Events

Orkney service marks HMS Vanguard sinking centenary

Orkney service marks HMS Vanguard sinking centenary

Wreck of HMS VanguardImage copyrightPA
Image captionRoyal Navy divers changed the White Ensign on the wreck of HMS Vanguard as part of the commemorations

A service to mark the centenary of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of the Royal Navy has taken place in Orkney.

More than 800 people died when HMS Vanguard sank in Scapa Flow.

A series of internal explosions ripped through the battleship at about 23:20 on 9 July 1917.

A memorial service was held in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, on Sunday evening to mark the exact moment of the explosions.

Commemorative events also took place above the wreck site and at the Lyness Naval Cemetery where 41 of the men are buried.

The White Ensign on the wreck of the Vanguard was also changed by a team of Royal Navy Divers.

A book of remembrance compiled for the commemorations was handed over to the people of Orkney at the service.

HMS Vanguard
Image copyrightORKNEY LIBRARY AND ARCHIVE
Image captionHMS Vanguard sunk almost immediately after the accidental explosions

Built in 1909, Vanguard was the eighth ship to bear the name and was one of the new generation of Dreadnought battleships.

On 9 July 1917, the ship had been conducting exercises in Scapa Flow and had anchored for the evening.

At 23:20 a series of catastrophic explosions, most likely caused by an accidental magazine explosion, resulted in the ship sinking almost immediately.

Of the 845 men aboard, only two survived.

As part of the commemorations, Royal Navy divers from HM Naval Base Clyde’s Northern Diving Group (NDG) travelled to Orkney to change the White Ensign on the wreck of Vanguard.

Wreck of HMS Vanguard
Image copyrightPA
Wreck of HMS Vanguard
Image copyrightPA

Leading diver James Brown said: “The waters of Scapa have always held a special place in NDG’s heart. Whenever an opportunity arises for us to work in Orkney there is a competition within the team to secure a place.”

Naval regional commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, Captain Chris Smith said the history of the Royal Navy and Scapa Flow were “tightly entwined”.

“The devastating explosion, completely accidental rather than a result of enemy action, was a shock when it happened and the tragic loss of more than 840 lives is still felt through their descendants and those in Orkney who feel passionately that we should mark the centenary in appropriate fashion,” he said.

“I am very happy to be joined by the ship’s companies of HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer as well as the Northern Diving Group and personnel from the current HMS Vanguard as we support the welcome efforts of Orcadians in commemorating the loss of this great battleship and all but two of her crew in suitable fashion.”

BLACK TOT DAY 2017

 GANGES CREW REMEMBER THIS LAST YEARWell guess what? We are doing it again this year.

Venue

H.M.A.S DIAMANTINA

at the Maritime Museum Southbank Brisbane.

Monday 31st July 2017

Time turn up 1100 to1145 up spirits 1200

Courtesy of PUSSER’S RUM

DRESS OF THE DAY ASSOC. SHIRTS.

SEE YOU ALL THERE.

 

Minutes of the HMS GANGES Association – Qld Division AGM 2017 held on 24 June

 

MEETING OPENED 11.45am.

Present: Dexley Johnson, Jack Gardiner, Ian Thomson, Kennedy Anderson, Charlie Greensmith, Graham Slaney, Judy Gardiner, Joy Thomson, Linda Anderson, Lorna Greensmith.

Apologies:  Roger Bower, Brian Samuels, Ray Barker, David Bird, George Baker and Jack Stacey.

 

Acceptance of the Minutes of last AGM and Extraordinary General meeting was proposed

by Charlie Greensmith and seconded by Ian Thomson. Minutes accepted unanimously.

 

Executive positions vacated.

 

Dexley Johnson appointed by the meeting as temp. Chairman.

 

Dexley Johnson called for nominations for Executive positions of President, Treasurer and Secretary from the floor. Charlie Greensmith nominated Graham Slaney for President. Seconded by Ian Thomson.

 

Carried unanimously.

 

Graham Slaney took the Chair.

 

Dexley Johnson nominated Linda Anderson for Treasurer. Seconded by Ian Thomson.

