( Again, Many thanks to Issac Newton for permission to use

the the two images above from his web site:    hmssirius.info ).

The three image above are also from HMS Minerva's Black Tot Day.

The image first left, shows the Jimmy preparing to ditch the ullage 'over the side', ( I wonder if this was the first time that happened on Minerva! ).

In the centre image, the rum fanny is under the Union flag and about to be buried at sea, the 'guard' is about to fire the salute.

The image right shows the mourners - the Cox'n has the rod mechanism from the rum pump, in his right hand. Held aloft in a 'sword like fashion' for the rum fanny's committal to the deep.

( Many thanks to Issac Newton for permission to use the three images above, from his website:  hmsminerva.info ).



                                                             H.M.S. SIRIUS.
                           31st JULY 1970. 
           ORDER OF SERVICE FOR THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES BETWEEN
                                       R.A.s, T.s, U.A.s, and THOSE ON V.A.

SATURDAY 1st AUGUST 1970

1125.                      FINAL RUM CALL.
1130.                      CLEAR LOWER DECK OF THOSE WHO WERE ‘G’   MUSTER ON THE
                                FLIGHT DECK.

1.    ADDRESS BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF SIRIUS.
2.    MOURNERS DETAILED READY THE TUB FOR COMMITTAL.
3.    LESSON, READ BY HIS HIGHNESS THE ARCHBISHOP.
4.    RUM BOSUNS AND OTHER BEREAVED PERSONS ARE INVITED TO RETURN
       TOT MEASURES REVERENTLY TO THE TUB. (NOTE. BEREAVED ARE REQUESTED TO
       KEEP MUTTERINGS AND MUMBLINGS AND WEEPING TO A MINIUM DURING THIS
       PART OF THE SERVICE.)

5.    THE SUPPLYING DESCIPLE OF THEIR MODSHIPS WILL NOW BE INVITED TO
       CARRY OUT THE ULTIMATE EXCRESENCE  - SEAL THE LID OF THE TUB.

  HYMN  (TO THE TUNE OF ETERNAL FATHER)

   1.  THEIR MODSHIPS DEEMED IT FIT TO STOP
        THE SPIRIT THAT MAKES US TIP TOP
        WITH HEADS TOGETHER, AMIDST HUM DRUM
        THEY’VE PUT THE MOCKERS ON OUR RUM

        A MATELOT’S LIFE NOT A HAPPY LOT                               CHORUS
        IN A NAVT THAT’S SCRUBBED ROUND THE TOT

   2.  IF ONLY THEY WOULD THINK AGAIN
        BEFORE JACK ‘CRACKS’ WITH HEARTFELT PAIN
        THEY THINK THE’RE DOING BIG FAVOURS HERE
        BY OFFERING US ANOTHER BEER
         CHORUS

   3.  NOT ONLY US ‘CHIEFS’ SUFFER TOO
        FOR WHO CAN FACE THAT LUNCHTIME STEW
        WITHOUT THE LIQUID WHO CAN FACE
        THE ARTS OF COONDAR ROCS AND TRACE
        CHORUS

   4.  (SLOWLY, SOLEMNLY AND MISERABLY )   WHO COULD SING IT OTHERWISE.
        AND SO WE BID A SAD FAREWELL,
        FOR THAT STUFF WE’VE GONE THROUGH HELL
        THEIR LORDSHIPS SHOULD BE SATISFIED
        THE BLOODY FLEETS  ANTAGONISED
        A MATELOT’S LIFE NOT A HAPPY LOT
        SOME CIVIL SERVANTS STOPPED OUR TOT.
                                                                  AMEN. 
    6.  THE TUB IS COMMITTED TO THE DEEP - WAILING MAY BE PERMITTED.

    7.  A FINAL SALUTE OF TWO AND ONE IS FIRED BY THE GUARD FOLLOWED BY THE
         LAST POST.

   ON COMPLETION OF THE SERVICE - CANNED BEER (1 EACH) WILL BE GIVEN TO THOSE
   ENTITLED IN EXCHANGE FOR 1/3d.

 
So now to tell you a 'tot dit' about what ship and where the last tot was officially
issued and drank in Her Majesty's Royal Navy .... HMS FIFE was in Pearl Harbour
on the 1st August 1970.
As you know this was the day after the end of the tot because HMS FIFE had left
Kobe, Japan and had sent the Leading Regulator ashore at Midway for the mail.
This was classed as giving leave so that the ship could therefore claim the US rate of
Local Oversees Allowance (the helicopter taking him ashore and the ship then
caught up). The Commander (Supply & Secretariat) obtained permission from the
Captain to have 'Up Spirits' early which was about 09:00 having got alongside and
being greeted by Hawaiian dancing girls in grass skirts on the jetty.

The ship had crossed through the International date Line during the evening so
whilst in harbour the date and clock was then put back again from the 1st August
1970 to 31 July and approximately two hours later the last and final official tot in
the Royal Navy was issued. The Senior Rates from 3 Mess had the honour of being
pall bearers at the burial at sea ceremony to be held on the deck of the demise of the
navy's rum ration.

