18 December 2007

The Constable's rum

ZUI this article from the MoD Defence News:
The crew of HMS Westminster took part in an ancient tradition at the weekend when they marched through the Tower of London delivering a barrel of rum to its Constable.


Ancient rights dictated that every ship that came upstream to the City of London had to unload a portion of its cargo for the Constable, thus enjoying the protection of the Tower of London guns.

Today, the tradition of the Ceremony of the Constable's Dues is kept alive when every year the captain of a Royal Navy ship entering the Pool of London delivers a barrel of rum to the Constable.

The captain and his crew are firstly challenged for entry to the Tower by the Yeoman Gaoler, the second-in-command of the Body of Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters).

The captain and his naval ratings then march through the Tower of London, accompanied by Yeoman Warders in State Dress and a Corps of Drums, to Tower Green, where the Constable is presented with the barrel of rum. Afterwards, all retire to Queen's House on Tower Green, the oldest surviving timber building in the City, to sample the contents.

HMS Westminster is a Type 23 frigate commissioned in 1994.

And speaking of the Yeoman Warders, it seems that I missed an announcement a few months ago:
The first ever female beefeater at the Tower of London, Yeoman Warder Moira Cameron, started work today, Monday 3 September 2007, beginning a new chapter in the Tower's 1,000 year history.

Former Warrant Officer Class 2 Cameron was announced in january [sic] 2007 as the first female Yeoman Warder in the 522 years of the position's existence. She joined the Body of the Yeoman Warders at the Tower in July this year where she has been undertaking a two month rigorous training programme.


In order to qualify as a Yeoman Warder a candidate must be a former Warrant Officer or Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. They must also have served a minimum of 22 years in the Armed Forces and hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.


WO2 Cameron, who is from mid Argyll in the Western Highlands, joined the Army in 1985 at the age of 20. She joined the Women's Royal Army Corps and trained as a Data Telegraphist with the Royal Signals. In 1988 she transferred and trained as a military accountant with the Royal Army Pay Corps and in 1992 was transferred to the Adjutants Generals Corp (Staff and Personnel Support) Branch. She has served in Northern Ireland and Cyprus and was awarded her Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 2000.

Note: In the British forces a WO2 is a senior enlisted rank, equivalent to a US Army master sergeant (E-8).

Royal Navy photograph © Crown Copyright/MOD 2007.

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