 

Carried unanimously.

 

Ken Anderson nominated Lorna Greensmith for Secretary. Seconded by Jack Gardiner.

 

Carried unanimously.

 

The President asked the meeting if anyone is aware of people not receiving his emails to please notify him.

 

Treasurer’s Report Presented. Acceptance moved by Charlie Greensmith. Seconded by Lorna Greensmith. Passed.

 

Ian Thomson asked why some members are awarded 50 and 60yr. certificates from UK Div.

and others are not. Charlie and Ken explained that in order to receive certificates people must be a member of the UK Div. for at least 5 years.

 

Dexley, Charlie and Ken reaffirmed that when the Qld. Div. formed it was decided at a general meeting that ass. members could serve on the committee owing to the small number of members able and willing to participate due to large distances.

 

Lorna Greensmith proposed Charlie Greensmith as Rum Bosun due to his long associations

with South Trade …importers of Pussers Rum… who provide us with rum for our tots at meetings. Seconded by Joy Thomson and Dexley Johnson. Carried. Much thanks to our previous Rum Bosun, Ray Barker, who is unwell at the present time. We all wish him a speedy recovery.

 

A gathering for the 47th anniversary of Black Tot day to take place on Mon. 31st July in the ward room of the Diamantina at the Maritime Museum was suggested. Charlie to contact

Alan Bibby to confirm.

 

Christmas party to be held at Palms Resort at Beenleigh on Sunday 26th Nov. 17. More info.

will be sent in the newsletter. Dexley suggested fish and chips or chicken from a local fast food shop as an alternative to a BBQ. Decision still open.

 

Because of the increased cost of UK membership, Lorna raised the issue of perhaps joining our president as a member of the UK Div. as a position rather than a person so that we would always have a rep. to the UK. Ken and Charlie said they would happily serve that function as they were members already and that they did not think the UK Div. would let us do that anyway.

 

Linda asked that a reminder be sent out in the next newsletter that yearly fees are now due.

 

Meeting closed at 12.30pm.

Black Tot Day 2017

Black Tot Day will be held Monday 31st July at the Maritime Museum, Southbank, Brisbane.

Rig of the day Divisional shirts otherwise casual.

Turn up time between 1100 – 1145.

Up Spirits 1200.

A bottle or two of Pusser’s will be supplied any other contributions will be gratefully received.

A bit of lunch at the Ship Inn (after the mourning time and lamp swinging is over) can be enjoyed with your old shipmates but is pay as you eat.

Any problem with parking or access please contact Charlie. 3202 1332 or 0438122593.

Hope to see as many as possible there top enjoy the day.

Best Regards and Safe Sailing

HMS GANGES Queensland Division Newsletter – June 2017

 

  

H.M.S. GANGES ASSOCIATION (QUEENSLAND DIVISON). INC.

NEWSLETTER 58

JUNE 2017

Welcome aboard everyone,

Welcome to the June newsletter, my first topic is to ask your assistance, I have been putting together a complete up-to-date members list with limited success especially regarding the members below whom I believe my contact details are out of date, emails to these folks have been sent back as undelivered, phones disconnected etc. if anyone is in touch with any of these fine people, could you please ask them to contact me, so I can send them these newsletters.

Mike Barron

Dennis Cooper

David Rees

Richard Roe

Jack Stacy

AGM As you are all (hopefully) aware, the AGM will be held on 24th June 2017, if anyone has any motions, or things they wish to put forward / suggest / discuss can I ask you to either forward it to myself or to Lorna (Sec) so we can put some kind of agenda together (closing date for items will be 20th June)

MEMBERSHIP The number of members currently is 26 (including the list above of course)

CONSTITUTION I have been asked by a member if we have a Constitution, I have investigated this thoroughly and discovered that as we are “Incorporated” (which we have to be, to raise money through annual dues, raffles etc, under Queensland State Regulation), we are covered by a generic standard Constitution that covers all small clubs and associations throughout the State.

NEWSLETTER QUIZ Each month I will try and entertain you and maybe test a memory or two, this month for the history experts..

