Well, not so much really

From the Times obituary of Captain Crawford:

Under Crawford, Unseen launched 18 torpedo attacks, yielding 15 hits and 11 successes. She also survived 199 depth charges — no wonder the consumption of rum over 257 days at sea during 11 combat patrols was seven gallons, seven pints and six tots per man.

Well, not so much really. Standard rum issue was one eighth of a pint per man per day. So the rum issue there was in fact two issues a day, thereabouts, allowing for the occasional Temperance declared.

Not low, no, but by the standards of the time (there was no other booze on a submarine of course) not all that high either.

10 thoughts on “Well, not so much really”

  1. Mmmm…. Navy rum was (is?) quite high proof? Don’t know if you’ve ever tried drinking a quarter pint, high proof rum, but experience tends to indicate, you probably don’t feel up to doing it the next day. Unless you start very early & then everything gets sort of blurred.
    257 days straight off?

  2. Bloke in North Dorset


    Wasn’t that a quarter pint after it had been watered down, for the other ranks at least?

  3. Incidentally, I had an uncle served in. a sub in the Far East, got depth charged. He said one lifted the torpedo loading hatch clear off & flooded the boat with bright sunlight. Then dropped straight back into it’s frame.

  4. Bloke in Costa Rica

    bis: Wood’s 100 and Pusser’s rum were 57% ABV. Half a gill twice a day is hardly Bacchanalian excess. That’s about a treble. I got my Dad a bottle of Wood’s for Xmas one year and we were a third of the way down it by the time we’d finished opening the presents. Sure, we had a nice nap after lunch, but still.

  5. BiS,

    Historically, rum was “proof strength”, or about 57% alcohol: the test was whether gunpowder soaked in it would ignite. You can still get a few examples, Pusser’s being the most obvious.

    The Navy issue stuff was, allegedly, dropped to the cheaper and more commercially available 40% at some point before the Black Day in 1970, and the quantity was an eighth of a pint (neat for senior rates, meant to be diluted for juniors so it “wouldn’t keep” but on submarines and smaller ships – short of fresh water – they often didn’t bother). One triple rum a day might raise your spirits but shouldn’t leave you

    Every few years you get a “splice the mainbrace” (last one I remember was Princess Charlotte’s birth, I think), though these days it’s a small shot of mainstream dark rum rather than a proper-sized tot… more of a gesture than anything else…

  6. @BiCR
    If I remember rightly there’s around 23 standard pub measures in a pint. So 1/4 pint’s roughly 1 treble followed by a double. But navy tots were, 57%ABV, not 40. So you’re adding a fair bit again to the alcohol content. Say equivalent to another double. Quite enough to get most people sociable if not starting to tend toward unsocial. And certainly enough to stick your tongue to the roof of your mouth, the next morning. But it’s the repetition. Most people can do that on a one off. Rinse & repeat a few times & you’re on your way to serious alcohol problems.
    Believe me, I watch enough people doing it.

  7. Quite enough to get most people sociable if not starting to tend toward unsocial.

    Yup, that’s the Navy.

    Rinse & repeat a few times & you’re on your way to serious alcohol problems.

    That certainly was my Navy. I understand it may have changed somewhat in the last 20 years …

  8. @BiS
    The smallest imperial spirit measures used to be 1/6 gill, by definition 24 to the pint. But some pubs served 1/5 or 1/4 gill measures. Today it’s either 25 or 35ml – the smaller of these gives you very nearly 23 to the pint.

  9. Just think – you tell a bunch of alcoholics that if they misbehave their alcohol will be taken away for so many days.
    Will they behave? Or at least make it so they don’t get caught?

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