I have a personal memory to celebrate today. It’s related to a milestone that Rummies and veterans of Her Majesty’s Navy will commemorate next Monday. I would imagine that anyone finding their way to this site knows the significance of “celebrating” Black Tot Day, which is of course the anniversary of the the last day that a daily tot of Rum was issued to sailors in the Royal Navy, infamously the Black Tot.
In 1970 someone decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea for men to be operating sophisticated machinery while drinking Rum. Although the daily tot, was only, a half gill… an eighth of an Imperial pint… (2.5 oz), I suppose it was an understandable change. Her Majesty issued that last taste of daily Rum on July 31, 1970. It wouldn’t be the last Royal issue of Rum though.
To celebrate special Royal Events, the Queen has given the order, “Splice the Mainbrace,” which translates to, “Issue the Fleet a tot of Rum!” I was lucky enough to be assigned as an exchange officer as a pilot in 815 Squadron when that order was given. So, thirty-one years ago, on July 23, 1986 I collected my tot of Lamb’s Navy Rum in
honor honour of the Royal Wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Even though the entire fleet was issued rum, it was a bit more special for me since Andrew, whom everyone called “H,” was a squadron mate.
There’s no Lamb’s in the Rum Locker today, so something else will have to do while raising my glass… “To Absent Friends…”