Name the Ship and class (answer next newsletter)

VISIT TO HMS GANGES (2016) – featuring Mr Ian Critchley (President WA) Found this video on YouTube for anyone interested – https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-IPC2xtK-4. It runs for 25 minutes and I was shocked at the decay that’s has occurred. I do hope you spot some old shipmates in it.

May was a fairly quiet month so not a lot to write about, as this is YOUR newsletter, if you would like anything added then please contact Scotty (details below). In keeping with History (and particularly Royal Navy Historical facts) I would like to present monthly a few items from history..and something from today’s Royal Navy.

1509 – 1660 Historic Periods
Aware of the growing importance of naval power, Henry VIII built up his own standing fleet, known as the Navy Royal. This enlarged fleet required a more developed administration which eventually saw the establishment of the ‘Navy Board’. When Civil War broke out, the Commonwealth regime created the most powerful and effectively run fleet Britain had ever seen. When King Charles II came to the throne in 1660 he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships; this was the beginning of a permanent and professional Royal Navy as we know it today.

2017 Today’s Navy
As of January 2017, there are 77 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy. 19 of the commissioned vessels are major surface combatants (six guided missile destroyers and 13 frigates) and 11 are nuclear-powered subs (four ballistic missile submarines and seven fleet submarines). In addition the Navy possesses a landing platform helicopter, two amphibious transport docks, 15 mine countermeasures vessels, 22 patrol vessels, four survey vessels, one icebreaker and two historic warships (Victory and Bristol). The Royal Navy currently operates three bases where commissioned ships are based; HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde. In addition, a number of commissioned vessels belonging to the University Royal Naval Units (URNU) are stationed at various locations around the United Kingdom. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is approx 337,000 tonnes (641,000 tonnes including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Marines). Besides the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Marines operate their own flotillas of naval vessels which complement the assets of the Royal Navy, however they are not included in this list or the above figures. In addition, the naval training vessels Brecon and Cromer can be found based at the Royal Navy shore establishment HMS Raleigh and the Britannia Royal Naval College, respectively.[1] As a supporting contingent of Her Majesty’s Naval Service, the civilian Marine Services operate a large number of auxiliary ships (including coastal logistics, tugs and research vessels) in support of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary operations. All ships and submarines currently in commission with the Royal Navy were built in the United Kingdom, with the exception of icebreaker Protector which was built in Norway.

This month’s humour..

This month’s humour comes from …well doesn’t matter where it come from, suffice to say if it doesn’t have you in stitches you should have joined the RAF..

