And I still have my 'G' card,which I was required to show at "spirits up",to prove I was a 'G' (for Grog)rating.the other ratings were,'T' for teetotal,and 'UA' for underage.
At sea "Spirits Up",was piped twice,1200hrs,and 1800hrs,all the clever kids went for the latter,then you could slip it in the fridge for later,as a pongo,I learnt very quickly about the use of the tot,as currency.
On shore stations there were two brass strips,you drank what you could whilst walking between the strips,anything that was left over when you got to the second strip was poured into a bin,needless to say that is what caused the problem with afternoon watches,having to drink it down quickly.
Navy was getting too technical and they couldn't have a crew of pissed matelots playing with high-tec equipment. We could cause untold chaos and destruction. Seems odd really because we did when we were sober.
Apparently, the admiralty was concerned that Junior ratings couldn't cope with the increasing complexity of modern technology after downing a hefty portion of strong spirit. I missed the tot, but I understand it was diluted 2:1 with water which far from reducing its potency actually had the obverse effect (something about stochiometric ratios, but there will be a medic along any moment to clarify that no doubt). It was decided that the money saved by put into a welfare fund for sailors (the Tot fund). A beer issue was brought in of three cans per man per day, when I joined my first ship you had to collect them from the NAAFI and they would be opened for you so as to deter hoarding. Of course Senior Ratings and Officers had unfettered access to draught beer and spirits, probably because they had a pool of sober junior ratings to carry them around in the afternoons
In actuality, the conditions which gave need for the issue of spirits had all but disappeared with hammocks and mess victualling by 1970, life onboard HM ships being reasonably pleasant with plenty of clean water and decent food bereft of maggots and weevils. Also manning levels were reducing as technology took over, so there was less scope for 'passengers' and the need for the majority of the ships co to be compos mentis.. the Tot had been hanging on as an anachronism and was probably past its time. Of course there was still drunkenness, and even the odd still in the dark and steamy spaces of the stokers demsene ... but it was much easier to take disciplinary action post tot..
It was certainly ordered during the the Queen's Jubilee Fleet review in 1977. I was on HMS Kent, but sadly - as a cadet - received the orange juice allocated to "UAs"... I think that the 4:1 (or was it 8:1?) grog mix was "improved" or overlooked for the occasion, as I recall quite a lot of coughing and spluttering - even from the POs....
Whilst serving on Hermes,as an experiment I was breathalysed by one of the ships regulators (Feds),18 hrs after drinking my tot and 2 beers,and failed it by quite a big margin,it was mixed with water at a ratio of 2:1,and could be lethal,but whilst at sea it was unusual,for anyone to get shiters,some of the senior rates could be a bit punchy,but they got theirs "neaters",and normally decanted it into a bottle for 'ron',or used it for services rendered.
Not Navy and drifting off thread, but in the 80's we were issued rum on a couple of occasions whilst practising to defeat 3rd Shock Army on Soltau in winter, no one told us it was s'posed to be diluted.......
THE BOOK: "Nelson's Blood" by James Pack 1982. The kit itself - grog tubs, grog measures, spirit measures etc - was all sold off per Admiralty Fleet Order in 1970. Everyone could put in for one item and then it was first come, first served.
Likewise on a dark and stormy night,on Soltau '66.I got a mug full of Rum to be shared out in troop,when I got back to troop,quite a few had dossed down,so engine decks up,sheet over the top,start main engine,and share Rum with a couple of like-minded souls and slowly dry out.Slept like a log,warm as toast.
We had splice the mainbrace on the flightdeck for the golden jubilee. Dunno whether it was just our ship though. Was a wobbly afternoon watch though as not many of the wrens liked neaters rum so we helped them a little.
I remember sometime mid '90s being able to buy shedloads of stores surplus pussers rum via the naafi onboard as well. I think it was the final getting rid of old stocks or something.
There was certainly a Splice The Mainbrace in 86 for Andys wedding. I was in Gib en route FI Patrol and the Senior Rates and Bun House were mossed pissed off as theirs was the only stock of Rum onboard.