To prepare for battle, sailors in their wooden ships found both revival and salvation in Pusser’s Rum, as well as companionship for downtime reverie. From the earliest days of the Royal Navy, these foolhardy brave hearts were issued a daily ration or “tot” of rum by the ship’s “Purser,” a word the sailors later coined as “Pusser.”
The history of rum in the Royal Navy was largely that of social change, both in Great Britain and the Royal Navy. From 1650 throughout the 18th century, shipboard life was incredibly difficult. The daily issue of Pusser’s Rum was the highlight of the day. In those days, battles were fought “eyeball-to-eyeball.” The mental alertness and courage required to pack a cannonball into a muzzle loader were far different from that required to operate the modern weapon systems of today. Thus in 1970, the Admiralty Board decreed that there was no place for the daily issue of rum in a modern navy, and so ended the daily issue of Pusser’s Rum in the Royal Navy on July 31st,1970. This date since then is referred to as “Black Tot Day.”
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