SAILORS across the Royal Navy have been rewarded with a tot of rum for their role in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The Queen gave the direction to splice the mainbrace, a tradition going back centuries allowing naval staff to enjoy a drink in recognition of good service. The order dates back to the days of sail when an extra ration of rum was issued for sailors who completed the difficult task of splicing the mainbrace.
It was one of the most difficult emergency repair jobs on board especially during the heat of battle.
Sailors across HMS Excellent and HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, HMS Drake in Plymouth and recruits in HMS Raleigh and Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth were among those taking part.
HMS Westminster also hailed the tradition by taking a tot under the Arabian sun in the Gulf – while also distributing the Fortnum and Mason’s Diamond Jubilee tins, sent to all personnel deployed on operations at the time of the Diamond Jubilee.
And at the same time the commanding officer, Captain Nick Hine, presented those eligible members of the ship’s company with their Diamond Jubilee medals.
At HMS Excellent in Whale Island, Portsmouth, naval officers, ratings and Royal Marines queued up for their tot from a traditional rum barrel, served up by members of the Gunnery Association dressed in traditional 17th century uniforms.
Deputy fleet commander and navy command HQ chief of staff Vice Admiral Phil Jones said: ‘It is a huge honour for us in navy command that Her Majesty has personally directed the naval service to celebrate her diamond jubilee in traditional fashion – the order to splice the mainbrace is a unique and rarely granted link with our history and traditions, and one which we cherish.’