Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Early Submarining Bits: RN and USN

In 1655 the British fleet captured Jamaica. With an abundance of domestic rum, the Royal Navy changed its daily ration of naval liquor from French brandy to rum.

Originally given neat, diluted rum became the ration around 1740, to help minimize the effect on Admiral Edward Vernon's sailors. In honor of the Admiral's foul weather coat (made of a rough fabric of silk and wool stiffened with gum and called grogram), the watered rum became known as grog. The Royal Navy continued its daily rum ration, known as a "tot," until the practice was abolished after July 31, 1970.

Here is another historical note from the Log of submarine USS Holland (SS-1) on 29 April 1905:
"A. Wm Keane, M Mate 1st class given five days Bread & Water for having whiskey in his possession." Remember to check out the link and perhaps even offer a toast to MM1 Keane, an early U.S. submariner recorded in history for but slight breach of discipline.
At least Keane escaped the Cat O' Nine Tails.

Another Holland submariner punished: 6 May 1905
"E.R. Rhinelander GM 2nd cl placed in irons to await action of Commanding officer" For how long you ask? Four weeks: 3 June 1905 E.R. Rhinelander, Gunners Mate 2nd class restored to duty.

Note: George Washington's half-brother, Lawrence Washington, had served on Vernon's flagship as a Captain of the Marines in 1741 and named his estate Mount Vernon in honour of his impressive commander but, despite his heroic status, Vernon's fiery and difficult temper lead to fractious relationships with various governors of Jamaica, and with his navy superiors, and he was ultimately dismissed from the Royal Navy in 1746.


At 14 May, 2006 17:16, Blogger Cookie..... said...

Excellent and very informative read Vigilis...great work. I'd often wondered just where the name "Grog" came from.

I was on a Brit sub one evening that was moored next to us in New London (1964) and I managed to get a "complimentary" ration of rum along with the crew....that'll never happen again to any sailor because, as you wrote, they did away with that tradition...too bad...

At 15 May, 2006 21:16, Blogger Vigilis said...

Thanks for sharing, Cookie. We really hope that would be the only reason your social experience would never happen again, don't we?


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