Monday, June 24, 2013

British Navy ditches toast to 'wives and sweethearts' for the first time in 200 years because there are now so many women at sea

Royal Navy sailors will never again make their traditional Saturday night toast and drink to ‘Our Wives and Sweethearts.’

The toast, which prompts the response, ‘May they never meet’, has been banned because there are so many women officers serving in the Navy.

The seafaring tradition – often made with a tot of rum – has stood for 200 years, but will now be changed so that servicemen and women toast ‘Our families’ instead.

The instruction was issued by the new Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘To reflect cultural changes and our modern and inclusive Navy, two of the naval toasts, used at mess dinners, have been updated.

‘The Royal Navy values the diversity and range of its personnel and it is only right that its traditional toasts should reflect the fact that women have been at sea for over 20 years.’

The other tradition which has changed is that the Tuesday night toast will be made to ‘Our Sailors’ rather than to ‘Our Men’.

The custom has been practised since Admiral Nelson’s era but after women first served in service vessels in 1990 it has become increasingly outdated. In 2012, Sarah West became the first female frontline ship’s captain in the frigate HMS Portland.

Other time-honoured toasts which follow the toasts to the Queen will remain unchanged.

On Mondays, a glass is raised to ‘Our ships at sea’, and on Wednesdays, sailors drink to ‘Ourselves (as no one else is likely to concern themselves with our welfare!)’.

On Thursdays they toast to ‘A bloody war or a sickly season’, referring to the better prospects of promotion in wartime in the 19th century and pestilence.

‘A willing enemy and sea room’ is toasted on Fridays, referring to the reluctance of other navies to face the British, and on Sundays they drink to ‘absent friends’.

The change to tradition was not well received by some former sailors.

Former Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Lord Boyce said: ‘In my view this is an unnecessary genuflection in the name of PC-manship and I have no intention of following it.  ‘It’s broken with tradition unnecessarily.

He told The Times: ‘Are we to await new orders telling us to “person the ship” or “person the sides”?’



Anonymous said...

Tradition is very important in the military. There was no reason to change. did anybody survey the women if they were offended or does pc automatically override democracy.

Anonymous said...

Even a 200 year old tradition can't stand up to political correctness? I wonder if the pansys running the Navy even considered telling the person complaining, (it's usually only one whiner) to "bugger-off"? How pathetic.