This is page ONE


......................of the story about HMS GANGES

All pages are important, some crucially, but pages 15, 16 and 17 are a prerequisite to understanding the story about HMS Ganges post her active service days, which includes Falmouth and Harwich with the ship/ship[s], and of course what was built as Shotley Barracks which, in 1927, was named HMS Ganges the naval boys shore training establishment. In its first years [1905 to the early 1950's] it was just that, but in 1952 it was split, one part of the curriculum adhering to the rules and regulations of the MofE [Ministry of Education] as a secondary modern school, and the other to the naval requirements of the Admiralty.  Thus, those joining prior to 1952 were academically schooled  by the standards set by their Lordships in Whitehall which were manifestly inferior to civilian standards, but after that time, the training, exam-setting and their subsequent marking, were all set by those who ran the British education system MofE, which was  adopted, controlled and exercised by the Head of the Instructor Branch with a desk in the Admiralty: he was a rear admiral and like all instructor officers, wore a blue band in his stripes of rank. The bulk of wardroom officers appointed to Ganges and to all similar training establishments were of that branch, the most senior of who was a captain. As the Admiralty records show in the 'Myths' file below, most of these instructor officers, known in the navy as Schoolies or schoolmasters, were not career naval officers, serving on short commissions of doing their National Service,  and were  inadequate and not really fit for purpose other than to teach boys.  Ganges has forty four instructor officers, with only five having a 1st or 2nd class degree; ten had 3rd class degrees and twenty nine non-gradates called "cetificated teachers", and were not what we associate today as current instructor officers! Today, all would have university degrees taken as the norm i.e. 1st or 2nd class degrees, 3rd not normally entertained,  and would have also have had teacher training in one form or another. Of those at the chalkboard in the early 1950's, the majority entered classrooms with written notes about what had to be taught, much, alien to the teacher as well as the pupil, so the main core subjects were taught on the blind leading the blind principle at least until the 'notes' were devoured and schoolies taught on memory-recall!  Personally, I well remember classes having to double-up [two classes with one schoolie]  because as many schoolies as possible were out of the establishment in HMS Pembroke [Chatham Barracks] undergoing short courses on instructional technique, the only time they would experience teaching skills and how to use them; the "certificated teachers" mentioned above had pieces of paper but no or very little teaching experience and no core-academic specialised subject to teach.  These shortcomings impacted upon our academic training! Moreover, whilst the majority of  professional civilian teachers stayed at their post in the same school for several [or many years], these early 1950's schoolies stayed for an absolute maximum of two years whether national servicemen or short commission men in Ganges, many to leave to return to civilian life. That is how it was done in my time at Shotley. By and large the "system" worked because boys' were not aware of the shortcomings of the School Block and its staff,  whilst schoolies, in the main, were fully aware of the plight of boy- recruits, and I rather suspect, were appalled at what they saw. Whilst we boys considered all those officers wearing blue bands between their stripes as 'schoolies', looking back, there was probably seven only out of forty four  who were career naval officers with proven abilities, and these were the instructor captain, instructor commander and five  instructor lieutenant commanders none of who taught at the coal-face: of the rest, all of whom were instructor lieutenants or sub lieutenants, only a few were career officers, soon [hopefully] to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander, all doing a job they didn't really like or enjoy, and more importantly, were not trained for!

Although never recorded in words [spoken or written], the AC [advanced class] boys were considered to be on a par with the average secondary modern school pupil although it is clearly the case when reading the many Admiralty records that this was the intention. There was no grammar school equivalent for ratings per se, although it is again clear that artificers were considered to be the equivalent of technical school pupils, and upper yardmen [ratings considered for training at Dartmouth to eventually serve as commissioned officers on the upper deck] who stood out from other ratings because of their white flashes worn on their uniforms. Subsequent to leaving basic training, many boys moved up to the grammar school academic level by studying for and sitting HET's [higher educational tests] which, on attaining good marks, lead to the equivalent of a GCE [general certificate of education] which all civilian employers recognised. The GC [general class*], virtually half of all boys in training, were of academic sub-standard, which meant that after boys training and once in the Fleet, they could not be promoted  to become senior rates, until they had passed an academic test known as the ET1 [education test 1]: with such a certificate, the boy's could achieve the rate of CPO [chief petty officer].  Since this watershed was an important part of the establishment it is worth the time to read this particular file GANGES TRAINING WITHOUT THE MYTHS !

* Some time after the time period outlined above, the GC system was further divided into GC [U] and GC [L], meaning 'upper' and 'lower'. This, as Admiralty records show, was a reflection on recruiting at the time of implementation, when the navy had to accept boy's who would not have passed the entrance examination at the recruiting office in my time [1953] and before. At this point the naval education system was in a great and continuous state of flux, for branches requiring "bright boy's" were effectively starved, and this coupled with high attrition and poor retention of competent ratings, went on to affect advancement [promotion], manpower [drafting], pay [designed to attract men once trained to stay in the service], and much else.

The 17 clicks you are now offered reveal not only boys' training in HMS Ganges but there are many references to other naval boys' training from Boy Nurse, Boy Shipwright, Boy Pupil Teacher, Boy Artificers/Boy Mechanicians, etc etc,  as there were so many of them. Now read on:-

Before proceeding, you must first enable the table of 17 numbers below. To do this, simply click on the first - No1 - which will then turn into a hyphen. This page will then be refreshed for you and will show a navigation tip. Read the last two sentences on the returned refreshed page. You can then start clicking on the page numbers.

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