31st July 1970 – A Black Day

If you’d been at least twenty years old and a member of the Royal Navy prior to 31st July 1970 then it would have indeed been a black day! That was the day the last daily tot of rum was issued throughout the fleet of the Royal Navy. (Note – still issued on special occasions,Queens birthday etc). The Navy had issued a daily tot of rum for over 300 years, the end of a tradition. Probably not a bad decision though,many ranks,badges and buttons had been lost as a result of rum. Also, an inebriated sailor on duty in the nuclear missile room of a submarine might not be such a good idea. A sad but necessary change to Naval traditions. Pusser Rum was unique and exclusive to the Royal Navy, a single malt rum produced in the British Virgin Islands. In 1979 the brand was licensed to be sold to the general public. It has been incorrectly known as Nelsons Blood, but that is wrong, Brandy is actually Nelsons Blood. After the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelsons death his body was placed in a barrel of brandy to preserve it until the ship returned to
England. It is believed after his body was removed the sailors drank the brandy,which contained traces of Nelsons blood.
Oh! excuse me I have to go, they just piped “up spirits” its tot time again.
Cheers and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges, military, The Royal Navy & Me, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 31st July 1970 – A Black Day

  1. Tony Miles says:

    I agree with you Ben that the Tot had to stop, too many sophisticated pieces of equipment on Royal Navy boats. I often tell the tale to my friends that from the age of 20 to the age of 27 I was never actually totally sober during the afternoons. It was especially worse on the Royal Yacht Brittannia, as we were issued with one and one, plus we had our own duty free bar, with a penny per can kept behind for free drinks after a tour. It was bad enough in General Service ships, We always had a beer locker saved from the two cans per man per night, mainly from the ones who didn’t drink it, but drew it because of peer pressure from the other members of the Mess. The big problem as I saw it then is that the Petty Officers, Chiefs, and Wardroom had still the opportunity to have a snifter at lunchtime. Some became quite stroppy after lunch knocking out orders they would otherwise not do, it was only noticable because the Matelots were stone cold sober, Fortunately my time was up in March of 1971.

  2. irishroverpei says:

    Hi Tony no question the rum had to go, you can’t run today’s ships and submarines with half cut sailors. I must admit though, without the rum the food in my day would have been a lot harder to stomach!!!

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