Sailors celebrate the birth of Prince George

CEREMONY Commodore Jeremy Rigby reads out the Queen's message to the Naval Personnel of Portsmouth Naval Base before the Splice the Mainbrace at HMS Nelson
CEREMONY Commodore Jeremy Rigby reads out the Queen's message to the Naval Personnel of Portsmouth Naval Base before the Splice the Mainbrace at HMS Nelson
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HUNDREDS of sailors toasted the birth of Prince George at Portsmouth Naval Base in a tradition dating back hundreds of years.

Around 600 Royal Navy personnel spliced the mainbrace – a celebration involving drinking a tot of rum.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: ‘I recently had the pleasure of sending loyal greetings and warmest good wishes, on behalf of the Royal Navy, to Her Majesty The Queen on the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge.

‘Her Majesty sends all officers, ratings and other ranks of the naval service her good wishes and has graciously given her approval to splice the mainbrace.

‘I am delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has recognised the Royal Navy in this way.’

Among the sailors joining the Portsmouth celebration was 20-year-old Able Seaman Jamie Hey who is about the join HMS Dragon in the Mediterranean as a warfare specialist.

He said: ‘I have been in the navy three years and this is the first time I have spliced the mainbrace. I think it is important to continue these sorts of traditions.’

Splicing the mainbrace originates in the days of sail and refers to fixing the main brace of a sail that had broken. Such a repair was strenuous work and it was customary for sailors carrying out the task to be rewarded with an extra ration of rum. Nowadays it is used to mark special occasions.