Surprise, surprise. Survey reveals shocking extent of drunkenness in the Royal Navy


Blackleaf
#1
Many people probably won't be surprised, but a new survey has revealed that the Royal Navy has 17,000 drunken sailors.

In the new survey, one in five sailors said they drank over 50 units of alcohol a week – more than double the recommended safe limit for men, which is 21 units.

Almost half admitted to binge-drinking at least once a week, and about 15 per cent were classed as ‘problem drinkers’ who had been asked to cut down by bosses, friends, doctors or loved ones in the past year

Of course, drunkenness is nothing new in the Royal Navy. It's been happening for centuries.

Since 1590, a British sailor's daily rations included a gallon of beer, which was stronger the further from Britain they were.

Rum became popular in the Royal Navy from 1655 and from 1731 each sailor was issued with half a pint a day (the equivalent of a gallon of beer).

It wasn't an uncommon site to see drunken sailors working on a ship - and falling to their deaths from the rigging.

It wasn't until 1970 that rum rations (which were an amazing 94.5% proof) were abolished in the Royal Navy.

What shall we do with the 17,000 drunken sailors? Survey reveals shocking extent of alcohol abuse in Royal Navy

By Pat Hagan and Jo Macfarlane
11th January 2009
Daily Mail


In Nelson's day it may have been the done thing to go into battle three sheets to the wind.

But a new report has revealed that drunkenness in the modern Navy has spiralled to such an extent that it could be damaging fighting capability.

Damning research commissioned by defence chiefs shows that alcohol abuse is a much bigger problem among naval personnel than among the civilian population.



Got a problem? In a new survey one in five sailors said they drank over 50 units of alcohol a week

In the new survey, one in five sailors said they drank over 50 units of alcohol a week – more than double the recommended safe limit for men, which is 21 units.

Almost half admitted to binge-drinking at least once a week, and about 15 per cent were classed as ‘problem drinkers’ who had been asked to cut down by bosses, friends, doctors or loved ones in the past year. This compares with six per cent of men in the general population.

The researchers said that if the survey was a true reflection of boozing in the Navy, it would indicate that 17,000 Royal Navy personnel were regularly drinking to ‘hazardous levels’ – that is, to such an extent that it was having a direct impact on their health.

The research was carried out by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research in London to assess the scale of the Navy’s drinking culture.

The researchers said: ‘Our results demonstrate that alcohol misuse is common within the Royal Navy.



Different era: Sailors being issued with rum at the Royal Navy barracks in Portsmouth in 1933

‘It may be argued that the military culture makes service personnel especially vulnerable to the consequences of heavy drinking; in effect, alcohol misuse may be viewed as an occupational hazard of military life.

‘The direct impact of alcohol misuse upon operational effectiveness is not yet known. But it is unlikely that this would not have a detrimental operational effect.’

The researchers said that there was a tendency for sailors to ‘alternate between restraint while at sea and the opportunity for excess while on shore’.

Last year researchers at King’s published a study that looked at the drinking habits of all of the UK’s armed forces.

It uncovered a worrying culture of drinking and suggested that it was driven in part by isolation and boredom.

But they said it could also be fuelled by a need to bond with colleagues after intensive periods of duty or training. A sense of communal risk-taking and comradeship is thought to promote drinking as a way of bonding.

The Navy survey of 1,333 personnel found those most at risk were young, single, low-ranked sailors.

The results appear to show that efforts to curb heavy drinking, including alcohol-awareness days and penalties for staff who commit alcohol-related offences, have failed to tackle widespread abuse.

Defence Minister Kevan Jones said: ‘I’m well aware of the potential harmful effects of alcohol and there is no room for complacency.’

The Royal Navy’s history is awash with alcohol.

From as early as 1590, a sailor’s daily rations included a gallon of beer – and the further from home, the stronger the brew.

As the Navy ventured even further afield, easier-to-preserve spirits such as brandy or arrack – an Arabic spirit – became a common substitute.

After 1655, when Jamaica was captured, rum became popular, and it was officially issued from 1731, when a half a pint was deemed equal to a gallon of beer.


