Wobble Proof Curtseys – Ladies for the Use of


A.R. Algar #1146 – 1941/42

It was brought to the attention of C-in-C South Atlantic, no doubt by his wife, that the Squadron’s ladies were much excited about how to do a curtsey in a formal ankle length gown, long gloves and all etc, without adopting an informal undignified posture (i.e. going base over apex.) I’ve forgotten the dress – probably very long and narrow – was it the ‘A’ line ?- anyhow do doubt the Cape Times and Argus archives would illustrate the problem.

C-in-C, being an ex-G as well as an ex-Western approaches, and a proper ” I’m in charge here” man, wasn’t having any of that. He took decisive action by sending for the Squadron Gunnery Officer and Nigeria’s Chief Gunner’s Mate. They were to devise a drill for a wobble proof curtsey and give him a performance of it in one week’s time, with a view to teaching the drill to every Squadron lady at sessions at Admiralty House, under the watchful eye of the C-in-C’s wife.

The CGM consulted his chum, the Colour Sergeant Royal Marines (another Gunner – the Marines manned B or X turret in those days while the Band manned the Fire Control in the Transmitting Station). Preliminary trials were conducted in the Chief’s Club using their Distaff family members. In due season the CGM, using the Colour Sergeant as his model, presented the ‘Drill’ to the Admiral, which was approved. I recall being told that the drill sessions in Admiralty House were worth a guinea a minute – with nary a smile anywhere. They do say the CGM got the BEM.

So here’s the drill :-

Place the feet one behind the other as if walking along a tennis court line – left foot first, with the right about six inches behind with its toes pointing to about 11 o’clock i.e. to the left of the ‘tennis line’.

Transfer weight to the left foot and keep it flat on the ground throughout the manoeuvre.

Bend the knees allowing the right heel to rise, and using the ball of the right foot for balance.

Let the right knee go behind the left knee and under the left thigh, thereby ‘locking’ the position. Incline the head forward for balance, and do a ‘Margo Fontaine’ with the hands.

“Because of lack of metacentric height, winkle pickers with high heels is orf, Madam. Also, because you will be told to get there for the first event, and left standing, when the Queen’s aircraft is still somewhere over Zambia.”