The Corner

The view from the Downing Street

Gordon Brown writes on the Anglo-American relationship in today’s Wall Street Journal. It’s the usual mush, except for the opening:

When Winston Churchill met President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the deck of the H.M.S. Prince of Wales in 1941, he spoke of the common bonds between Britain and America… 

“The” HMS Prince of Wales? Did the Journal editors stick that definite article in? Or is Britain now so unmoored that even the Prime Minister and his ghostwriters are unaware that “the HMS” is one of the crassest of solecisms? “HMS” stands for “Her Majesty’s Ship”, and “HMAS” for “Her Majesty’s Australian Ship”, “HMBS” for “Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship, ”HMCS” for “Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship”, “HMPNGS”, somewhat clunkily, for “Her Majesty’s Papua New Guinea Ship”, etc. And in none of these services should one precede HM with a “the”.

Here endeth the pedantic grumbling.

[UPDATE: As a thousand even more pedantic readers have emailed to point out: It was “His Majesty’s Ship” in 1941. Nit-picker, nit thyself, etc.]

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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