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herakles
16-03-2008, 09:57
No, sorry. We are not about to start issuing a daily tot here.

Some of you will know Michael Quinion's weekly newsletter on aspects of the English language. If you are not subscribing to this excellent thing and you are interested in words, I recommend you join the list of subscribers.

The most recent issue discussed grog. Some of you will, I am sure know all about this, but for those of you that don't I include it here.

I asked Michael for his permission to place it here and he graciously gave it. Thank you Michael.

Q&A: Grog
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Q. My twin brother recently brought back from Grenada a splendid bottle of rum, which bore an equally splendid story that the origin of the name of the daily ration of "grog" served to British seamen was to be found in that island, and was derived from the brand with which the casks were marked, namely GROG, or Georgius Rex Old Grenada. The George in question is said
to be George III. Does this story hold any water?

A. No. Nor rum either. However, the real story sounds even less
likely, though the experts are pretty much convinced it is true.

Parts of the bottle's tale are correct, though. The ration of rum
mixed with water that was once served to sailors on board British
warships was indeed called grog. And the rum did come from the West
Indies - the custom of serving it instead of other strong spirits
such as brandy began in 1687, following the British capture of
Jamaica.

In 1740, Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon was commanding officer of the
British naval forces in the West Indies during the conflict with
Spain that was weirdly named the War of Jenkins' Ear, after a
captain who in 1731 had had an ear cut off in a skirmish with the
Spanish. Vernon was so concerned about the bad effects of the rum
ration on his sailors that in August that year he issued an order
that in future the rum ration was to be served diluted:

To Captains of the Squadron! Whereas the Pernicious Custom
of the Seamen drinking their Allowance of Rum in Drams, and
often at once, is attended by many fatal Effects to their
Morals as well as their Health, the daily allowance of half
a pint a man is to be mixed with a quart of water, to be
mixed in one Scuttled Butt kept for that purpose, and to be
done upon Deck, and in the presence of the Lieutenant of the
Watch, who is to see that the men are not defrauded of their
allowance of Rum.

One may presume the tars were not best pleased by this, not least
considering the foul stuff called water that was usually available
on board ship (the Admiral said later in his order that men might,
if they had the money, buy sugar or limes to make the water more
palatable to them). The men, as was their custom, had already given
Vernon the nickname of Old Grog, because on deck in rough weather
he wore a cloak made of a coarse fabric called grogram, a mixture
of silk with mohair or wool, often stiffened with gum. ("Grogram"
is from French "gros grain", coarse grain.) So it was a short step
to naming the diluted drink "grog".

This might be dismissed as no more than another folk tale about the
origin of words, especially as no contemporary record of "grog" has
been found. However, it was widely believed in the Royal Navy to be
the origin, to judge from the earliest example we have. It is from
a poem written by Dr Thomas Trotter, the surgeon of HMS Berwick. He
wrote these lines on board ship on 4 August 1781:

A mighty bowl on deck he drew,
And filled it to the brink;
Such drank the Burford's gallant crew,
And such the gods shall drink.

The sacred robe which Vernon wore
Was drenched within the same;
And hence his virtues guard our shore,
And Grog derives its name.

The term was broadened by landlubbers who were ill-conversant with
naval customs to mean any strong drink, though in Australia and New
Zealand it can also mean beer. "Groggy", a word first used in the
West Indies, came from "grog" to mean a person overcome by liquor;
later its meaning expanded to include anybody who was unsteady and
dazed for any reason.

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World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2008. All rights
reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewords.org .
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Uncle Albert
10-10-2008, 21:16
I served as a junior rate on HMS Jufair, a shore establishment based in Bahrain. The fresh water was so disgustingly brackish, that if you took a can of Coca Cola to 'up spirits', you were allowed to have a neat tot of rum and the OOD watched as you topped up the glass with coke.

As a complete aside, petrol was 1/6 a gallon (7.5p), and good distilled drinking water was also 1/6 a gallon. You had to use the good distilled water in your car radiator or the salts in the local fresh water would block the radiator in a month.

herakles
10-10-2008, 21:23
Wow! A reply! After over 6 months too.

Chris Howat
11-10-2008, 19:58
Having supervised the issue of grog onboard many times, it was amazing what sailors would get up to in order to get extra. Neat rum in excess of that issued had to be thrown away usually by pouring down the sink. Some clever chap used to disconnect the drain down below and catch the surplus as it poured down.
There must be many other stories about the rum issue.......

oldsalt
15-10-2008, 19:13
In the 50's I was a mess caterer of the stokers mess, in HMS Drake, one of my duties was issuing the tot in the drill shed. There were so many in barracks we served the grog from the largest fannies. When a sailor came up for his tot the routine was dip a 1/2 pint glass into the fanny then transfer the rum from the glass into the tot measure held in the left hand, surplus rum would overflow the measure back into the fanny. When a chum came for his tot the usual routine would be followed except when the measure was full the surplus was left in the glass the measured tot quickly poured on top and consumed fast. The vast number of matelots drawing rum meant the supervision was very lax. After I was promoted, my duty supervising the rum issue was to taste the water for mixing, to ensure it was fresh water and then order " MIX".

Jan Steer
15-10-2008, 19:51
I too served at Jufair. As a sparker I worked in the joint communications centre. It was almost exclusively RAF and we worked RAF watchkeeping routines instead of naval ones. I was one of two matelots allocated to each watch and kept ostensibly to send and receive morse traffic to and from our 'sweepers.
Of course we were allowed to disappear at 1130 to draw our tot much to the chagrin of the crabfats. Then we would arrive back on watch to burble like rock apes over them for a couple more hours! Great fun! I was there too when the very last tot was issued. I've never seen so many men in tears!
Jan

SCRG1970
15-10-2008, 20:51
As a young killick in Collingwood under instuction it was customary to draw our tot after instuction finshed ie 1600. I presume this was to ensure we didnt nod off or wrap ourselves around the lathes.

So on Fridays it was down your tot , get changed and pile into an old banger with three oppos and head up the line on weekend.

What chance would any of us have had of passing a breathalyser test if it had existed in those days !!!!

