Halton ‘Splice the Mainbrace’

Station Commander, Group Captain Adrian Burns, joined Halton House President of the Mess Committee, Squadron Leader Andrew Crabtree, and a number of mixed naval ranks and rates, to ‘Splice The Mainbrace’ recently in celebration of the birth of HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.

In Naval tradition, each consumed a ‘tot’ of rum to toast the new royal baby.

Leading Writer Lynn Westhead, who attended the ceremony, said: “I have ‘Spliced the Mainbrace’ on ships a few times in my Royal Navy career, and there can’t be many Royal Naval personnel who have ‘Spliced’ in an RAF establishment so it was something a bit special. There is only a handful of Royal Naval and Royal Marine personnel based here at Halton so it was nice that we all got together to take part in a Naval tradition.”

‘Splice the Mainbrace’ is an order given aboard naval vessels to issue the crew with a drink. Originally an order for one of the most difficult emergency repair jobs aboard a sailing ship, it became a euphemism for authorized celebratory drinking afterward, and then the name of an order to grant the crew an extra ration of rum or grog.Eventually the order to “Splice the Mainbrace” came to mean that the crew would receive an extra ration of rum, and was issued on special occasions: after victory in battle, the change of a monarch, a royal birth, a royal wedding or an inspection of the fleet. In cases where the whole fleet was to receive the signal, it would be run up with a lift of flags or signalled by semaphore.