Royal Navy dumps 'wives and sweethearts' toast


Members of the British Royal Navy drink up after a Christmas-dinner toast aboard a battleship Dec. 29, 1942. Seventy years later, there have been some tweaks to one of the U.K.’s traditional naval toasts. (Associated Press photo)

One of America’s closest naval allies — and the source of many U.S. naval customs — underwent a significant script change over the weekend.

The traditional Saturday toast aboard a British Royal Navy vessel, up until last Saturday, had been a simple one: “To our wives and sweethearts.”

The traditional response, either from the youngest officer present or the resident smart aleck, had also been simple: “May they never meet.”

Both are gone. The Associated Press reports the new toast will be to “our families.” Also, the Tuesday toast to “our men” will become “our sailors.” A British military statement said the alterations “reflect cultural changes,” per the report.

It’s unclear what these “cultural changes” are. Women have been serving at sea for the Brits since 1990, and while women are scheduled to begin serving on U.K. submarines later this year, the new toasts reach fleetwide.

So, what’s your take? An overdue nod to an integrated fleet? An unnecessary change to a lighthearted custom? A sign that political correctness is taking hold within a fleet that, as recently as 2007, insisted it had not banned topless photos in private spaces, contrary to published reports? Let us know.


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  1. Capt. Jeff Hathorn on

    U.S. and British Navies have been run through by the sword of “political correctness”in the name of progressive social engineering.. These organizations of war fighters have suffered great damage to the core by ripping out : 1) tradition 2)esprit de corp 3) group bonds 4) summation firings of the best and brightest leaders.
    All done by liberal mealy mouth mamby pamby leftists that have and never have had ANY interest in the armed forces; much less having served in any. They are tearing down these Defenders of their freedom and are fools for it. Our enemies are watching with had rubbing glee and can’t believe their surprised sudden fortune.

  2. It’s about time that we honor our women in service to our country. Families should be first – always. Honor the family – have integerity.

  3. Cdr John Craig RN on

    As a serving EOD Diving Officer, married to a former SWO, I have benefitted from the support of our professional fighting women more than most. Not only are they often as good as the men they fight alongside, they are often better. It is right that they are recognized appropriately, as ‘tradition’ is all too often used an an excuse for ‘exclusivity’ and ‘partiality’. At the end of the day, if America hadn’t opted to break with tradition, you’d still all be British… wouldn’t you?! 😉

  4. George Eberling on

    I spent two weeks with the Royal Navy and loved it. I hate seeing their customs and traditions as well as ours being ripped away one by one.

  5. Amazing that only men have replied. Its not “politically correct” namby pamby leftist crap – its NASTY. Its DEGRADING. Its OFFENSIVE. And so are you “captain”. And YES I’m an active duty female officer in the United States Navy. I’m only sorry it took the Royal Navy so long to fix themselves.

  6. I agree with the comments that we need to leave well enough alone. At this rate, we are doing so much in the name of Political Correctness and to make sure everyone feels good that we forget that these are fighting men and wemon. Are we going to start training our SEALs to say “sorry” after a takedown, or oder our submarines to fire a warning torepedo if we are at war just in case the other guy didn’t know you were there.

    Let men be men. Let fighting forces be agressive and dominating. We need that to win in battle and in war. If the Politicans can stop all threats and war then we can be nice and PC. Otherwise I say let the US Military do what it has been built to do, win.

  7. Commander Bob on

    Oh give me a break! This has nothing to do with political correctness. It is about giving due recognition to a) the gender neutral nature of our (USN, RCN, RAN, RN, etc) modern service in the armed forces and b) to the modern nature of our personal relationships whether spouses or partners. On point (a) in an all volunteer force in the 21st century we cannot but do otherwise. Some draw a very long bow to connect this type of equality of service with other real arguments about suitability for physical combat!

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