Gerry

David Shipton
16-10-2008, 07:29
Jan, I was probably on the receiving end of your morse when I was a sparker in Wiston, one of the 10th MCMS running out of Bahrain. The lunchtime sked always passed in a blur!

I remember the blokes in Jufair using coke in their tot in lieu of water but onboard we still used oggin

Cheers
David

Jan Steer
16-10-2008, 12:17
I remember some of 10 MCM. Tommy Sawyer was in Brereton and I think Jumper Collins was on Beachampton but I can't be sure. Didn't Puncheston break her back in Biscay on her way home? I also remember running down Mina Sulman jetty for drinks onboard various duty frigates when they called in. Galatea springs to mind and with Sam MacFarlane on the Tartar. I don't remember coke in my tot at Jufair but I do recall that more often than not it was almost neat! Can't say I enjoyed Bahrein; so boring. Hated working for the crabs even more!
Jan

Jan Steer
16-10-2008, 15:56
Interesting post Herakles. William Spavens writing around 1760 tells us that although there was no official issue of spirits in the navy at that time. All seamen were allowed a gallon of small beer per day until it ran out. After that they got local supplies. They were entitled to half a pint of brandy and one and a half pints of water mixed into grog. In the West Indies of course it was rum-grog and in the East Indies arrack-grog. In the Med or at the Cape of Good Hope the daily allowance was a pint of white wine mixed with another of water and served twice a day, either at breakfast and dinner or dinner and at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Spavey's ships, DRAGON, didn't issue rum officially until July 1760 but the men could buy there own supplies. Usually the sailors mixed spirits with sugar and other ingredients to make punch. 'Flip' was Brandy, beer and sugar. 'Bumbo' was rum, sugar, water and nutmeg. Limes were cheap and often added to rum punch.
Tim Clayton's book, "Tars", makes interesting reading.

Best wishes
Jan

Woodbutcher
06-02-2009, 04:21
Uncle Albert, post # 2
You saying that petrol and water were 1/6 a gallon, seems that they are still keeping pace with each other, as petrol and bottled water are about NZ$1.68 per litre, here at the moment.
Cheers, Dagwood.

herakles
06-02-2009, 04:30
$1-68 for a litre of water? OMG A litre of pure water costs me 20 cents here.

jbryce1437
06-02-2009, 22:19
Twas a sad day when the tot ended. RIP

bluestreak
06-02-2009, 23:30
"Up Spirits". I think the shore side photo was taken at Whale Island.

Tony L

slingerspark
10-02-2009, 16:28
Afternoon all.I was one of two chief elecs on board H M S ACHILLES when we joined the R.N.from building in GLASGOW at the beginning of JULY 1970 and I do believe that we were the last ship to commence drawing the TOT.On the last day we all decided to save one tot to celibrate its demise the following year. Unfortunately someone gave us away to the captain and so we had to drink it fast. WHAT A SHAME TO GO IN THAT WAY. But as senior rates we were at least allowed spirits even if they were of the civvy variety. Love the site, keep everything going. only one gripe, thats everybody is a nickname. P.S anybody on here from the ACHILLES, believe she is still going with the CHILLEANS SLINGERSPARKS A K A SLINGER

ltotenby
27-03-2009, 20:52
Never could understand that as a OD, the rum was watered down. As a Leading rate, the rum was watered down. As a PO, just 'neat', no water... On the Tuesday I had my watered down tot, on the Wednesday as a PO, I had my neat tot. Somehow overnight I ws able to take my tot stronger!!!!!!!!!! George..

NSR
28-03-2009, 17:46
That's because as a PO you were considered to have reached the point to be trusted not to store it and have a binge at the weekend. Watered rum didn't keep. or at least that was the theory.

Ken

mike mayer
29-03-2009, 17:33
What was a rum ration worth. That is an open question. In terms of monetery value not much, Unless you were RA But what a lot it could be used for!

oldsalt
29-03-2009, 20:21
I think in the 50's a rating who choose T was given 4d in lieu of the tot. Each man in the RN was either UA, under age, T, temperance or G, grog. The number of ratings who drew their tots was in decline in the 60's. In Ark Royal 61-3 an experiment was carried out, grog (not neaters) was issued on one of the weather decks to individual entitled ratings. It was found that a high percentage of those entitled just did'nt bother to turn up for the issue. I imagine a lot of messdeck rum rats were disappointed. The age when a rating became eligible for grog was 20yrs.

harry.gibbon
29-03-2009, 23:02
and the Death of the Tot!!!

Myself and others attended the "funeral parade" on the parade ground of HMS Terror in Honkers ... the senior rates turned out as did the padre ... the service was solemn ... and when we opened the coffin in the SR;s mess lo & behold twas full of fannies of rum Hmmm and what wasn't pussers was substituted with 151 instead.

how I was deposited home 12 stories up is another stories as is the ruination of a set of whites.

I have pics of the parade but am having probs getting them on to the forum at the moment

Little h

sorry HMS TAMAR ; my time at Terror is the making of other posts little h

Scribe
30-03-2009, 10:30
As a Writer during much of the 60s I had to note on pay records if a rating was "T" and entitled to the very small payment. Even on shore establishments, no more than one or two, and frequently none, would be "T". In one shore base where the grog wasn't a mess issue, I sometimes stood alongside the jack dusty who was issuing the neat rum and I dished out the water. I would give as little as I could get away with to make it about a 1:1 mix (better than neaters in my view). Sometimes the officer present would turn a blind eye and sometimes I would be told to do the job properly. Practically nobody didn't turn up, probably only about two or three percent non-take-up and they would be ratings who couldn't get to the muster rather than didn't want their tot. Usually arriving two minutes after the jack dusty and the officer-of-the-watch had disposed of the remains in the traditional way. In one shore base, the Sunday grog was issued at 0930 and we still got a near 100% take-up.

I was rum bosun for about a year in one mess where the grog was issued in a fanny for me to dish it out in the mess and it would be nearly unheard of for someone to tell me that they didn't want it.

