Royal Naval Traditional Toast, may be changing

  Bing.alau 14:56 22 Jun 2013

I heard on the radio this morning that the toast traditionally made in R.N. messes is to change. It is/was "Here's to our wives and sweethearts. May they never meet". (followed by hearty guffaws of laughter) I think the suggestion was that in future it should be "Here's to the family"... So it looks to me as if the do-gooders are at it again. The excuse is that women now serve on board ship and so the toast is not appropriate. But as long as I can remember there have been women in the shape of the WRENS in the Royal Navy, so why change now?

  fourm member 15:14 22 Jun 2013

'why change now?'

That's a very good question. This change should have been made 20 years ago when women first began serving at sea and not just in shore-based roles.

Still, better late than never I suppose.

  fourm member 15:15 22 Jun 2013

'the do-gooders are at it again'

You obviously don't consider yourself a 'do-gooder'. What does that make you, then?

  Brumas 15:18 22 Jun 2013


I think you know the answer to that; you, me and the whole host of other crusty old ex-servicemen had the best of it! Remember it as it was, not as it is, they can't stop us swinging the lamp, yet ;o}

  Bing.alau 15:22 22 Jun 2013

It probably makes me a "do betterer".. I love the old traditions especially the harmless ones such as this.

"Bring back the rum ration" I say.

  Forum Editor 16:11 22 Jun 2013

"I love the old traditions especially the harmless ones such as this."

There's nothing wrong with wanting to hold to tradition, but it's helpful to remember that not everyone always thinks as you do. Toasting wives and sweethearts in a mixed company may be fine for the men present, but it excludes the women, doesn't it?

The idea is to make the armed forces inclusive, not the opposite. When the world changes it's often necessary to change with it, even though die-hard traditionalists may not like it.

  Forum Editor 16:14 22 Jun 2013

"you, me and the whole host of other crusty old ex-servicemen had the best of it!"

That's a classic attitude, and there's nothing wrong with thinking that way. The fact is, people who served before you did probably thought the same thing, and the people before them did, and so on, back through the centuries. It's human nature, but society changes. The changes are usually made by the younger members - those who will look back in the decades to come and say 'we had the best of it'.

  fourm member 16:27 22 Jun 2013

'the harmless ones such as this.'

There's nothing 'harmless' about objectifying women and demeaning them.

This objectionable practice should have ended long ago. That it didn't says there is still plenty wrong in the armed services.

  Flak999 16:49 22 Jun 2013

Welcome back FM! The forum hasn't been the same without you. Glad to see normal service has been resumed! :-)

  Woolwell 16:52 22 Jun 2013

I haven't actually heard that toast for some years.

forum member - I suggest that you lighten up. The toast was meant light heartedly when it was used. Wives were/are respected and in some cases feared.

  john bunyan 16:55 22 Jun 2013

I remember the Reveille on ships in the mid 50's, followed by the Master at Arms wake up on the Tannoy, such as "Wakey, wakey , wakey - Rise and shine - you've had your time and now its mine" May be still acceptable, unlike the " Hands off.......Socks " I always thought crude, even for an all male crew.

Re the toast , I agree it should not be used in mixed company, of course. I seem to recall a Russian military toast : "To your death- in 100 years time"

fourm member

Much has changed in the armed forces but the front line is composed mainly of young, testosterone filled men- who , as has been shown over again recently, are brave in the face of fierce battle.Your ideals are to be admired, but as yet, the young guys are not yet as sophisticated as you. I do not like girlie posters etc, but it is difficult to stop such things with 18 year olds. I could imagine an amusing TV sketch with a Sergeant shouting at recruits in a politically correct manner- must write one.

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