As fans of films like ‘The Cruel Sea’ will know, ships used to be controlled by an officer standing on the bridge and shouting orders into metal tubes. This wasn’t some form of early, computer voice recognition. They were just metal tubes that ran through the ship and appeared somewhere that orders needed to be heard.
One of the tubes led to the ‘wheelhouse’ – an armoured, windowless compartment in the middle of the ship containing the ship’s steering wheel, a gyro repeater to show the ship’s course and absolutely nothing else. Except, that is, for a poor b@stard with the worst job in the world: staring at the gyro repeater for hours on end and making small adjustments on the wheel to keep the repeater showing the ordered course.
If you were unlucky, you’d get the middle watch – from midnight to 0400 – in the wheelhouse. If you were really unlucky your ship would be transiting the Pacific and the course wouldn’t change for days at a time. Well before the times of auto pilots.
On one occasion, at about 0300, the wheelhouse was occupied by the trusty leading coxswain who handled the wheel with a masterly grip, and a cook of ill repute who was at a loose end while the batch of tomorrow’s bread he was baking was in the oven.
Despite having a combined IQ that was lower than some of the marine invertibrates fouling the ship’s hull, this pair were easily bored. As they say, the Emperor makes work for idle hands and they soon discovered that the bolt securing the ship’s wheel was loose. Not only could the bolt be unscrewed, but the entire wheel could be removed – thus leaving a 2,500 ton warship doing up to 20 knots and containing 300+ mainly sleeping matelots totally out of control.
A new form of entertainment was born (no ipods, playstations or DVDs in those days). The pair of loons took turns unbolting the wheel and then bolting it back on again. The ‘winner’ of the game was the one who needed to apply the smallest course correction after reattaching the wheel.
Like all games, this one soon became boring. To spice things up a bit, they decided that they would run round the wheelhouse, carrying the wheel, before reattaching it.
Of course, this also became boring. To cut a long story a bit shorter, they ended up unbolting the wheel and running round the entire upper deck (that’s the main, outside ‘deck’ of the ship that has the big guns, superstructure and helicopters parked on it) while carrying the wheel before returning to the wheelhouse and reattaching it.
As I said, they were not burdened by the ravages of intelligence. It didn’t occur to either of them that, at all times when the ship was at sea, the bridge was occupied by an officer of the watch who was selected for having near perfect eyesight and whose powers of observation were honed by years of training. Naturally, he was somewhat perturbed to see some foul creature scurrying across the fo’csle (the pointy bit at the front) in the small hours of the morning carrying a large object of indeterminate origin.
Three swift steps and the OOW was on the bridge wing (an open ‘balcony’ at each side of the bridge). With the flick of a switch he activated the searchlight and illuminated the miscreant, who froze like the protagonist in a comedy jailbreak. The shouted conversation went like this:-
OOW: Who the fcuk is that on the fo’csle. LSCOX: Nobody sir. OOW: Is that you coxswain? Jesus Christ! Who’s steering the ship? LSCOX: Err … OOW: What’s that you’re carrying? LSCOX: Nothing sir. OOW: It looks like …. JESUS FCUKING CHRIST – IT’S THE SHIP’S WHEEL.
The ship’s company were promptly roused to their emergency stations (the bits of the ship where they go in an emergency such as a fire, a hull breach or a mad b@stard nicking the main steering gear).
The Captain, on hearing the pipe for emergency stations, promptly ran up the bridge ladder in his pyjamas, fearing that his ship had been torpedoed by a rogue Nazi submarine that didn’t know WW2 had ended or a rogue commie submarine that didn’t know WW3 had yet to begin.
The ship’s wheel was reattached, the off duty crew returned to their bunks and calm returned to all parts of the ship. Except the part occupied by the Captain, who was crazed by a furious rage.
At that time, the Naval Discipline Act still allowed the death penalty in some circumstances. The regulators (military naval police) were kept up all night investigating whether this was one of those circumstances and whether the Captain could, through some obscure legal loophole, award a death sentence at the end of a summary trial (where the Captain is the judge and jury and usually hands out a fine).
Not wanting to damage the ship’s newfangled radar and sensitive antennae, the Captain quickly ruled out hanging and made enquiries among the Fleet Legal Team about the possibility of a firing squad on the quarter deck (the flat bit at the back of the ship – usually occupied by a knackered, 25 year old helicopter on modern RN ships).
Sadly, the Captain’s hopes of conducting the first summary execution aboard ship since Pte John Dalinger RM met his maker in 1860 were to be dashed. He had to make do with Courts Martial, discharge and hefty jail sentences for the hapless coxswain and hopeless cook (whose bread ignited during the aftermath of the incident and brought the crew, once more, to emergency stations).
With that I will bid you farewell, until the next newsletter..

Regards and Stand Easy

Scotty

To contact Scotty Graham Slaney 3/12-14 Musgrave St, KIRRA, Qld 4225 Phone 0434896017. e-mail scottyslaney@gmail.com skype: G50raham@hotmail.com

P.S. If you no longer wish to receive newsletters from sunny Queensland, please advise and I will remove your details from the list. Until we meet again, fair winds to you all..

PPS For those living on the Gold Coast, if you would like a lift to the AGM please let me know..

HMS GANGES South Australian AGM 2017 Newsletter

The Shotley Buzz No 52

28th May 2017

It has been quite a while since the last South Australian Shotley Buzz, this is due to unfortunate circumstances, we lost our President David Friend who had been very ill with complex problems, also in April we lost our previous Treasurer Ted Arnold who had moved to Queensland to be near his daughter whilst he saw out his time with lung cancer. David’s wife Penny and Ted’s wife Joyce received many condolences from within the Ganges network.

