Butchers in the RN


Lantern Swinger
Was watching Gordon Ramsey earn another wheelbarrow full of money the other night on Hells Kitchen...yea, yea, I know, but Mrs P likes to watch it...honest!

Anyway, one of the challenges was for the chefs to cut up half a cow into various types of steaks and meat cuts. I got to thinking, I know it dangerous but I couldn't help myself, do chefs get trained in butchery? I suppose they must do. As my mind wandered into the misty past (I really don't like HK) I seemed to recall that when I was on Antrim (72 - 73) that an AB sailor was the butcher, it was like a special duty or brown card job or something along that line, and he went to Pembroke for specialized training.

Does anyone recall if what I describe is correct or was I having a mini stroke courtesy of Gordon fcuking Ramsey? Was anyone here a RN butcher? I imagine the meat is all pre-cut and pre-packed these days.
You are right Pedlar , usually an AB and a big bloke to cope with humping carcass up from the cold rooms generally sited on the lower decks. One on Fife doubled up as baker aswell having helped out in his dads bakery as a youngster.
Most of the pussers butchers in the 60's were bootnicks, they went to pembrook for the course, as a pussers chef I never did the course, just learnt how to make things like burgers and cutting chickens up. But booties had to do the lot, from slaughtering all the way through. Seamen butchers learnt the basics, especially cutting up and slicing sides of bacon.
We did get taught butchery, in so far as we got taught the theory. I did my killicks course in 1990-ish in aldershot. There was a buthery classroom, but none of us, or the othetr matelots courses went anywhere near it!

My first Draft. Daedalus, in 81, we were butchering sides of bacon in the kitchen, but as for the rest of it, we had civvie butchers.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
'Butcher' was once an RM SQ. In big ships the butcher also doled out the grog ration for junior rates, under supervision from Jack Dusty, RPO, OOW, Uncle Tom Cobbley etc.
'Butcher' was once an RM SQ. In big ships the butcher also doled out the grog ration for junior rates, under supervision from Jack Dusty, RPO, OOW, Uncle Tom Cobbley etc.
Grog on FORTH was done in the canteen flat, at end of issue any dregs in tub were poured into bucket and ditched in the first sink in stokers bathroom, cleanest sink on board with no trap, hidden behind melamine board and when the coast was clear.....


Lantern Swinger
In the RNR in London in the early 80s, there was a Killick chef who had been a butcher in the RM. Some halfwit obviously thought that he was qualified as a chef...... but surprise, surprise, he was a complete cnut... served us corned beef salad at sea on the Easter weekend the Argies invaded South Georgia.


Book Reviewer
Way back in '53 I was the butchers assistant on HMS Bermuda in the Med. He was a RM. His task was to prepare all the slabs of meat for the chefs. He was a strong guy. I was often detailed by him to go down to the fridges to carry up sides of meat. I'm not a 'big' guy so it was just getting the knack of handling the bloody freezing stuff. We also did the daily Rum issue from the spirits store. Neaters to the Senior rates, the rest pumped into a large barricoe (breaker), for the grog. He had a neat trick using the large syphon to pump the rum from the cask. When enough was pumped he would remove the syphon and put it to one side. Some OODs would quickly give us, the OOD, Duty PO, the SA, the Butcher and me, a tot when we finished.
The butcher and I would take all the equipment back to the Beef screen, then press the valve in the bottom of the syphon thus allowing the rum still inside the pipe to pour out into our waiting receptacle. Great memories.
If memory serves correctly (although after the day I'm having its a debatable point) used to have a seaman butcher on the Dev. Couple of times just leaving Pompey we'd get just clear of the round tower and the low pressure alarm went off in the salt water main ... after this happened a couple of times it was discovered that it was the butcher sluicing the beef screen down! Oppps!
I have the feeling in me piss that butchers courses were held at Aldershot Barracks in the 60s. On the rum front, HMS Diana, rum issue in the canteen flat then what was left poured down the tea making tap drain. This ended in the galley, open pipe (though spotless) to another drain. Tray slid under caught all that lovely nectar and we had a further taster. Stoker Stan, spud-bosun was in charge of this little operation and only chefs and spud bosuns could partake. :cool:
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