You might recall that on 2nd August I blogged about Black Tot Day that took place on 31st July 1970. The last day of the issue of rum to members of the Royal Navy. All members having reached the age of twenty years were entitled to one issue (tot) of rum per day. I also stated in my blog that I thought the Admiralty had miss an opportunity to ban alcohol aboard all vessels of the Royal Navy. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, crews are allowed two cans of beer per day (35mg per 100ml)when off duty. When handling fire arms the limit is 9mg per 100ml. Surely when handling weapons it should be zero tolerance. In the wardroom, officers have available a selection of wines, spirits and beers. While this sounds like a moderate ration, the problem of drunkenness still exists. What happens when one sailor gives/sells his issue of beer to another shipmate, suppose several do this and now we have a drunk on the ship. The same applies to the wardroom especially when alongside. Not a good idea under any circumstances, even dangerous on a modern warship or submarine. It is dangerous enough drinking and driving a car so imagine driving a nuclear submarine/ship. I have posted two photos pertaining to a tragic event that took place in 2011. The first is Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, the second Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux. In April alongside in Southampton Donovan was armed and extremely intoxicated aboard the nuclear submarine HMS Astute. He shot Molyneux killing him, and injured two other crew members before being apprehended. Lt Cdr Molyneux 36, leaves behind a wife and four children. Donovan has been sentenced to life, and must serve a minimum of 25 years. Here we have a completely unnecessary waste of two lives all because of alcohol. Two young men have had their lives destroyed, one is dead and one in jail for the rest of his life. I wonder if now the Admiralty will have a rethink, surely weapons and booze do not mix, they should never be available at the same time and in the same place. A warship is exactly that, it is about weapons and is very dangerous. In my opinion the navy afloat should be dry. It saddens me that this is what today’s navy has come too. I served for 24 years with pride, and I’m still proud today. As an old submariner I have the greatest difficulty imagining one shipmate shooting another. This is a dreadful tragedy, and an indelible blemish on the once grand and elite submarine service, indeed on the entire Royal Navy. In my day at noon we heard the pipe “Up Spirits” tot time, now in 2014 my spirits are very low, I feel the shame as do so many of my old comrades. My sympathies are with the family who in the blink of an eye lost their father. What a dreadful waste and how easily it could have been prevented.
God Bless and keep reading.