Captured Same

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 17 12:54:16 UTC 2010

My recollection is that the use of "same" to mean "it" was a common
affectation in formal business correspondence, perhaps into the 1960s.

Certainly the pilot's message has never struck me as oddly phrased, just
concise and neatly rhythmical (esp. in the "sighted" version).

Another famous message from the same period was "SEND US MORE
JAPS," attributed to the besieged garrison on Wake Island.  It supposedly
showed spunk.  Released from a prison camp after the war, both Navy and
Marine commanders at Wake denied they had ever authorized such a ridiculous

Decades later it transpired that the story had likely developed from an
encrypted dispatch sent by Ensign Bernard J. Lauff.  Encryption practice
included beginning and ending the real message with "padding," and Lauff had
apparently begun with the words "send us" and ended with "more Japs."  Or so
they say.



On Mon, May 17, 2010 at 7:19 AM, Bill Palmer <w_a_palmer at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Bill Palmer <w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Captured Same
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The report was from a US Navy plane, I believe.  Whether the sub was
> actually sunk is open to question.
> On a TV show, sometime in the 1950's, maybe it was "I've Got a Secret", the
> originator of the communication was the guest. (It was time when WWII vets
> were no older than, say, Gulf War vets today). He explained that, for a
> reason I don't recall, communications such as the one in question were, for
> that particular operation, to be phrased so that the initial letter of each
> word was to be the same...hence the alliteration.
> Bill Palmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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