Since the time I stood down as President due to my cancer David and I worked closely together, so he asked me to keep things going during the last few months.

We normally hold our AGM in June/July but due to changed circumstances this was brought forward to 18th May 2017. I was appointed as President/secretary a job we have always combined for convenience in a relatively small group. Margaret Burgess kindly took on the role of treasurer, Mike Crowley(57) took on the role of Vice President and Bob Chumley continues the good work of welfare officer. Margaret and Mike became our signatories for our account at the credit union.

Members present all signed a letter of thanks  to Robyn Renyard daughter in law of our late treasurer Vince Renyard, during the time we were an incorporated body Robyn audited our accounts free.

We had a good turn up for the meeting but with 10 apologies from members and their wives mainly sickness, being away and standing apologies for long distance.

We then continued into an ordinary meeting which was held at our normal venue hopefully everyone enjoyed their meal and socialising with each other.

The attached photograph at the luncheon shows members present holding the South Australian Ganges Ensign is 97 year old Peter Thomas (1940)

 

 

Our next general meeting will be held in mid July.

 

Your aye

Derek Ernst

President

Newsletter May 2017

This newslewtter will also be emailed to all members and associates

NEW STATE CREST

H.M.S. GANGES ASSOCIATION (QUEENSLAND DIVISON). INC.

 

NEWSLETTER 57

 

MAY2017

 

 Hi everyone,

 

Well another month has sailed into history, last month we saw the sudden passing of the South Australian President Mr David Friend, and in February we saw the passing of one of our own – CMDR Hugh Wills RN CJX871564 – Collingwood Division – 44U Class – who joined Ganges 03-06-1949.

 

Sailor - rest your oar-2

 

Hugh was also an author having written a book by the name of ‘The Bosun’s Call’ which is available from Amazon for $5.32 (the link to the Amazon page is at the end of this newsletter)

 

The Bosun’s Call describes the author’s hilarious experiences during his time spent on the ‘lower deck’ in the Royal Navy; starting as a Boy Seaman, he slowly makes his uncertain way towards his goal of becoming a Naval Officer. Covering the years 1949 to 1956, we experience a Country still on wartime rationing, low pay, strict discipline and a time of general drabness. Yet despite this, most young people were filled with optimism brought beautifully to life in this tale of eccentric and colourful characters serving on both the lower deck and in the wardroom.

The 1950s embraced the evening of Britain’s naval might when individuality and initiative breathed more freely; the days before the stream of defence cuts, back-seat driving, an overzealous ‘nanny state’ and political correctness began to militate against the Royal Navy’s presence and her people. But Hugh Willis has faith. He knows that the spirit, determination, common sense and inimitable humour of our sailors’ will continue to flourish while they still sail the ‘Seven Seas’.

 AGM Date

And, as pointed out by many, I promulgated the incorrect date for the AGM in June, it is actually on the 24th not the 23rd as I posted, apologies for the error.

Request from RN Archives

I have also found an interesting site on which the RN Research Archive have posted a number of photographs which seem to remain a mystery and are asking if anyone can

identify them, they range from establishments to ports to ships, if your interested have a look at

 

http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/Mystery_photos.htm

 

ANZAC Day

Also many thanks for all those who participated in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service and march, as you are aware it commemorates the members of the Australian and

New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli  in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. We now also remember all “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.”

 Victorian Division

The Victorian Division is having a ‘get together’ – details are:

 

The Victorian Division invites graduates of the Admiralty finishing school, instructors ships company their friends, families and associates to participate in an enjoyable time  of fun, friendship and various activities at the:-

Victorian Division Five Night Get Together at Yarrawonga/Mulwala

When From Sunday October  Monday 16th-Friday 21st..  October 2017

Where Yarrawonga Mulwala

 

 

The ‘Tot”

In closing I’d like to post a brief history of the “tot” written by Harry Sword

Imagine downing half a pint of overproof rum and then going back to work. Now, let’s imagine work happened to be on the decks of a vast 18th-century Royal Navy ship. We’re talking old-school sea stuff here: complex knots, gunpowder kegs, cannon balls, climbing up rigging, etc.
Feel a little woozy, eh? All thumbs, perhaps?