Jolly tars: Sailors enjoying a beer

Men were traditionally given a double ration after the strenuous task of repairing the mainbrace – a heavy part of a ship’s rigging – and the order ‘Splice the mainbrace’ ultimately became a euphemism for any issue of extra drink.

Double rations were often served before battles.

In 1850, the Admiralty’s Grog Committee found, unsurprisingly, that rum was linked to discipline problems, and in the following year decreased the ration to one eighth of a pint – still potent, given that the official proof of Navy rum was set at 94.5 per cent soon afterwards.

To combat drunkenness, the Admiralty also directed that no officer was to partake of liquor until the sun was over the fore yardarm.

Rum rations were abolished on July 31, 1970, known as ‘Black Tot Day’.

dailymail.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 11th, 2009 at 02:36 PM..
 
Cannuck
#2
Here are just a few things you can do with a drunken sailor but, apparently only if it's early in the morning.

Put him in bed/the brig/the hold with the captain's daughter
Take him and shake him and try and wake him,
Make him kiss the gardeners daughter,
Put him in the scupper with a hosepipe on him,
Put him in the longboat til he's sober,
Keep him there and make him paler,
Shave his belly with a rusty razor,
Put him in the pickle barrel til he's sober,
Put him in the grog barrel til hes pickled,
 
Praxius
#3
Well at least now we know where the song came from.
 
Tyr
#4
"The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash." – Winston Churchill"
  • Churchill's assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne said that. Although Churchill had not uttered these words, he later admitted that he wished he had.
 
bobnoorduyn
#5
Blackleaf; It is well known that soldiers were given a shot or two before meeting their adversaries in battle, supposedly to embolden them. I don't know if you wrote parts or copied the entire article:

It wasn't until 1970 that rum rations (which were an amazing 94.5% proof) were abolished in the Royal Navy.


Though this story needs no further sensationalizing, just for the record the "proof" value is/was for the purposes of taxation. In the UK the value 100 and the term ‘proof spirit’ correspond to a mixture of ethyl alcohol and water, which, compared to an equal volume of distilled water, has 12/13 = 0.923 076 9~ the weight when both are weighed in air at 51°F (10.56~°C). That corresponds to a proportion of alcohol in the mixture of about 49.3% by weight, 57.1% by volume. For any other mixture, the proof figure is its relative proportion of alcohol by volume, multiplied by 100, i.e. its percentage alcohol divided by 57.1 and multiplied by 100 (= percentage multiplied by 1.753 5, pointing to 175.35 proof as the maximal figure, relating to pure alcohol). The terms ‘under proof’ and ‘over proof’ refer to the proof spirit of 100, and the figure applied relative to that, e.g. 35 under proof means (100 - 35) = 65 proof. The figures are expressed interchangeably as degrees proof (°) or as percentage proof (%), the latter sometimes producing a disconcerting impression when it exceeds 100%. (BTW there's a test on Monday ) The 94.5% proof in this case is far from pure alcohol although much stronger than produced here.

The US has a simpler method where 200% proof is the maximal figure and your 151 proof Jamaican rum at just over 75% alcohol/volume is somewhat stronger than what the Brits allowed their sailors.
 
#juan
#6
Interesting Bob.

Here is another link to yet more info.

http://www.bookrags.com/wiki/Proof_(alcohol)

I was disappointed to learn that one hundred percent alcohol is practically impossible because pure alcohol is so Hygroscopic that it will suck water right out of the air and reduce the percentage.
 
Nuggler
#7
....Whas dis proof of hien?

Jean Chretien A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven


Der, now gets it straight, or at least 75 proof
 
darkbeaver
#8
Some of these drunks are working in the armoured vehicle industry now where they still drink all day.
 
bobnoorduyn
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

Interesting Bob.

Here is another link to yet more info.

http://www.bookrags.com/wiki/Proof_(alcohol)

I was disappointed to learn that one hundred percent alcohol is practically impossible because pure alcohol is so Hygroscopic that it will suck water right out of the air and reduce the percentage.

What I find intriguing is the idea of putting gunpowder in the booze and seeing if it will ignite, I somehow envisage a Monty Python skit.
 
L Gilbert
#10
I envision Monty Python/Keystone Kops antics everytime I think of military action of any sort except that MP and KK motivation was humor, not bloodshed.
 

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