It may have been different in the FAA.

oldsalt
30-03-2009, 17:35
Scribes where were you in the 60's with rum being issued as you describe, I hav'nt heard of a rum issue early in the morning, was it ashore in tropical routine? Rum was usually drawn from the spirit room & neat SR's issue made & 1100 , junior ratings issue at 1150. After 13 yrs on the lower deck I was promoted in 1963, I had a tot only when "splice the mainbrace" was ordered, if OOD attending issue I had to taste the water intended for the grog to ensure it was fresh water not sea water, when satisfied I ordered "mix". The second tot for splice the mainbrace was usually issued at the end of the working day.:confused::confused::confused:

Scribe
30-03-2009, 22:06
Keith - HMS St. Angelo and it could have been tropical routine in the summer and only on a Sunday. However, the same time held true in a shore base in the UK but I can't now remember which one.

Uncle Albert
31-03-2009, 08:40
While I was victualled in HMS Osprey, I was compulsory 'T', because I actually lived at Portland Bill WT Station. We didn't have an officer and so there was nobody to supervise the issue of the rum. I'd been there about a year, and one day was checking my pay sheet when I noticed that there was no 'T' money. So I went down to the pay office to see about it.

About six months later I picked up an extra six pounds. The b*****ds had deducted tax from about £8-9.

Also, apparantly there was so much extra work involved in back tracking to trace others who hadn't received their 'T' money, that everytime I visited the pay office, everybody was "too busy" to deal with my query.

Another lesson learned: Never upset the Pay bob, to add to never upset the chef.

oldsalt
31-03-2009, 20:56
Keith - HMS St. Angelo and it could have been tropical routine in the summer and only on a Sunday. However, the same time held true in a shore base in the UK but I can't now remember which one.

Thanks for the explaination Scribes, thinking of a 0930 tot was giving me sleepless nights.:o:o

harry.gibbon
02-04-2009, 21:58
What was a tot worth....??

Well; with old George Parker (1901-1981) on board the Camperdown, his own brass ball at the mast head, his tariff for favours was barely negotiable ...

Little h

harry.gibbon
06-04-2009, 19:59
The subject of my earlier post;
The solemn parade at the Death of the Tot at HMS Tamar

Little h

jbryce1437
06-04-2009, 21:19
Looks like the Death March. tut tut, no black arm bands.
I am still in mourning:(

harry.gibbon
06-04-2009, 21:35
You know the rules beer bosun..... dis-obey the promulgated daily orders and... suffer the consequences.

No black arm bands indicated either compulsory or optional ... rig of the day for the parade did require black shoes.

... and the Padre was as always our guiding light but not even he with a direct line to a higher power saw the need; neither could his line of communication save our tots.

Sad day indeed.

Little h

jbryce1437
06-04-2009, 21:51
For some time now, I have believed that 31st July should be a Public Holiday.
There again, some people believe that every day is a Public Holiday.;)

ivorthediver
11-04-2009, 05:33
For some time now, I have believed that 31st July should be a Public Holiday.
There again, some people believe that every day is a Public Holiday.;)

Thats a Fact... Beer Bosun but most of them never do a hard days work anyway !

harry.gibbon
11-04-2009, 20:15
Hmmm bit steep that last one:-

Being past retirement age, and still in business... and delivered a car today so the guy can go back to East Anglia when HE comes back of hols monday.

We delivered one 235 miles for a birthday yesterday, day ended 2230!

Just exactly who are 'THEY' guys?:rolleyes:

Little h

'THEY' relating to the quote "most of them never do a hard days work anyway"

SCRG1970
11-04-2009, 20:50
Little h

As I sit here nursing my tot of 1:1 I realise that I am could be one of those "THEY" guys ! But the golden liquid does mean I dont really care !

And that was the beauty of the tot , it meant for at least an hour or so we could forget the rubbish bits of life

Regards

Gerry

harry.gibbon
11-04-2009, 21:36
Gerry,

ENJOY!!! because I am embibing on a few cans myself... no driving tomorrow and hopefully the day after, so I all of a sudden am one of THEM.;)

Little h

Jan Steer
13-04-2009, 15:06
Don't go telling folks that you are one of "them" Little H. Some people might just get the wrong idea about you!

Best wishes
Jan

harry.gibbon
13-04-2009, 16:42
Nay nay and thrice times nay Jan...thats why I edited my post of 11-04-2009 at 2115hrs to clarify who THEY were...phew that was a close run thing - thanks:eek: Little h

ivorthediver
13-04-2009, 18:39
Nay nay and thrice times nay Jan...thats why I edited my post of 11-04-2009 at 2115hrs to clarify who THEY were...phew that was a close run thing - thanks:eek: Little h


Well I think that clearly establishes the fact that you are not "one of those"
I'm glad to say...........

mike mayer
15-04-2009, 01:03
STEADY ! Things could escalate;

willhastie
06-08-2012, 01:22
men who refused their tot,oh yes army bods on hms wiston jan 1968 (i have kept a diary since 62 ) we took a squad of of pongoes from san sabastion lines to sea for a couple of weeks (hormuz patrol) and the weather was shit force 9 so often,well these guys couldent function in that weather and just curled up,but they were entitled to a tot so we lads that were ok (a small number ) asked the army if they wanted their tot while we ate a sandwich in front of them,they asked us to go away so we drank ourselves stupid.this went on for 3 days until jan couldnot keep his watch and the game was up.from then on until our return to jufair the issue was on the sweep deck and the armies issue went over the side .a couple did try to get it down but most either didnot like the taste of 1 to 1 or were to bloody sick to turn up.

Polycell
10-08-2012, 14:13
After the Aden withdrawal in October 1967 we (HMS Intrepid) took off a Scots regiment and 48 Squandron RAF. The RAF 'chaps' as were the Pongoes, issued a tot daily.
The Raf 'chaps' collected their tot the first day at sea and by all accounts most of them must have enjoyed but come the second day no crabs.
I was killick of the greenies mess and as part of my duty I was responsible for collecting the rum. So there I was stood in the queue awaiting the ritual which was the tankey the killick SA OOD and the gathered ensemble of messmen and killicks of the messes awaiting the uncorking of the rum and the mixing in of the water etc (messmen got theirs neat!) The OOD mustered the relevant messes when he came upon a missing mess representative, the crabs. Tankey, the OOD shouted, go along to whatever mess and ask the RAF chaps to come and get their rum. The Tankey did as told and returned some minutes later whilst the rest of us muttered and chunted about having to wait for a shower of bloody RAF types. The Tankey returned and reported to the OOD.
I told the RAF chaps to come and get their rum sir but they said they would decline today, thankyou, as they still had some left over from yesterday.
I always thought it was physically impossible for a Seaman officer to have a baby but this bloke did.
From that day on the RAF chaps had the shinest helicopters in 47 Navies as every off watch sailor was polishing the crabs helicopters at every opportunity!!
Fred

Dave Hutson
10-08-2012, 18:15
Little h

And that was the beauty of the tot , it meant for at least an hour or so we could forget the rubbish bits of life

Regards

Gerry

And still does Gerry, I am very glad to say. :);)

Dave H

Teuchter
11-08-2012, 07:02
Amen to that Dave!!:o:)

harris
24-08-2012, 20:55
Just came across this "Ode to the Tot."

