The starting point for this book was my own experience as a young cadet with P&O in the early 1960s. During bridge watches at night, and often during the day, it was quite routine to call up passing ships with the Aldis signal lamp and I remember the 3rd Officer during the First Watch (8-12) one night asking me to ‘call up that ship’. “What do I say?” I ask him. “Start with ‘What Ship, Where Bound?’” came the reply. And so I did, almost certainly with some first-time nerves; sending Morse by lamp is easy but reading it takes practice and I cannot recall with clarity what the outcome was, but the opening question has stayed with me and eventually became the title of this book.

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