Exmouth’s rum day for the Navy.

THE Exmouth Shantymen commemorated a dark day in the history of the Royal Navy last week – when rum was served to sailors for the final time.

Dubbed ‘Exmouth’s buoy band’ the Shantymen reenacted Black Tot Day – a day of mourning for many a sailor – when on July 31 1970 the last measure of rum was served.

The re-enactment of the last tipple happened in the shadow of three of the Navy’s greatest ships – Nelson’s Victory, Henry VIII’s Mary Rose and the world’s first iron warship, HMS Warrior – so powerful it never fired a shot in anger.

The reluctant – and allegedly tee-total - Shantymen were dragged kicking and screaming to sample the rum and First Mate of the Shantymen Seymour Cleavage said: “It was a tough job for us to do but we felt honour bound to do it and were forced to return for more than one tot.”

The event was organised by Pussers Rum who sponsor The Exmouth Shantymen and was conducted by Shanty Man Martin Nicholls who, with due ceremony, related the history of the tot with shanties being sung by The Exmouth Shantymen. They were joined by a Naval reenactment crew dressed in period costume.


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Quill the Bosun of The Exmouth Shantymen added: “Against the backdrop of HMS Victory we attracted great interest including The British Forces Broadcasting Service.

“BFBS requested us to do a live broadcast resulting in us singing to 23 countries across the world with potentially over one million listeners. It was possible that some of our Royal Marine Commandos serving in Afghanistan would be listening too – we hope so.”

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