You soothed my nerves and warmed my limbs
And cheered my dismal heart,
Procured my wants, obliged my whims
And now it's time to part,
Mid endless perils of the deep
And miseries untold,
You summoned sweet forgetful sleep
Cockooned me from the cold.

Ten years ago the pound of leaf
That cast its fragrent spell,
About the ship, expired in grief
And sadness of farewell,
Though guests may find the pantry bare
Whene'er they choose to come,
Your hospitality was there, a tot of pussers rum.

Two hundred years or more you filled
The storm tossed sailors need,
Now you've been killed by spite distilled
From jealousy and greed,
And petty clerks and scrawny necks
Who never saw a wave,
Nor felt the spray or heaving decks
Consign you to your grave.

Alas, however I protest
To save myself from hurt,
They tell me that it's for the best
To keep us all alert,
And so the time has come old friend
To take the final sup
Our tears are shed, this is the end
Goodbye and bottoms up.

Fred.

jbryce1437
24-08-2012, 21:02
Pay attention harris, if you read my post #13 you would have discovered it sooner :D:D

Jim

harris
24-08-2012, 21:11
Cheers Jim. After that sharp slap across the wrists I shall have a "Double Woods" and go to bed and try to be more observant in the future.

:mad::mad::mad:

ivorthediver
25-08-2012, 10:53
Well never mind Harris at least we could savour it twice and reflect on the sad passing on the 31st July

Reminds one of ones school report and the entry by the RI teacher "Must try Harder " miserable ol git :mad:

jbryce1437
25-08-2012, 12:47
Thats ok Fred, hope the double Woods did the trick;):D

Jim

johnny07
09-04-2013, 20:00
It has been mentioned how various people would try to fiddle the rum issue, thumbs in the measure, filing a bit off the top of the measure etc.
On the Bulwark the POMEs mess president and his henchmen thought they would accumulate a stash of pussers rum by replacing the real stuff with dark rum from the off licence. I don't know how they thought they would get away with it given the difference in the two products. They were found out of course and thereafter were drinking grog.

This brought me joy as the same people made junior ERAs who had not quite made PO drink grog although they were victulled in the POMEs mess

Crash
09-04-2013, 21:41
Reminds me of the time on the Hampshire 67-69, as the ships Land Rover driver after a incident my Tot was stopped until completion of the day time driving, a neat Tot was waiting for me to collect from the OOD ?, think I have some pics of Tot time one Xmas. Happy Times

Mitch Hinde
09-04-2013, 23:07
In the 50's I was a mess caterer of the stokers mess, in HMS Drake, one of my duties was issuing the tot in the drill shed. There were so many in barracks we served the grog from the largest fannies. When a sailor came up for his tot the routine was dip a 1/2 pint glass into the fanny then transfer the rum from the glass into the tot measure held in the left hand, surplus rum would overflow the measure back into the fanny. When a chum came for his tot the usual routine would be followed except when the measure was full the surplus was left in the glass the measured tot quickly poured on top and consumed fast. The vast number of matelots drawing rum meant the supervision was very lax. After I was promoted, my duty supervising the rum issue was to taste the water for mixing, to ensure it was fresh water and then order " MIX".

Hi All

One should never, never, ever dip a glass into the rum fanny it might break with disasterous consequences. Fill the measure to overflowing, tip into glass unitl that overflows, pour back into empty measure to the top, refill glass, happiness all around.

Mitch Hinde

CYLLA
10-04-2013, 09:40
On the last day of the "tot" i believe this must have what happened on every sea going ship , that the last issue was made on the upper scupper [H.M.S SCYLLA]

And many a sad face would have been seen in every mess deck.{gunner,s mess H.M.S SCYLLA}

A moment in naval history ,of which i took part in.


cylla

ivorthediver
10-04-2013, 10:14
On the last day of the "tot" i believe this must have what happened on every sea going ship , that the last issue was made on the upper scupper [H.M.S SCYLLA]

And many a sad face would have been seen in every mess deck.{gunner,s mess H.M.S SCYLLA}

A moment in naval history ,of which i took part in.


cylla

Some sad lads there Cylla

Why have some of the Hands got what looks like Black Insulation tape around their left arm's ......or is that a sign of the passing of the custom please :confused:

johnny07
10-04-2013, 12:15
On the last day of the "tot" i believe this must have what happened on every sea going ship , that the last issue was made on the upper scupper [H.M.S SCYLLA]

And many a sad face would have been seen in every mess deck.{gunner,s mess H.M.S SCYLLA}

A moment in naval history ,of which i took part in.


cylla

The rum in the 2nd photo looks a bit dark for grog.
Did they get neaters or 1 in 1 for the occasion.

CYLLA
10-04-2013, 12:29
Hi johnny07

NO it was just the stranded measure , But there was no "queens " that day :(

cylla

D01Caprice
10-04-2013, 13:14
The only credible reason that I can think of for being 'T' was for ' working his ticket' on the grounds of insanity. :)

eskimosailor
10-04-2013, 16:09
The rum in the 2nd photo looks a bit dark for grog.
Did they get neaters or 1 in 1 for the occasion.

The Chief's mess at Chatham had managed to acquire a full "Splicers" for that day. The party that night was extraordinary. I only wish I could remember more of it.:eek::eek:
Steve

oldsalt
10-04-2013, 17:01
Mitch, going back a few threads, the fanny I was referring to was those big jobs we used onboard for washing up, not the round ones. So, plenty room no chance of breakage. I first drew my tot on the 30th Nov. 52 & continued to do so until promotion 11th Nov. 63. I did have a couple of tots later, Officers were issued a tot at "Splice the Mainbrace".

