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Thread: Translation Needed

  1. #1
    Looking Guest

    Default Translation Needed

    In a letter to my grandfather there was a saying written "SEMPA IN EXCRETA". I am not sure if it is Latin like the Marine 'Sempa Fi"? Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Eddie Fell Guest

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    I think you will find it means something like 'Always in the s--t' (Brown smelly stuff)

    Eddie

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    Default Translation

    G'day Chaps

    'Sempa in excreta solus solum profundum variat' - "I'm always in the S**T, only the depth varies".

    Cheers...Chris

  4. #4
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    Default Semper Fidelis

    The United States Marine Corps use "Semper Fidelis" which translated from Latin means "Always Faithful".

    Cheers...Chris

    Life Member
    Detachment 155
    Marine Corps League
    Flint, Michigan

  5. #5
    Looking Guest

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    Great, thank you........Knowing the stories of my grandfather, it fits. ;)

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    Good day Looking. I suspect your grandfather might have been at Bircham Newtob circa 1941/2 when he wrote that letter.

    1403 Met Flight was formed at Bircham Newton in March 1941 (in truth it was simply a renumbering of 403 Met Flight that had formed there the previous November). Equipped with Blenheim IVs the unit flew met reconnaissance flights over the North Sea, even in ZZ weather weather that grounded all other units - it was not unknown for the crews to take off in fog.

    The CO of 1403 Met Flight was Flt Lt Douglas Bisgood, previously a Hurricane pilot who had been fortunate to survive a head-on collision, although with severe injuries. To reflect the conditions in which 1403 was expected to operate Bisgood designed an unofficial Flight Crest, an umbrella over a skull and cross bones with the motto "SEMPER IN EXCRETA" below, and this was painted on the sides of the Blenheims. (Source: Eric Kraus (the pioneer of meteorological air observing) in "How the meteorological reconnaissance flights began", published in the Meteorological Magazine in 1985. A very brief summary of the article appears in "Even the birds were walking" by Peter Rackliff.)

    I hesitate to say this was the first time the term was used, but I think it would be a pretty good claim. 1403 Met Flight was absorbed by 1401 Met Flight in Jan 1942, so that might mark the end of the period the crest was used.

    If you contact me off-board I can scan a photo of the crest for you.

    Brian

  7. #7
    Looking Guest

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    Brian, this is very interestingj, thank you. The letter I am referring to was actually written to my grandfather. He was chief ground school intructor at Falcon Field, Mesa, AZ, USA. The gentleman that wrote the letter was a student. His name was J.A. Cotton, the last address was 110 Thackerry Ave., Tottenham, London, N17, England.On the outside of the envelope was written, 'private and confidential. Not for publication', by my grandfather. SEMPA in EXCRETA was written at the top of the letter. He spoke of more blackouts than ever now. (quote) Then some personal things pertaining to an argument they had at the flight school graduation. Would it be likely that Cotton flew before the training school and they had him do both the night flight and then more training? Now I am curious...

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    I don't think I can help you Looking. It's difficult to know what Cotton meant by writing '... more blackouts than ever..'. Blackout restrictions were imposed two days before war was declared, and were maintained for the duration (see http://www.homesweethomefront.co.uk/web_pages/hshf_blackout_pg.htm); there were no half measures (blackout one day and none the next), so unless he was referring to enemy raids it seems a nonsensical remark.

    If Cotton was aircrew, it might be he'd flown with another squadron at Bircham Newton and seen the crest. Alternatively it might have been a commonly used phrase, but that's not the impression I get from the two articles I quoted from.

    Is a date given on the letter?

    Brian

  9. #9
    Looking Guest

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    The letter was written Jan. 5, 1944. The postmark was Tottenham, jan., 6, 1944. Seemingly from his hometown. I found today at my folks house an aricle written by my grandfather for the Thunderbird Field #2 magazine, about the success of training and the quotes used were from letters I had read, which explain the red pencil on many. However, this letter having the red pencil underlining, my grandfather wrote, "not for publication', which explains that he wasn't to use anything from this letter. Again there were private matters between the two of them address in it. Does the date mean anything? In reading the webpage you sent, the very last entry was talking of the Dim outs in 1944 when the lights could come up and when the sirens went off, the lights had to go out. Maybe this was what he was referring to?
    Last edited by Looking; 5th July 2008 at 00:44.

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