* Yes, these in addition to his winter cap and summer cap, best and working caps !

# See also the file HMS GANGES AT HARWICH.

I start this page with a quote concerning the start of the run down of our Hong Kong base.  You will note that in its heyday after WW2, the naval base, comprising of a dockyard [which had been shut long before any thoughts of a run down were considered], a barracks HMS Tamar, a W/T Station {Stonecutters}, basins and alongside jetties and direct support for other services, some of them tri-service, which were under the control of a senior naval captain whose title was CAPIC Hong Kong.

"Until 1994 HMS Tamar, the RN naval base in Hong Kong, was an independent command responsible to Commander-in-Chief Fleet. However, in May that year the Army Commander British Forces Hong Kong was given full command of all three services in the territory. As a result, the post of Captain-in-Charge (CAPIC) Hong Kong was abolished in July 1994, being replaced by the Senior Naval Officer in Hong Kong (who also served as Chief of Staff and Deputy to the Commander British Forces). Cdre Peter Melson was the first and only RN officer to hold that position."

The Command structure of yesterdays navy was diverse and for our purposes, involved only senior officers. Many officers held FLAG RANK and a few of these officers were appointed to be FLAG OFFICERS. FLAG RANK officers were promoted to such from all branches so included surgeons, instructors, engineers, supply and secretarial and well as executive officers. They did not wear or fly  FLAGS.  Flag Rank officers appointed to be FLAG OFFICERS wore flags and flew them in their headquarters whether ashore or afloat. These Flags were the St Georges Cross for an admiral, the same but with one red ball for a vice admiral, and the same again but with two red balls for a rear admiral. An admiral of the fleet, though the R.N., no longer has that rank, has [for those elderly officers still living for once an admiral of the fleet, always an admiral of the fleet until death] has as his FLAG, a Union Jack.

Below that level came the Commodore but not as now where it is a substantive rank, but as a temporary rank to fill a purpose, where a captain's 'clout' was not heavy enough but didn't warrant the 'clout' of a rear admiral or higher. A commodore was a captain wearing one broad stripe instead of four thinner stripes whilst maintaining the headgear of a captain i.e., with one row only of 'scrambled eggs'. Originally there were two types, first class and second class and each wore or flew a broad pennant with a St Georges Cross, the second class commodore having one red ball in the pennant.  Today, there is but one commodore, now a proper rank, and his broad pennant has the one red ball. He wasn't and is not, a flag officer nor is he of flag rank. Many commands, hitherto commanded by a senior captain, are now commanded by a commodore.

Senior Naval Officers [SNO], as the title suggests, could be any naval senior officer {other officers of lesser rank were called various names like NOIC [Naval Officer in Charge], OIC [Officer in Charge], RNO [Resident Naval Officer] etc, and these were quite often captains of ships in a geographical area where the area naval shore station OIC/CO [Commanding Officer] was not a senior officer.  A good example of this was the title SNOWI [Senior Naval Officer West Indies].  He was SNOWI plus he was the CO of the ship {or senior ship if more than one} doing its foreign leg of a General Service Commission [GSC] in the West Indies.  Ashore, in Bermuda at Ireland Island, was HMS Malabar whose CO was not a senior officer. There were other examples.

Finally for this story, whilst staying with senior officers and as importantly senior captains, we come to geographical areas both at home and abroad in peace time, which were important but relatively small, not small enough to warrant only an RNO/NOIC/OIC, and not large enough to warrant a Commodore or a Flag Officer.  Again, there were several of them.  Above, you will have read about CAPIC Hong Kong.  One well known CAPIC was at Portland, when, in the 1950's, it was commanded by a captain, senior to the CO of the submarine depot ship HMS Maidstone [a permanent resident]  and the only other captain permanently in the Port, although it had many visitors from the Home Fleet, and was regularly visited by the training carriers HMS Ocean and HMS Theseus.  CAPIC Portland was the CO of HMS Osprey but he had offices 'down below' in the port in a rather large building. Later on, that rather large building was taken over by FOST [Flag Officer Sea Training] a rear admiral, who became the senior officer at Portland and as such, supplanted the CAPIC - I was a sea rider on FOST staff in 1974-75. The importance of the appointment of the CO of HMS Osprey after this event was down graded.

          The building just mentioned [centre stage of the base] had a splendid front door above which was this statement [left] . However, before the days of FOST, the sign above that door read HMS OSPREY and showed this flag [right] which is a St Georges Flag with a swallow tail on the fly. Meanwhile, back in HMS Osprey proper [on top of the hill] the captains symbol was the ships badge/crest painted on the port and starboard side of the ships lifebelt [PERRY BUOY].  

Harwich was also a place with a CAPIC in peace time.  The captain of HMS Ganges was that CAPIC, his second cap.

  He therefore had two symbols, one the badge or crest of his ship and the other, the flag of his command of the Port of Harwich. That was manifest in two life belts [PERRY BUOYS] on display on the quarterdeck outside the Captains Office/Admin Block. The first is familiar to all and requires no further explanation, but the second is a rare sight indeed, even though it is used on the Ganges Association website, unwittingly! This picture comes from the Easter 1938 edition of the HMS Ganges Magazine and shows an unknown boy posing in the centre of the lifebelt showing the flags of a CAPIC. Once again, Harwich, like Portland, had a resident large ship, during my time,  HMS Mull of Galloway, but the seniority of a Ganges captain made him the senior captain in the Port. 

A CAPIC was established at Harwich at the end of WW1 on returning to peace, a flag officer being in charge during the war itself. This was repeated in WW2 and in 1939 a Flag Officer was appointed to Harwich supplanting the CAPIC.  He was a rear admiral [FO HARWICH] and he flew his flag ashore in HMS BADGER situated in Harwich where the International Port Terminal now is. Throughout the war, Ganges concentrated on training HO's for service at sea returning to its primary roll of training naval boys' in 1946.  At that time, the captain of HMS Ganges resumed his CAPIC responsibilities which lasted until the end of 1957 when the port was decommissioned as a naval asset.  The RNXS continued at the Port with reserve training but that too folded in 1992.

The CAPIC at the time this 1938 magazine was published was Captain F R Corson DSC MVO RN and the last CAPIC in 1957 was Captain R R Franks DSO DSC OBE RN.

The Ganges perry buoy used on their website should of course show the Ganges elephant and Wisdom is Strength, although clearly the webmaster is NOT WISE to this fact.