Friday, 18th October 2013
Mayor Lima receives prestigious naval honour
by Mark Viales
The Mayor of Gibraltar Tony Lima was appointed an honorary Commander Royal Naval Reserve of the UK yesterday during a ‘splice the mainbrace’ ceremony at the Naval Base celebrating the birth of Prince George.
Mr Lima’s appointment is the first made outside the United Kingdom and is a highly regarded honour seldom presented. He was the last Commanding Officer of the former HMS Calpe. The honour was on the recommendation of the first Sea Lord and then approved by The Queen.
The Governor Sir Adrian Johns present at the ceremony paid tribute to Mr Lima as did the Commander British Forces Commodore John Clink who said he was very pleased for Mr Lima and spoke of his work during his time as CO in bringing the Royal Navy and Gibraltar closer together.
“I am delighted that you have been appointed and will join the Naval community ever more closely to Gibraltar. We look forward to welcoming you back into the fold at the Royal Navy formally,” he said.
SPLICE THE MAINBRACE
During the ceremony a host of Naval personnel gathered with ‘tots’ of Navy rum under the Tower. A whistle was blown and the Governor toasted… “Prince George, God bless him” before everyone took to their ‘tots’ of rum.
The ceremony dates back to the days when the enemy would fire at the mast (mainbrace) of the ship and it would need to be repaired. They would get the strongest able bodied men to climb the main mast and repair it. These men would be targets for the enemy until they got down and once they did they would be rewarded with a ‘tot’ of rum.
It is only now on special occasions that the tradition is re-enacted. Yesterday’s ceremony was on the occasion of a Royal birth.
HUMBLED BY HONOUR
After the ceremony the Mayor Tony Lima spoke of his delight at the appointment: “It is a great pleasure to be appointed to this position and it is something that I feel very humbled by.”
When asked about what this meant not just for him but for Gibraltar as well, he said,
“It is excellent news as it means that we can slowly start recruiting back into Royal Navy Reserve through Gibraltar itself.”
Mr. Lima said that he was delighted at a personal level to be the first Honorary Commander Royal Naval Reserve appointed outside the United Kingdom calling it a “great honour”.