What became of the drunken sailor?

#9
There's quite a lot of ill informed twaddle published about the Tot. Contrary to popular belief (and some of the tripe posted on here from those who were still in nappies at the time) the great majority of matelots drew their tot, drank it, ate their lunch, and got on with their work. It was just part of Daily Routine. Most of the mythology about rum that "youngsters" (anyone born after 1950) believe is just that, - mythology. I drew my Tot for over 15 years, 7 of them on neaters, and Yes!, I spent quite a few happy hours during that period hanging round the rum fanny waiting for "Queen's", but only at the times when it suited my job to do so. I liked my rum, still do, but my papers record only words like "conscientious", "reliable", "hardworking", "excellent", "competent", and "professional", there is no mention of my affinity with rum, nor that my onboard alcohol intake ever interfered with my ability to do my job. There were cases of abuse of the system, but they were few, and in the years I stated above, I cannot recollect a single example of any messmate of mine being disciplined for abuse of the Tot.
Removal of the privilege was quite often used for charges relating to "returning on board drunk", I myself received 14 days stoppage of leave and grog for returning to the ship a little "over happy" in Kingston, Jamaica, after my first introduction to Doris's Bar and "Mount Gay", but I don't think that the pair of maracas stuffed up my white front helped, especially when I fell over the ramp in the mortar well, laughing like a drain, the OOD was not amused.
So can we please have a little less misinformed comment from those who have no way of knowing how life was in "our" Navy. The Tot was part of our daily routine and our history, we drew it, we drank it, we got on with our life, and the great majority of us were sad on the day that it was withdrawn.


The Queen God Bless Her!



2BM
 
#10
My father drank himself to death mostly because he couldn't give up drinking rum at lunchtime. I know it was his choice, but having his tot every day for 24 years he just couldnt break the habit.

I know I can stand by for some abuse, as ultimatly it was his decision, but if he never had the tot, he would still be alive today.

I joined after the tot had been discontinued and they say you cant miss what you never had, but I couldnt give a toss about not having it and dont care that its gone.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#12
No abuse Dapper, and no disrespect to your Father, but many people suffer the fate that he did without ever having heard of the Royal Naval Tot club.
By the same token, then, how many deaths through alcohol abuse were prevented when the tot was discontined? :?

Look, I understand this is a tradition that you hold close to your heart and I have no problem with you maintaining that. I have attended enough social functions to appreciate the celebration of historical events by using the Tot Issue routine (the Regulating Branch Association do it annually). But just because something was a tradition does not necessarily mean it was right. We used to burn witches in Britain but I don't see pyromaniacs crying into their tins of paraffin when they hark back to the way things were in the 15th Century... :shock:
 
#13
Cheers 2BM. I realise that many people die to alcohol abuse, but to watch him drink rum like water every single lunchtime every day of his life was painful to see at best.
 
#15
By the same token, then, how many deaths through alcohol abuse were prevented when the tot was discontined? :?

Look, I understand this is a tradition that you hold close to your heart and I have no problem with you maintaining that. I have attended enough social functions to appreciate the celebration of historical events by using the Tot Issue routine (the Regulating Branch Association do it annually). But just because something was a tradition does not necessarily mean it was right. We used to burn witches in Britain but I don't see pyromaniacs crying into their tins of paraffin when they hark back to the way things were in the 15th Century... :shock:
Very difficult to answer your first SPB. I suppose comparitive figures between the three services would indicate whether ex "G" matelots are more likely to be subject to alcohol abuse than their contemporaries in the Army and RAF. I personally doubt that there would be a significant variance, pro rata, but that is a personal opinion. When I was a young sprog, grim tales were circulated about "the twins on a Loch/Bay class frigate on the South Africa Station who both died of alcohol poisoning whilst celebrating their 21st birthday, through "sippers" from the rest of the ship's company", but it was always second or third hand. I never actually met anyone who had served in the ship which no-one seemed able to name, or who had known the seemingly unfortunate twins, so that's probably apocryphal like many of these messdeck circulated tales.

As for your second point, I think you are rather clutching at straws, unless of course witch burning was still prevalent up to July 1970, in which case I missed it. The pyromaniacs may well have been crying into whatever (had paraffin been discovered in the 15th century?) whilst the smell of singeing witches still assailed their nostrils, but as they passed on, the subject would have no longer been of interest to those who had never sniffed it, much as this subject will fall into obscurity once the generation who lovingly drank their free Tot of rum every day have crossed the bar.

Meanwhile, I shall continue to treasure the memories, and you may continue to disparage those memories as you wish.

Regards.
2BM
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
...As for your second point, I think you are rather clutching at straws, unless of course witch burning was still prevalent up to July 1970, in which case I missed it. The pyromaniacs may well have been crying into whatever (had paraffin been discovered in the 15th century?) whilst the smell of singeing witches still assailed their nostrils, but as they passed on, the subject would have no longer been of interest to those who had never sniffed it...
My attempt to humour the tone was flippant, but you can see my point. My paraffin reference was convenient - I am fairly sure other propellants were available in the Middle Ages... :wink:

...Meanwhile, I shall continue to treasure the memories, and you may continue to disparage those memories as you wish.
But they are your memories, not mine, so whatever I say cannot possibly change your recollection of them. And I think that's the crux of the matter: you see the "new" Navy with old eyes, whereas we collective 'youngsters' will see the "Old' Navy with similar distance. In the 25 years I served, I saw considerable change - some good, some bad - and I am sure the changes you witnessed were just as dramatic.
 
#19
My father drank himself to death mostly because he couldn't give up drinking rum at lunchtime. I know it was his choice, but having his tot every day for 24 years he just couldnt break the habit.

I know I can stand by for some abuse, as ultimatly it was his decision, but if he never had the tot, he would still be alive today.

I joined after the tot had been discontinued and they say you cant miss what you never had, but I couldnt give a toss about not having it and dont care that its gone.
Sorry to hear about that, it is terrible to see a loved one battle with alcohol or substance abuse.
 

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