June 3, 2023

Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch Splices the Mainbrace in Karaman

 The RBL Kyrenia Branch was invited to join with the Royal Navy and their “Splice the Mainbrace” celebrations on Tuesday 7th August which was organised by Les Evans – Vice-Chairman of the RBL, Kyrenia Branch and ex-Royal Marine bandsman, at the Crow’s Nest in Karaman and it was officiated by the Commanding Officer of HMS Excellent, Commander Paul Jones RN.

The Crow’s Nest was buzzing with people, both residents and visitors, ready to either take part or observe the celebration of “Splice the Mainbrace”.  Ian Chennell arrived dressed in an Able Seaman’s uniform to give some extra atmosphere to the occasion.  Ian was a member of the Chateau Lambousa players and the uniform was one he had acquired for a previous play, so he really looked the part.

Commander Paul Jones RN of HMS Excellent opened the proceedings and explained the background of “Splice the Mainbrace”.  He had been able to bring over a White Ensign for the RBL and they were very pleased to receive this.  He also thanked Les Evans for his hard work in arranging this event and went on to say that at the UK celebrations they had issued 1000 tots of rum, which was also to other servicemen as well as the Navy.  Paul has carried out numerous “Splice the Mainbrace” celebrations, one being for the wedding of Charles & Diana and the last occasion was for the Diamond Jubilee which involved all naval personnel. The naval personnel lined up to receive their tot of rum with the instructions that this is not drunk until they are given the signal and when they hear the signal they should down the tot in one go. 

So this is what happened at the Crow’s Nest when a steady stream of ex-naval people lined up and received their tots.   Included with them was Carole Allen who took the tot in place of her husband.  Carole told me later that her husband was a Commander on HMS Northumberland and he currently works for the MOD.   The signal came and the tots were downed, I took particular note of Carole and she drank a large tot without a pause and she said it went down very smoothly.  Well done.

There then followed some music with a naval theme to which some of the participants joined in with gusto.

I managed to have a few words with Commander Jones and he told me he had been in the Navy for 31 years and has another 18 months to serve, he said that he had enjoyed every minute of his naval service.  He is currently with HMS Excellent which is the Naval Headquarters.  He was originally from South Wales and has a son and daughter.  His son is following in the naval tradition and serving with the Royal Marines. 

This was a very enlightening experience and I am so pleased I was able to be present at the North Cyprus “Splice the Mainbrace” celebration. 

By Margaret Sheard


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