Scatari
10-04-2013, 17:12
Why have some of the Hands got what looks like Black Insulation tape around their left arm's

Ivor:

I'm guessing that these are informal "mourning bands' in simulation of the real ones which are worn on the uniform at naval (and other) funerals.

jbryce1437
16-06-2013, 21:08
Another rendition:

There once was a time in H.M.Ships,
When the magic hour had come.
The leading hands of every mess
Prepared to collect the rum.

The smell of Jamaican filled the air
As the ritual began
A daily tot of Nelson's Blood
Was a favourite to every man.

When the Rum Bosun stood, his measure poised
To serve every man his tot.
Two fingers always in the 'cup '
Making sure that the 'Queen 'got her lot.'

The 'ticker off' was there, of course
His pencil at the ready,
With a sipper given from each man's tot
His hand was no longer steady.

The rum rat sat, his eyes aglow
His whiskers twitching well
He liked his rum so much it seems
He could get pissed on the smell.

Sometimes the tots were passed around
As each man paid his debts
Favour, rubber, game of crib
Could cost a couple of wets.

Then came the time to sup the ' Queens '
"God Bless Her "was the toast
A watchful eye, as each man supped.
So the Rum Bosun got the most.

Once the rum had been consumed
And nothing left to pour;
The dits began, as the 'Grog' took charge,
Of favourite runs ashore.

A feed, a fight, a couple of pints
Was part of a run ashore.
A game of darts was in there too
Then all night with a Pompey Lill.

No longer though, does the scent of rum
Pervade her Majesty's boats.
No more to sup Lord Nelson's Blood
And give the Queen her toasts.

So to all who drank Lord Nelson's Blood
And heard the Klaxon's blast
May old shipmates meet and share a wet
Spinning dits of the good times passed.

A toast then to Horatio
And another to the Queen.
And may we all, wherever we are
Remember where we've been!

Anon.

ivorthediver
17-06-2013, 06:22
Thanks Jim ....pass me a tissue please ...what with no Grog and no sun I think I'll stay in bed

the83man
19-06-2013, 12:13
I'm delighted to report that we still got our (occasional) rum ration on HMAV ships until well into the seventies, usually administered with a lot less ceremony than that described above. Also, as I have mentioned elsewhere I know that a certain amount of bartering went on with local Hebridean fishermen where unclaimed 'neaters' was used to secure fresh lobster and the like (that's if the ship's diver had failed to perform....). I do not know whether the Captain sanctioned such activity but I'm sure he enjoyed lunch and dinner in the top flat.

SCRG1970
28-09-2013, 15:56
I think everyone has a "dit" to tell about the tot. But what about those few crazy months after it stopped and as Senior Rates we were issued the "spirit of our choice".

I ended up as Beer Bosun with the books being checked by a very "green" midshipman. I managed to convince him there were only 12 measures from a standard 70 cl bottle. So each Senior Rate needed a bottle every four days, remember 3 measures of spirits = 1 Tot.

The mess was awash with bottles from Bacardi to Whisky. Luckily I went on draft before my "mistake" was discovered.

Happy days!!

Regards

Gerry

tim lewin
29-09-2013, 07:58
there is an excellent history of rum in the Navy written by the late Captain James Pack called "Nelson's Blood" which i strongly recommend to anyone interested in the story behind the custom.
tim

CYLLA
30-09-2013, 16:34
A " rum bosun" would be a rating in the mess ,detailed off my the " leading hand of the mess .

A three badge A/B became a popular person to collect it,and measure it out of the " rum fanny " down the mess ......i had the experience to do it on Mohawk .

cylla

Scurs
01-10-2013, 06:27
Don't forget though little h, that tradition demands that you offer sippers to Rum Bosun and "Ticker Off". :)

Unless in Shore Establishments of course, where tot was drunk (by junior rates) under eagle eyes of authorities. :(

CYLLA
01-10-2013, 09:50
Scurs ....Unless in Shore Establishments of course, where tot was drunk (by junior rates) under eagle eyes of authorities .....yep ,you had to gulp it down ,no enjoyment there...:eek:


cylla

eskimosailor
01-10-2013, 14:41
Scurs ....Unless in Shore Establishments of course, where tot was drunk (by junior rates) under eagle eyes of authorities .....yep ,you had to gulp it down ,no enjoyment there...:eek:


cylla
Not always. At Daedalus we were allowed to drink our tot in the messdecks, where about 30 of us were billeted at any one time.
Also at Brawdy there was a communal area where we drew our tot and could freely mix. While supposedly under the eagle eye of the OOD, he could not see much with the number of bodies about.
In both cases there was plenty of dealing in the proverbial fluid, sometimes to excess unfortunately.
However I have heard of messes where you had to draw your tot and drink it within a few paces, though fortunately I never actually came across such a barbaric system :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
Steve

johnny07
01-10-2013, 18:00
What I liked about neaters is that you could bottle it and it would keep indefinitely. I think it would have been very difficult to bottle grog and even if you could it probably wouldn't keep very well.

the grocer
01-10-2013, 18:01
Tot-time became a more enjoyable experience when I joined boats. We did't
get grog we had one-and-one. This was on a sea-going boat only; when in barracks it was back to two-and-one.

John

oldsalt
01-10-2013, 18:11
I drew my first tot in Nov 52, I had already been a LSM for 9months. After all the passing years mention of the tot still evokes fond memories.

Scurs
01-10-2013, 20:11
Steve - might have been peculiar to RNAS..........Cylla is right as regards VICTORY (RNB) and PEMBROKE for sure. Can't remember EXCELLENT for rum as I was RA............those being the total sum of my Shore Establishment drafts.

