Know your Royal Navy Toasts

A neat little post I came across this morning, from the Detritus of Empire blog.  Go read it all, but here’s a taste:

There are, or were, specific toasts for each day of the week.  As related to me by a couple of Royal Navy Lieutenants* at a pub some years back:
Sunday:  “Absent friends, absent friends.”
Monday: “Our ships at sea.”
Tuesday:  “Our men.”
Wednesday:  “Ourselves, as no one else is likely to bother.”  Alternate version: “Ourselves, Our Swords, Old Ships”  Old ships being a reference to shipmates.
Thursday:  “A bloody war or a sickly season.”  (The death of more senior officers was the most reliable route to promotion in the age of sail).
Friday:  “A willing foe and sea room.”
Saturday:  “To our wives and sweethearts.”  This is the only toast said to still be in common use, as is the customary response from the youngest officer present “May they never meet!”
*In the Navy the rank is pronounced much as it would be in America.  Lieutenant derives from the French phrase en lieu tenant, or holding a place for another.  The British army uses the variant “Leff-tenant” for perverse reasons known only to themselves.
Cross-posted at
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