A Junior Rate had his birthday on the 31" July 1970 so he was given the privilege
of being the first and very last person in the RN to receive the tot.
The pall bearers marched to the fo'castle on the starboard side, facing the harbour
to the stern with rifles reversed and the pipe-band playing dirges and at a slow march
and greeted by 'off caps'.

The pall bearers included, Chief Petty Officer Writer Roland 'Nick' Carter, CPO Cook
and CPO Elee. Draped over the rum barrel was the Union Flag. Ropes were attached
to the barrel as though it was 'going over the side' but there were strict rules governing
all rum measures and whilst it was ceasing the Cdr.(S) had still to account for the barrel.

Half-way through the proceedings an Admiral's barge from Pearl Harbour HQ passed
by with a Japanese Admiral on-board flying the Japanese flag. On seeing the 'burial
at sea party' they stopped and saluted as they thought with all what was going on it was
for real but imagine their embarrassment when they saw a rum barrel going over the
side and 'Jack' started performing their dancing in the hula hula skirts that the remaining
ship's company had dressed up in. ( Black cat that! - site admin ).

The Hawaiians completed a TV programme about the event.

Many thanks to the Royal Navy Writers Association ( RNWA ), who gave their kind permission for the details above to be reproduced in full. The RNWA can be found at    www.rnwa.co.uk






'Maritime Quest' have some very good photographs of Blact Tot Day celebrations aboard HMS Fife at the following address:

             www.maritimequest.com/misc_pages/david_scott_collection/radm_sir_david_scott_collection_page_3.htm

HMS Sirius grog tub about to be comitted to the deep.
The 'last tot' - HMS Dido.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence

for the Royal Navy, Dr David Owen, closed

the debate with the following:

"I am satisfied that the daily issue of rum is

neither necessary nor appropriate, and that

this decision, though unpopular, had to be

taken at this time.

There are always arguments for postponing unpopular decisions. There are always those who will argue that Ministers should avoid making unpopular decisions. But, if a Minister believes that a decision is right, he should take it, and this is why the Admiralty Board unanimously made this decision".

Question put and agreed to. 


( The full transcript can be seen at:   http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1970/jan/28/royal-navy-rum-ration )
It's gone!

During the following six months, those Senior and Junior Rates entitled to the tot, had time to acclimatise to the idea that the rum ration was to be withdrawn.

Captain James Pack writes in his book, Nelsons Blood  -  "The Admiralty Board were asked whether the navy would

                                                                                            mutiny.

                                                                                            They answered that in their opinion, the discipline, good

                                                                                            sense, and loyalty of the lower deck, would accept this

                                                                                            painful and sad decision.

                                                                                            They proved right. With enormous dignity and plenty of

                                                                                            good lower deck fun, and poking charley, the great issue

                                                                                            went through. A naval tradition had been given up".

The image right, shows the occasion at HMS Jufair, a shore establishment.

After the final issue, shown in the image below, A rum cask was interred, and a headstone, marked 'the last resting place of a good and faithful servant', was placed.

The committal service was written and conducted by the chaplain....


For as much as it hath pleased the Lord High Admirals to take

away from us the issue of our dearly beloved tot, we therefore

commit its cask to the ground, sip to sip, splashes to splashes,

thirst to thirst, in the secure and certain knowledge that it will

never again be restored to us; but with the glorious hope that it

might be according to the mighty workings whereby M.O.D.

(Navy) is able to accomplish all things unto itself.


HMS Jufair is about to reopen, I'm not sure if at the same site, but if it is, I wonder if the cask will still be there!

Copied left, is an interesting account of Black Tot day aboard HMS Dido.

The normally strict rum issue rules were 'relaxed' -  just a little bit! which I am sure was a great morale booster, as the entire ships company were able to take part.


I am very grateful to the HMS Dido Association for their very kind permission to reproduce the article left in full.

The image above shows an article that appeared in the October 2010 issue of Navy News.

When the question arises "who drew the last tot", there are many claimants, such as, my RN oppo was victualled in on a Kiwi ship in 1985 etc etc.

The interesting question for me is which ship issued the last regulation tot in the Royal Navy on 31st July 1970, Black Tot Day. It appears that without question, it was HMS Fife.

Not only was Fife the last ship to receive the tot, but it appears they have the best dit to tell as well!

I have copied below, an article written by the Royal Navy Writers Association regarding HMS Fife's events on Black Tot day.

Burial of a rum cask at HMS Jufair.

In preparing this page, I have relied on the support of several organisations, for which I am very grateful.

Everyone gets an issue! - HMS Dido black Tot day.
Preparing to ditch the ullage.                           Firing the salute as the rum fanny gets               The Jimmy, Cox'n and 'mourners'
                                                                         a burial at sea.                                                    look on.

I think it unlikely that instructions were given from on high, regarding how the last issue should be conducted - for example, it must be a 'military style, fully regulated issue'.

Commanding officers of vessels and establishments were presumably given a free hand, as long standing rules and regulations were put aside for the last day's issue. Lower deck humour, wit and a general respect, were the order of the day. Combining to ensure that the Royal Navy's outstanding ability to self entertain meant that the event was to a large degree, humorous.