Well, folks, this is no fantasy. Until July 31, 1970, bracingly strong overproof rum was a vital part of the fabric of the British Navy—rationed, used as a currency, and a veritable way of life.

“The daily tot”—or rum ration—was an eagerly anticipated daily ritual for generations of sailors, serving both to boost morale and provide a stern alcoholic kick to the chops, a comfort to sailors used to dodging cannonballs, grapeshot, and the lash.

But why rum? While the cliche of the drunken sailor—staggering on the docks after a night

of hell-raising in some seamy fleshpot—is deeply ingrained in the national subconscious, it bears mentioning that rum was not always the Naval drink of choice. Until the Napoleonic Wars, sailors were given a staggering gallon of beer per day, per man, instead of water. Soaring temperatures below deck—in the stinking bowels of the hold—saw that water, encased as it was in rotting oak barrels, would quickly become covered in a thick layer of green mould. This led to stronger brews being developed that could withhold the rigours of longer journeys; but they too were prone to rot, and so a stronger solution was sought.

In the 17th century, the men were given French brandy; later, sailors from the East India Company adopted a fearsome Indian spirit called arak. However, this came to be mistrusted by sailors, due to its unpredictable—and often violently sickening—effects. Gareth Oliver describes the devastating effect in his Oxford Companion to Beer:

“Madeira, Beer and Wine were imported from England by the Captains of the ships—the East India Men—but were originally available in small quantities at steep prices. Instead, many favoured the local alternative. Arak was, by any standards, a hard-core liquor. The local version was made by fermenting raw palm juice in the hot sun …that was it. Several of the first Englishmen to try it died after a 12-hour session and it went onto claim countless lives.”
Rum, meanwhile, had the advantage of being both easily available from the Caribbean colonies and a more stable drink. By 1731, it was the drink of choice for the Navy and was issued twice daily to the men—neat overproof rum—in half pints. Indeed the very term “overproof” has its origins in this period; sailors would test the purity of rum by dousing gunpowder in the spirit and setting it on fire, thus “proving” that the drink was of sufficient strength (i.e., 57 percent alcohol by volume).

You gotta be sure it’s pure, right?

The rum ration itself came with its own ritual attached. Issued between 11 AM and noon, sailors would shout, “Stand fast for the Holy Ghost.” Each battalion would have an assigned “rum bosun” (or boatswain) whose job it would be to spoon out the rum. The glasses themselves were never washed, as it was believed that the accumulative effect of the residue would provide a progressively stronger tot.

But although rum was massively popular among the sailors, there were attendant problems—namely, drunkenness and ill-discipline. After all, we’re talking vast quantities of strong spirits consumed twice daily, often in full glare of the baking sun.

How to combat this? How to pacify men who were, by now, all but genetically programmed to quaff huge drafts of spirits, twice daily, on the clock?

A chap called Admiral Vernon—commander in chief of the West Indies Station—thought he had the answer: Water it down a bit! As you might imagine, this was not the most popular of policies among the swarthy seadogs, but it was one he felt to be absolutely necessary. On August 21, 1740, he issued his infamous Order No. 349 to captains, stating:

“[The rum should] be every day mixed with the proportion of a quart of water to a half pint of rum, to be mixed in a scuttled butt kept for that purpose, and to be done upon the deck, and in the presence of the Lieutenant of the Watch who is to take particular care to see that the men are not defrauded in having their full allowance of rum … and let those that are good husband men receive extra lime juice and sugar that it be made more palatable

to them.”

Vernon was alarmed by what he saw as wanton drunkenness on board, and his decree was specifically designed to stop what he described as“ the pernicious custom of the seaman drinking their allowance of rum in drams, and often at once, attended with many fatal effects to their morals as well as their health … besides the ill consequences of stupefying their rational qualities.”

Whether this was effective in combating drunkenness is debatable. After all, the men would still be getting the full half pint of rum, just with a little water added. Crafty sailors could still simply save up their rations and down them in one go, in an almighty binge.

