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Splice the Mainbrace

Posted by James Briggs on November 11, 2003

I had the following sent to me today. I thought I'd pass it on.

Hi James,
I served in the Royal Navy for 14 years as a Jack Dusty responsible for the Rum Issue on every single ship that I served on from 1955 to 1969. This included: -
HMS Theseus
HMS Bulwark
HMS/M Finwhale
HMS/M Odin
HMS Ulster
HMS Brighton
HMS Galatea
Also I was the Rum Bosun on the following shore establishments: -
HMS Victory (RNB Portsmouth)
HMS Dolphin (Submarine Command)
Only once was I privileged to receive a 'Splice the Main Brace' which was issued aboard HMS ULSTER for which I attach a copy of the signal sent by Her Majesty to the Captain of HMS Ulster.
As for the origin, it was a privilege earnt by seamen who undertook dangerous tasks up the rigging of Sailing Ships during heavy seas. During those days it was granted by the ships Bosun who used to take a sip from each man that he named, this tradition was stopped when steam/sail ships took over from sail.
For your information I have enclosed a copy of the Signal sent to the Ulster in 1959. (I didn't enclose this:JB)
Hope this helps