WESTERN UNION: Exercise Verity

Not since the dread approach of the Spanish Armada had the people of Penzance seen so many massed ships. In one day, the blue waters of Mounts Bay were agitated by 60 British, French and Dutch warships; the air reverberated with 21-gun salutes. It was the start of week-long Western Union naval maneuvers known as Exercise Verity.

For weeks, British radiomen had been trying to learn how to pronounce French ship names like Georges Leygues (rhymes with bag) while their French opposites set out to grasp the British pronunciation of Agincourt. For...

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