Vegaskip
01-10-2013, 20:21
At Lossie we used to get miss musters at the dining hall, at 1800, 1n1 , have our meal, then jump back into the Nubian 6x6 crash tender and drive it back to the Firestation.
Jim

tim lewin
18-11-2013, 13:37
while following a different trail on how to reprocess the dunder (leftovers) from rum-making for my own education, i came across this site which i though you die-hards might also enjoy...

http://www.distillnation.com/process-of-rum.php

eskimosailor
18-11-2013, 14:38
Steve - might have been peculiar to RNAS..........Cylla is right as regards VICTORY (RNB) and PEMBROKE for sure. Can't remember EXCELLENT for rum as I was RA............those being the total sum of my Shore Establishment drafts.

I only once did CPO of the watch at Portland, but from what I saw at issue time in the victualling store it was taken back to the messdecks.
Nice OOD, he did not want to check it, so asked me to do so :D :D
Steve

johnny07
18-11-2013, 15:54
when I was chief of the rum issue and there was any left over I would dispose of it.

In a seaman like manner.

oldsalt
20-11-2013, 14:57
while following a different trail on how to reprocess the dunder (leftovers) from rum-making for my own education, i came across this site which i though you die-hards might also enjoy...

http://www.distillnation.com/process-of-rum.php

Very interesting. The best tip we had in the Caribbean was to mix rum with dry ginger, the hangovers were more bearable.

Pelican
18-01-2014, 22:31
GROG

Just for information this has been posted on another site:

"No, — Grog Dates to 1740, Not 3,000 Years to Ancient Norway!
Recently there have been multiple articles in the press and across the Internet citing a recent study published in the Danish Journal of Archaeology (Dec. 23, 2013) which claims that grog was consumed in Norway as far back as 1,500 BC. (The article is available on-line, though not for free. I chose not to spend the $172 to purchase the issue of the journal, so I am relying in the various reports of their findings.) Physics.org is fairly typical: “The new biomolecular archaeological evidence provides concrete evidence for an early, widespread, and long-lived Nordic grog tradition, one with distinctive flavors and probable medicinal purposes…” Science 2.0 is similar with the addition of a pinch of snark: “Like most things, somewhere along the way the British navy has tried to take credit for it, so you often see it called a rum drink. Instead of being rum-based, ancient grog was a hybrid beverage made from whatever local ingredients they could turn into alcohol, including honey, bog cranberry, lingonberry, bog myrtle, yarrow, juniper, birch tree resin, wheat, barley rye — and sometimes even from grape wine imported from southern or central Europe.”
My only response to this is to say — no, no no. I have no doubt, whatsoever, that ancient peoples found ways to get plastered with various concoctions which may have included fruit. Nevertheless, grog has a specific history and origin which dates back only to the 1740s.
Since early days, navies issued rations of alcohol to their crews. In the Royal Navy, until the capture of Jamaica in 1687, that ration was usually beer. Beer tended to spoil on long voyages, however, and the Royal Navy shifted to rum. The only problem with rum was that sailors could horde their daily supply and then get paralytic drunk and be useless for sailing the ship. Admiral Vernon found a way to address the problem, to dilute the rum with water, which became very bitter in a day or two. From World Wide Words:
In 1740, Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon was commanding officer of the British naval forces in the West Indies during the conflict with Spain that was weirdly named the War of Jenkins’ Ear, after a captain who in 1731 had had an ear cut off in a skirmish with the Spanish. Vernon was so concerned about the bad effects of the rum ration on his sailors that in August that year he issued an order that in future the rum ration was to be served diluted:
To Captains of the Squadron! Whereas the Pernicious Custom of the Seamen drinking their Allowance of Rum in Drams, and often at once, is attended by many fatal Effects to their Morals as well as their Health, the daily allowance of half a pint a man is to be mixed with a quart of water, to be mixed in one Scuttled Butt kept for that purpose, and to be done upon Deck, and in the presence of the Lieutenant of the Watch, who is to see that the men are not defrauded of their allowance of Rum.
It so happened that Admiral Vernon was known for wearing a heavy grogam coat in foul weather, and was nicknamed “Old Grog.” (Grogram was a mixture of silk with mohair or wool, often stiffened with gum.) As Old Grog instigated the diluting of the rum, the drink itself became known as grog. By around 1800, lemon or lime juice would be added to the grog to prevent scurry and also to improve the flavor. Modern versions of grog usually are a mixture of rum, water, lemon or lime juice and sugar as well a other garnishes such as nutmeg, which a Royal Navy sailor would never have encountered.
To be fair the meaning of the term “grog” varies around the the world. From the Wikipedia entry for “Grog“:
By contrast, in Australia and New Zealand the word has come to mean any alcoholic drink.
In Sweden and some subcultures within the English-speaking world, grog is a common description of drinks not made to a recipe (in Sweden the mixture is usually between 25%-50% spirit and 75%-50% softdrink), but by mixing various kinds of alcohol and soda, fruit juice or similar ingredients (in the USA this would be a highball with no defined proportions). The difference between the Swedish definition of grog and long drinks, mixed drinks or punches is the number of ingredients. The number of ingredients in drinks may vary, but grog typically has just one kind of liquor (most commonly vodka or brännvin, cognac or eau de vie) and one kind of a non-alcoholic beverage. Grosshandlargrogg (Wholesaler grogg) refers to a mix of Eau de vie and Trocadero (a caffeinated apple- and orange flavored soft drink).
In Fiji, the term “grog” refers to a drink made by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder and mixing it with cold water. Traditionally, grog is drunk from the shorn half-shell of a coconut, called a “bilo.”
So far, I have seen no evidence that the English term grog in all its various incarnations predates the diluted rum drink of 1740. It is possible that the Scandinavian version of the word developed independently. Scandinavian glögg, a mulled wine drink, pronounced glooog, sounds quite close to grog, depending on how much one has had to drink of either.
As an aside, George Washington’s home in Virginia, Mount Vernon was named in honor of Admiral Edward Vernon, “Old Grog” himself, though presumably the name was chosen in honor of his naval victories rather than for his diluting the rum ration."
That lot is enough to drive you to drink! :)

fleetchief
18-01-2014, 23:48
The Chief's mess at Chatham had managed to acquire a full "Splicers" for that day. The party that night was extraordinary. I only wish I could remember more of it.:eek::eek:
Steve

And the last tot was left inside the optic attached to a clay barrel, which sat on display in the mess until Chatham closed. I wonder who got to drink that 'last' tot?

