Change is inevitable unless its from a vending machine. Change has arrived for the Royal Navy, and not before time. Years ago at mess dinners we had a tradition of toasts, one for each day of the week. Often a junior officer was tested when instructed to give the toast of the day. If he failed to know which particular toast it was he’d end up with extra duties as a punishment. Mess dinners, usually all male, were entertaining, sexist and often bawdy. Not really suitable in the Navies of the world today. Today most Navies have mixed male and female crews and changes are necessary. I was pleased to read that the Royal Navy has made changes to the weekly toasts. Once the toast for Saturday was “To Wives and Sweethearts, may they never meet”. The new toasts are listed below.
Sunday – “Absent friends”
Monday – “Our ships at sea”
Tuesday – “Our men”, now “Our sailors”
Wednesday – “Ourselves (as no-one else is likely to concern themselves with our welfare)”
Thursday – “A bloody war or a sickly season”
Friday – “A willing foe and sea-room”
Saturday – “Our wives and sweethearts”, now “Our families”
Necessary change in my opinion and in this day and age where we look upon our sailors both male and female with the same equality. Years ago WRENS (Women’s Royal Navy Service) were hardly given any respect. Today all Naval ratings and officers wear the same uniforms and carry the same ranks, not before time. I recall a senior officer making a speech to our ships company back in the 1950’s he open with the remark “A speech should be like a woman’s skirt, long enough to cover everything but short enough to be interesting. I doubt any one would dare use that today. My closing comments today is this. Bravo Zulu to the brave men and women who go down to the sea in ships.
God Bless and keep reading.
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