Page 6 - April Muse 2017
P. 6


           Royal Navy for hundreds of years provided  Seaman their regulation lunchtime
           tot of rum just 47 years ago, the tradition was ended.  On 31 July 1970, known

           in the navy as Black Tot Day, the sun passed over the yardarm for the final
           time and free rum was retired from navy life.

           Beer had been the staple beverage of the Royal Navy until the 17th Century,

           used as a self-preserving replacement for water, which became undrinkable
           when kept in casks for long periods.

           The sheer bulk of beer - the ration for which was a gallon (eight pints or 4.5 li-

           tres) per day per    seaman - and its liability to go sour in warmer climates,
           made it impractical to take on long voyages.

           Wine and spirits started to take its place and when in 1655, with the capture of
           Jamaica from Spain, the navy was introduced to rum.

           Staggeringly, until 1740 the daily ration was half a pint of neat rum, twice a
           day, the rum was 57.15% alcohol.
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