Ed

fleetchief
19-01-2014, 00:04
I'm delighted to report that we still got our (occasional) rum ration on HMAV ships until well into the seventies, usually administered with a lot less ceremony than that described above. Also, as I have mentioned elsewhere I know that a certain amount of bartering went on with local Hebridean fishermen where unclaimed 'neaters' was used to secure fresh lobster and the like (that's if the ship's diver had failed to perform....). I do not know whether the Captain sanctioned such activity but I'm sure he enjoyed lunch and dinner in the top flat.

The USN ceased rum issue in 1862; the RCN in 1972; the RNZN in 1990, and for some reason the RAN NEVER had a rum issue.

While visiting Gibraltar, as part of the CinC Fleet Engineering Staff, in the mid 70's I managed to purchase a clay flagon, in a wicker basket, from a local merchant, who, the story went, purchased all the stocks left in the Victualling Yards when the issue was stopped. I remember that Customs charged me £5 duty on a gallon of Pussers' rum. Lasted for ages, but now just a memory except for the flagon, which I still have.

I remember a story, that when they emptied the mixing vats in the Victualling Yards, that they found dozens of bottles in the bottom, each with a length of string attached. The dockies used to toss a bottle in, or lower it from a catwalk, and if anyone came while doing it, they let go the string, hence all the bottles.

Cheers,

Ed

Pelican
19-01-2014, 18:49
S.R.D.

What did the letters actually stand for? Many variables quoted!
I have not checked all the pages of the thread so apols if the answer is already here?

eskimosailor
19-01-2014, 20:36
And the last tot was left inside the optic attached to a clay barrel, which sat on display in the mess until Chatham closed. I wonder who got to drink that 'last' tot?

Ed

Hopefully someone has still got it. I don't remember that, but I was pretty far gone by the end of the evening.:D :D
Steve

fleetchief
20-01-2014, 00:45
S.R.D.

What did the letters actually stand for? Many variables quoted!
I have not checked all the pages of the thread so apols if the answer is already here?

One answer is:

Self Reliant Diver

Ed

jbryce1437
20-01-2014, 09:33
S.R.D.

What did the letters actually stand for? Many variables quoted!
I have not checked all the pages of the thread so apols if the answer is already here?

What is it S.R.D's link with grog issue?

Jim

Pelican
20-01-2014, 09:42
What is it S.R.D's link with grog issue?

Jim

Jim at times we used to refer to rum as SRD hence the question as to what the letters actually stand for? The jars were wicker covered so you did not see the letters. They quite often had a red band painted on as in photos in this link:

http://www.thepirateslair.com/8-demijohn-srd-rum.html

Dave Hutson
20-01-2014, 13:36
I recall that in 1958 in Malta two bars we frequented regularly stocked SRD Rum.
It was dispensed by optic from bottles labelled SRD and was of Canadian origin. It was the only time I ever encountered SRD.

Dave H

BelliniTosi
20-01-2014, 13:52
When they stopped the tot in July 1970, some time later that year a DCI (Defence Council Instruction) was issued saying that the pusser was selling off all the gear and equipment related to the tot and jolly jack could have the first refusal.
The DCI was (DCI RN 1050/70)
My request form was promptly submitted and I was allocated a 20 gallon Tub, Grog (with cover) at the princely sum of £8.75 and this included carriage from Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport to my home in Cheshire by British Rail.
I still have the said rum tub, it sits in the corner of the front room but sadly the gorgeous smell of rum from the inside has slowly dissipated over the last 40 years.
I have kept all the associated paperwork that came with it as proof that it is an original one, not a "made from spares" one that seem to be around.
John

johnny07
20-01-2014, 14:14
John, Thats' a wonderful piece of memorabilia.

tim lewin
20-01-2014, 14:20
I inherited 2 whicker-covered gallon jars when my father died in 1999 and a full set of measures. As the measures need regular polishing i passed them on to my sister. I have drunk one of the jars, and a goodly portion of the other, both were pretty cloudy. Having been advised never to drink anything i couldnt see through i filtered the rum through my mother's Brita water filter jug (she didnt use it by then) which did an excellent job of clarification. I thought i would pass on this increasingly useless tip.
tim

jbryce1437
20-01-2014, 18:00
Jim at times we used to refer to rum as SRD hence the question as to what the letters actually stand for? The jars were wicker covered so you did not see the letters. They quite often had a red band painted on as in photos in this link:

http://www.thepirateslair.com/8-demijohn-srd-rum.html
Many thanks Pelican. I was confused by the reply of Self Reliant Diver by fleetchief, but from your link it appears it stood for Supply Reserve Depot.

Jim

Scatari
20-01-2014, 19:15
I recall that in 1958 in Malta two bars we frequented regularly stocked SRD Rum.
It was dispensed by optic from bottles labelled SRD and was of Canadian origin. It was the only time I ever encountered SRD.

Dave H

Interesting Dave - had no idea that there was such a thing as Canadian rum! The closest I thought we came was "Newfie Screech" ... which, in addition to human consumption, is useful for removing rust from one's car, unclogging one's drains and cleaning one's silverware!

Pelican
20-01-2014, 19:55
SRD
Jim and Tim this is exactly why I raised the question what does SRD actualluy mean? Agreed Supply Reserve Depot appears the most correct but there are quite a few other meanings quoted elsewhere. I know we have a very thorough 'researchist' within our ranks but cannot recall his moniker. Anyway do not wish to make a meal out of it but it would be nice to have an authorative definition from Their Lordship's records. As for Screech. How far do we go down that gangway - Glop? Malta had many specialities including Glop Cans which went with it. Bet that has some thinking but I digress and we must not overwork our Valiant Monitors.

fleetchief
20-01-2014, 20:41
My apologies for my misleading answer on S.R.D. I just did a Google search and the Diver answer came up.

Occasionally the Government Liquor stores, here in B.C. Canada, stock 'Pusser's Rum', but for some Government reason it is a 'watered-down' version, rather than the Full Strength version available in some other countries.

Produced in the West Indies to the original Admiralty specification.

http://www.pussers.com/t-rum.aspx

See Link.

Ed

johnny07
20-01-2014, 20:52
Ed, Pussers rum bears no resemblance by any stretch of the imagination to the real stuff.
I think most members who have tried it will tell you that its' quite foul.