I am fortunate indeed to have a short video record of the Black Tot Day events that took place on Leander class frigate, HMS Minerva.

The grog mixing and issue was largely conducted by the Jimmy ( executive officer ), after which, a ceremonial burial at sea of the rum fanny took place.

Video clip of Blact Tot Day - HMS Minerva.


Many thanks to Mr Ken Mowatt for permission to
use his video clip on my site.

The last regulation issue of rum in the Royal Navy took place on Friday 31st July 1970. Ever since that day, the 31st July 1970 has been known as "Black Tot Day".
The Admiralty desired to stop the issue of rum in the Royal Navy for some time, when the decision was finally made, it was, therefore, not a total surprise.

On the 17th december 1969, the Admiralty Board announced that a decision had been reached.

The image right, shows the 'signal' that was then sent to the fleet, advising that the rum issue would be abolished.


Abolition of the rum issue was debated in parliament on the 28th January 1970, where the Admiralty decision was approved by the government.

Pouring the 'last tot' at HMS Jufair.

Leander class frigate HMS Sirius, held their 'celebrations' the day after Black Tot day, in the form of a 'service for the death of the tot'.

I have reproduced left, a copy of the 'Order of Service', which I obtained from the Navy News website some time ago.

Later in this page, the author gives greater detail in an article copied from Navy News.


The two images below show the committal of the grog tub on HMS Sirius, the same day.
The image immediately below shows the tub ready to go over the side, in the image bottom, it's gone!
( Mentioned in the Navy News clipping later in the page - the grog tub was not actually splashed, as they were signed for and needed to be returned to Clarence yard ).

Signal advising abolition of the naval rum issue.

31st July 1970 - The final issue.

Clicking the play icon to the left runs a short clip of Black tot Day aboard HMS Minerva.

The video opens with the Barricoe being marched on to the flight deck, accompanied by an honour guard.

The Barricoe is brought forward and placed in front of the grog tub.

The next shot shows fresh water being measured from a 4 gallon fanny, into the grog tub, looks like it's the Jimmy helping out.

A smaller measure is required to get the quantity of water just right.

The Jimmy is having difficulty getting the bung out of the Barricoe.

Once the bung is removed, the Barricoe is inverted over the grog tub and it's contents of neat rum  poured into the tub.

Those entitled, line up to receive their tot, each individual receiving his 'measure' from the Jimmy -

'names' are then 'ticked off' by the Cox'n.

HMS Dido Association – Newsletter #8. 

On 31 July 1970 I was the First Lieutenant of the Leander Class frigate
DIDO. The ship was anchored in the Moray Firth after a major Fleet
exercise. The announcement that the rum ration was to be stopped on 31
July had been made several months earlier so everyone was aware that
today's issue of rum would be the last. I had been hearing on the grapevine
for some time that the Chiefs and Petty Officers - many of whom were
unhappy with the decision taken by Their Lordships - were thinking of
staging some form of demonstration to mark the passing of the tot into
history. So, being a wise Jimmy, I thought I'd pre-empt them and organise
one of my own. The great day arrived and at 1100 (the usual time for
issuing the rum ration) the Quartermaster piped: "Up spirits - Clear lower
deck on the flight deck."
As the rum ration was normally drawn by messmen
and
issued in the individual messes, a slightly puzzled ship's
company arrived on the flight deck to find that the rum
tub had been set up in front of the hangar door and in
the middle of the flight deck was the ships' organ
(portable small); on the starboard side was a coffin
draped in the Union flag. The Regulating Staff then
proceeded to issue everyone with a neat tot of rum. And
everyone meant everyone, irrespective of whether their
Pay Books classified them as 'G' for grog meaning men
over 18 who were entitled to the tot; 'T' for temperance
for men who were entitled but who opted not to have it
and, finally 'UA' for Under Age or Boys under 18 who were
not entitled to the tot.
The significance of this historic occasion was not lost on

my ship's company and not one of them refused it ! So
there were Boy Seamen who might spend 27 years in the
Navy who received their first and last tot on that day and
I wouldn't mind betting that they have never forgotten it .
Next, a firing party assembled by the coffin which contained a tot of
rum in a sealed bottle with a note inside instructing the finder to return
the bottle to Their Lordships in the MOD together with their name and
address so a suitable reward could be sent to them.
Finally, Leading Seaman Letman, an accomplished pianist, played a
suitable hymn on the Organ Portable Small which we all sang heartily;
the firing party fired a salute and the Last Tot was committed to the
deep by a funeral party consisting of the Coxswain, the Buffer, the
Chief Stoker and the Chief Tiff.
The ship’s company was then dismissed and a remarkably cheerful
bunch of sailors (of all rates) dispersed to their various parts of ship.
My Captain was attending a post-exercise discussion in the Flagship a
couple of miles away when a messenger informed him and the
assembled company, including the Admiral, that there seemed to be
some sort of disturbance onboard HMS DIDO. My gallant Captain told
everyone not to worry, it was just his mad First Lieutenant celebrating
the Last Tot.

Christopher Belton     Captain, Royal Navy.