, though her masts be firm,/ Beneath her copper bears a worm/ Around the cape, across the line,/ Far from New England's blustering shore,/New England's worm her hulk shall bore,/And sink her in the Indian seas' (Though All The Fates).

Peter N Lockyer, Gosport, Hampshire, England.

QUESTION Did the gardai ever have working police dogs for crowd control and other duties? I've seen customs dogs at work but never Garda ones. Why? AN Garda Siochana has had a dog support unit since 1960; the dogs are used for a wide variety of detection activities and are an important element of crowd control at public events. The force has about 20 dogs of different breeds and the main Dog Support Unit is based at Kilmainham Garda Station in Dublin, with a smaller unit in the southern region. When it started, the unit was based at the Curragh, then when Mary McAleese was President, she invited it to relocate to Aras an Uachtarain.

Public order control using dogs is commonplace at events attracting large crowds, or where there's a risk of serious disorder.

One example from recent years of Garda dogs being used to control potentially serious disorder came in May 2010, when Shamrock Rovers faced Dundalk FC at Oriel Park. Serious rioting broke out among some of the Shamrock Rovers fans and it threatened to turn into an all-out confrontation between supporters of the two clubs.

Garda dogs, in this case, German shepherds, were brought onto the pitch and, along with around 15 uniformed gardai, helped to quell the trouble and keep the peace.

Outside the stadium, a garda was stationed on horseback, so this was a classic case of Garda animals playing a major role in restoring peace. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Worm of Destruction; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.