The thwacking great dose of booze was still relatively pure, bar the sugar and lime juice. The latter, incidentally, was not just for show—it was used to ward off scurvy. (It’s also the origin of the term “limey” to describe an Englishman.) Popular or not, the resulting mixture—overproof rum, water, sugar and lime juice—was nicknamed “grog” by sailors (reportedly the result of Admiral Vernon’s wearing of a grogram cloak). The gloriously named “scuttled butt” listed in Vernon’s decree was soon issued to all Naval ships, rechristened the “grog tub,” while “splice the mainbrace” was (and remains) the order a captain can give to issue all hands a drink.

Rum was more than mere drink on board, however. It was also used as informal currency. The system was worked out according to how much of another sailors tot you took: a “wet” was the equivalent of covering your lips with rum, but not actually swallowing any of the liquid; a “sipper” was a small sip; a “gulper” was one large swallow. The most prized of all was the dubiously named “sandy bottoms” or drinking the entirety of another man’s tot—a rare privilege used to settle debts.

And so, until 1971, rum remained part of the very fabric of sailing life, though not in such foolhardy quantities. The tot itself was reduced twice from its original mighty half pint. In 1823, it was cut to a quarter pint; it was cut once more to an eighth of a pint in 1850, where it remained until 1970. Known as “Black Tot Day,” July 31, 1970 was the last day that the Royal Navy were rationed a tot of rum. It was a day of serious mourning.

On December 17, 1969 The Admiralty Board wrote to the House of Commons, stating, “The Admiralty Board concludes that the rum issue is no longer compatible with the high standards of efficiency required now that the individual’s tasks in ships are concerned with complex, and often delicate, machinery and systems on the correct functioning of which people’s lives may depend.”

Thus the ration was consigned to history. Sailors wore black armbands for the poor lost spirit; some held a funeral for their tots, pouring them into the sea in ceremonial burial. A vital part of British boozing history was consigned to the briny deep forever.

Splice the mainbrace!

This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in September 2015.

 

 

Link to Hugh Willis’ book – https://www.amazon.com.au/BOSUNS-CALL-Hugh-Willis/dp/B00NK40Y36/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493457357&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bosuns+call

 

 

Regards and Stand Easy

 

Scotty

 

 

To contact Scotty

Graham Slaney

3/12-14 Musgrave St, KIRRA, Qld 4225

 Phone  0434896017.

e-mail scottyslaney@gmail.com

skype: G50raham@hotmail.com

 

 

P>S> If you no longer wish to receive newsletters from sunny Queensland, please advise and I will remove your details from the list. Until we meet again, fair winds to you all..

 

PPS… For those living on the Gold Coast, if you would like a lift to the AGM please let me know..

 

Victorian Division Get Together

H.M.S. Ganges association

Victorian division

 

 

Invite graduates of the Admiralty finishing school, instructors ships company their friends, families and associates to participate in an enjoyable time  of fun, friendship and various activities at the:-

Victorian Division Five Night Get Together at Yarrawonga/Mulwala

When From Sunday October  Monday 16th-Friday 21st..  October 2017

Where Yarrawonga Mulwala

Cost

 

It was decided that this year’s Victorian get together would be at Yarrawonga for five nights Monday 16th October to Friday 21st. with accommodation at Club Mulwala  Resort 271 Melbourne Street, Mulwala, NSW 2647. This is adjacent to RSL Club Mulwala. All are welcome to attend.

The resort has a variety of room configurations the price is based on a standard room. Cost of a room per day is $160 however for  $5 membership of the club the price is $128 with membership gaining discounts on food and beverages.

If you are interested please contact Secretary Harry at this email address or mobile 0418809712. Or Chairman David at tyabbhookman@gmail.com mobile 0421068443 Thank you

Regards Aye Chairman David Lines and Secretary Harry Harrison

2017 AGM

The 2017 AGM will be held on the 24th June 2017 starting at 1100, this event will be held at (address available from Scotty)

 

Apologies from those unable to attend please email Scotty – scottyslaney@gmail.com

 

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