The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Members of the Royal Navy were able to buy duty free cigarettes, commonly know as ‘Ticklers’. These cigarettes came in round tins of fifty and clearly marked ‘Not For Resale’ however they were freely bartered around the dockyard. The practice was illegal, but the dockyard police as a rule turned a bind eye, well, many were themselves complicit in the practice. There was however one policeman, John Brown, these were contraband and low betide anyone caught with ticklers in their possession.

Enfield was one of two boats used to discharge and reload ships with ammunition, from naval ships before and after refit at the dockyard. The crew of Enfield were sitting around the mess table chewing the fat when the alarm was raised, “Brown on board”. All headed off to their respective quarters to hide any contraband that may have been left in plane sight.

Big John entered the mess, and cast a keen eyes around its small, bare confines. Jimmy looked up from a paper, that he appeared to be deeply engrossed in only seconds before, he greeted Brown with a nod, neither man said a word. The policeman move out through the mess and into the sleeping quarters. Nothing to be found, he left. As the boys settled back around the mess table, Jimmy lifted his cap from the table and asked “Anyone for a fag?” there under his cap was an unopened tin of 50 ticklers.

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