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15 October 2014
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Sippers and Gulpers

by Eric Cowham

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Contributed by 
Eric Cowham
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
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Contributed on: 
20 November 2005

Fore & Aft Rig, 1942

In the Royal Navy the daily rum ration was used as a kind of currency on board ship and was termed "sippers and gulpers". If you did a mate on board a favour you could claim sippers and gulpers from the next ration. I was never actually old enough to claim a rum ration and had to be content with a ration of lime juice which made it difficult to pay for favours. Sadly the days of rum rations and the tradition of sippers and gulpers are now no more being discontinued a few years after the war.

"Buzzes" or "What is the Buzz ?" was another common term peculiar to the Navy during the war and referred to rumours which spread about the ship concerning our movements. A ship's movements were always considered top secret and not even the crew were told where they were going or what they would be doing so speculation on board ship was rife and "What is the Buzz ?" seemed to be on everyone's lips. From the Arctic to the Tropics and all points between "buzz" was a rumour.

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