The Royal Navy’s newest carrier, along with her ready-to-get-hammered-drunk sailors, arrived on America’s East Coast Wednesday after completing her maiden transatlantic voyage. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP) Watering holes everywhere in the vicinity of Naval Station Mayport experienced a major boon in business this week after British sailors from the Royal Navy’s prized new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived in the northeast Florida port of Jacksonville Beach.
Hundreds of sailors rambled off the ship Wednesday following a weeks-long journey that marked the 65,000-ton vessel’s first transatlantic voyage. And as is tradition with navies around the world, a pressing matter had to be attended to immediately upon exiting the hulking ship — the ancient mariner rite of drinking to the point of annihilation.
With only a few days on land before heading back to sea, the Queen Elizabeth’s occupants stormed the beaches of Jacksonville ready to declare war and conquer any and all alcoholic beverages that stood in their way.
“I think we need a modern day Paul Revere to let us know that the British are coming,” Keith Doherty, a general manager at Lynch’s Irish Pub in Jacksonville Beach, told the Florida Times-Union . “I know a lot of places were understaffed and that caused a lot of issues.”
The plight of understaffed service, however, wound up being on the lighter side of the evening’s tribulations, as the number of alcohol-induced escapades inevitably soared Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
As any who have deployed or spent time on ship can attest, the accumulation of aggression while confined to tight quarters in the middle of an ocean can have a profound impact on the human psyche.
This often manifests through booze-fueled skirmishes or other shenanigans when personnel find themselves liberated from the bowels of a floating prison and once more on the familiar environs of dry land. It’s practically tradition, and the Brits dared not break from it.
These tall tales were refuted by Sgt. Larry Smith of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, who told the Times-Union that six Queen Elizabeth sailors had been taken into custody for drunken and disorderly conduct. Three sailors were also charged with resisting arrest, and at least one necessitated a tasing.
What would a story about Florida be, after all, without at least one person needing a tasing?
Fights with the host Floridians, meanwhile, were reportedly nonexistent, as the blokes from across the pond evidently managed to keep the raucous behavior to themselves.
“These guys come in town periodically,” Smith said. “They beat the mess out of each other and fight each other more than anything, but once they pick up their teeth off the ground they are best friends.”
“They tipped a little under 10 percent," Haleigh Snow, manager at Poe’s Tavern in Atlantic Beach, told the Times-Union. “I don’t think they knew they were doing anything wrong.”
International tipping customs aside, Smith said local police have had no additional issues since the incidents were first reported to the ship’s top brass.While these mishaps certainly don’t make the best first impressions on locals, the concept […]