The clue is in the price £28 per bottle as opposed to £600 for the real thing.

Pelican
20-01-2014, 21:47
Ed no probs in this abode. Every link has a silver lining. Many an argument has arisen regarding proof and % Alc/Vol. A sub link ~
http://www.pussersrum.com/pussers-rum-portfolio//
tells the story in Pussers case. Some consider that Woods is better.
Personally I am no longer a fan, hence the attached.
Johnny as for the £600 offer, very clever marketing and recent research has cast doubt on its true origin but I'm don't wish to get involoved in that.

fleetchief
21-01-2014, 03:34
Ed, Pussers rum bears no resemblance by any stretch of the imagination to the real stuff.
I think most members who have tried it will tell you that its' quite foul.

The clue is in the price £28 per bottle as opposed to £600 for the real thing.

Memory fades but I got the same feeling when Pussers' Rum hit my stomach, as I did in the days of the 'real' thing.

I am amazed that one can still buy the 'real' thing, but £600!!!!

I remember, with the ship returning from 6 months in the U.K., that the NAAFI took orders for the Duty Free Booze, BUT the Canteen Manager stipulated that everyone had to have the same booze. Don't know if that was a NAAFI thing, or just him. Everyone was going to have a bottle of Bacardi, until someone found, I think in the Guinness Book of Records of the time, that the strongest drink commercially available was 'Don-Q' Rum @ 151 Proof. So that's what we all got. Since then, of course, other 151 Proof rums have hit the market.

Cheers,

Ed

ASSAIL
21-01-2014, 04:17
I was on exchange from 1976 -1979 and was told that Pussers rum came in the same flagons as battery acid for the submarines. Any truth in that?
Chris

eskimosailor
21-01-2014, 05:20
I inherited 2 whicker-covered gallon jars when my father died in 1999 and a full set of measures. As the measures need regular polishing i passed them on to my sister. I have drunk one of the jars, and a goodly portion of the other, both were pretty cloudy. Having been advised never to drink anything i couldnt see through i filtered the rum through my mother's Brita water filter jug (she didnt use it by then) which did an excellent job of clarification. I thought i would pass on this increasingly useless tip.
tim

I hope you passed on to your sister the information that the measures should only ever be polished on the outside. This was one of the first things I learnt after my basic training. :) :)
Regarding the cloudiness, if I remember aright the tot was always cloudy. It was rumoured that it had chopped hair in it in order to identify it. Some sources suggested it was camel hair. :eek::D:eek::D
Steve

johnny07
21-01-2014, 10:56
I was on exchange from 1976 -1979 and was told that Pussers rum came in the same flagons as battery acid for the submarines. Any truth in that?
Chris

Yes some boats used Pussers rum as battery acid.

eskimosailor
21-01-2014, 13:44
Yes some boats used Pussers rum as battery acid.

Oops, that's what I put down the urinals in the training blocks at Daedalus when I was Captain of the Heads there (Battery acid I mean) Did I use the wrong stuff? :D :D :D
Steve

johnny07
21-01-2014, 15:11
I saw this trio in the window of the village rum shop.

CYLLA
21-01-2014, 15:29
Hi Johnny07 ,

I clicked onto your photo , but it came up in a "blur" it must be really strong stuff .

cylla

tim lewin
22-01-2014, 10:17
i am in fairly regular contact with a rum producer in Jamaica, as well as the Jamaican rum producers association, to make an over-proof rum to the Admiralty recipe would not be difficult, the real question is, is there actually a market out there to justify this?
tim

Pelican
22-01-2014, 21:16
SRD & PROOF/VOL

Please see attached for another example of the definition of SRD.

This link may be of interest regarding proof, alc and vol ~
http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/StateAndLocalLaws/20070531155139.html#.UuAyibSnz3h

Old Salt
23-01-2014, 19:48
Very little has been said about the purchasing power of the 'tot'. At home the dockyard maties would do 'extra' jobs for a tot ...... the greatest being HMNZS Lachlan getting their open bridge covered ! With ex Navy guys running businesses we always got a very good deal .... even if we had to listen about 'Achilles' and River Plate over again.

With other navies we could really get things done for a 'tot' or two. Spare parts in RN stores cost + 40% for Kiwi ships. This meant ordering them from NZ and awaiting delivery by civil airline . An RN sailor could get stores for his ship and then swap them 'tot' .. many a dark deal done. Once other Navies stopped the tot it was possible to get anything done ! In Pearl Harbour with 'dry' USN ships we were very popular .... the problem was how we could get an aircraft carrier or submarine back to NZ.;)

Happy days !
Brian

AD28
31-07-2015, 08:24
Alright all you Matelots,

I was wondering if someone could tell me the last RN ship to issue the Tot on 31st of July, 1970?

I assume it would have been a ship in the Pacific, but couldn't find any info using the regular internet searches.

Many Thanks

Pluto
31-07-2015, 11:40
Did we have a, or any ships in the Pacific area at that time?
The last rum card to be stamped or punched, in Drake barracks was for a member of the ships company HMS Tenby who were billited there during refit.

Dave palmer
31-07-2015, 18:15
I supect the last RN ship in the Pacific at that time would have been Whitby, we came back from Singers "independant command" so no RFA's had to purchase local rum saved enough Pussers for arrival in UK 30th July.
I was a passenger for the trip being a submariner.

oldsalt
02-08-2015, 14:41
Slightly off thread, I was in Troubridge , 1958, when we spent almost a year in WIs. I remember in Trinidad if you took 12 empty rum bottles back to the shop they gave you a full bottle in return. The locals advised us to drink dry ginger with our rum instead of Cocacola, less severe hangovers, they said. When ashore buying a round of drinks usually meant a bottle, the mixers were more expensive than the rum . One of my favourites was Appletons White Rum. They were great runs ashore.

Pluto
02-08-2015, 20:31
I fell for the brand `Mount Gay` when in the W Is, its been a favourite of mine since.

jbryce1437
10-08-2015, 21:50
This would have been awesome at tot time, just fancy, helium infused rum (https://www.facebook.com/viralvidss/videos/vb.220620988145610/377511862456521/?type=2&theater)

Jim