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Issuing Rum

Jun 1898Aug 1898

RCIN 2581865

The photograph comes from an album of fifty prints, showing life on board HMS Crescent during a voyage, under the Duke of York's command, from June to August 1898. The image shows the issuing of 'grog' to the Navy, a tradition reputedly started by Admiral Edward Vernon in 1740 while he was stationed in the West Indies. When at sea, sailors were usually allowed a ration of spirits instead of water (which would not keep fresh for long enough), but because the local West Indian rum was too strong, Vernon ordered that it should be diluted. The resulting drink became known as 'grog', from Vernon's nick-name of 'Old Grog' (from his coat made of grogram -grosgrain- cloth). The last issue of grog was made in 1970.

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