Hello.  Below, you will see the kit issued to naval ratings on entry at the very start of the 1950's which is outlined in great detail in Admiralty Files and also in BR 1938 [Naval Ratings Handbook] c. 1951 page 36. However, as you will read, several of the items issued to adult entry personnel are missing from the kit issued to boy entrants at HMS Ganges and HMS St Vincent. Part of the laid out kit rests on top of the issued kit bag.  The kit bag was marked in black paint using 1" block letters with name only to bottom and side.  Official numbers were not used in HMS Ganges except for administrative purposes [captains office] supplanted by the continuous use of Ships Book Numbers. Having completed all final examinations each boy was given a Port Division {and a draft to a ship} and this, plus his official number were added to the kit bag as part of the boys final drafting routine. All items of kit including the kit bag were laid out either on a bedding blanket or a bedding counterpane.  In my time in the 'Royal Rodneys' {named so because the DO was a Royal Marine <Captain Roberts>} the norm was the blanket because its plain background showed a kit at its best. Hammocks, two in number, and thus a hammock mattress, two mattress covers, a blanket, clews and lashings were issued to boy's before they went to sea marked accordingly with Port Division, name and official number: the hammock stretcher was nearly always a 'rabbit' job and usually self made under ones sea-daddy's instructions. Hammocks, clews and lashings were on PLL [Permanent Loan] to the rating whereas the mattress, covers and blanket were part of a man's kit.    The issued oilskins and great coats were hung full length [at the far end of ones mess] neatly folded {in length/azimuth as opposed to bulk}  with white tape tie-backs, and not, as shown below, in a heap at the top of the laid out muster - in my 15 months in Ganges I cannot ever recall wearing either an oilskin or a greatcoat, and like all in the Fleet, welcomed the day when Burberrys were introduced !  Tropical kit was withdrawn from initial issue, issued only to boy's passing out who were drafted to foreign based ships or establishments. Other small 'tweaks' were made, and boy's were not issued with the following specific items:-

5, 10, 11, 28, 32, 33, 36, 41, 44, 47, 48. The following item are amplified as 43 [Brown canvas shoes], 46 [boots] with 47 [a loan as your play item as were rugby boots and cricket spikes].  Overalls [33] were only worn for coal ship week and my class had one whack only i.e., one week in the sixty weeks I was at Ganges: they were therefore a loan item supplied by the establishment's Barrack Master/Buffer. Overalls [but not 33] were also worn for less than one hour in the swimming pool whilst swimming the compulsory one length in them and they too were a gymnasium temporary loan item.

The kit list shown  below, apart from anything else, tells two stories ? Firstly [the second is below the paragraph under the document]  the Titles I have added were not so until Easter time 1952 when rig outfits were changed.  I have called them their names post this time as No10's, 10A's No6's, No 8's - see document below:-

Classes I and III were fore and aft rig worn by senior rates and by junior rates of  several branches e.g. S&S, SBA's, Coders, Apprentice Artificers, and Class II was worn by Ganges boy's which is called 'square rig'. After 1952, No4's were abandoned as an official rig; No5's became No6's but no longer called 'drill suit' but just plain old 'tropical rig' or colloquially 'ice cream suits' especially the Class I/III suits; No6's remained but simply the new No6's [old No5's] without medals; No7's became No8's; No 8's became No9's and finally, No9's became No 10's with an additional rig known as No10A's. No10A's comprised of a No8 shirt with blue tropical shorts more often than not issued as No10A's relaxed or negative shirts. No 10's/No10A's could be further relaxed by wearing only sandals in lieu of stockings and shoes.  In the document above [taken from BR1938 c 1951 page 41] Dress Number 9 has a mis-print under Class I/III where the 's' of shorts starts the next word 'and',  and there is no mention that senior rates wore white canvas shoes.  Under Class II black shoes were worn.

Secondly, this is a WINTER kit inspection for the following reason. GANGES boy's always wore caps [when headgear was required] and these were relatively expensive. Each boy was issued with two caps, one for everyday wear [with a Rayon cap tally] and a best one [with a gold cap tally], the latter being kept in a metal [rigid] cap box.  In winter [1st October to 30th April]  whilst on 'Home Service', the RN wore black caps [fore and aft rig caps were manufactured in black only] and the issue and thereafter compulsory kit was two black caps and one white cap. In the summer months [1st May to 30th September] in the UK and when serving abroad in hot climates [Singapore and Trincomalee plus a couple of other places which wore tropical rig all the year round - the second biggest area was the Mediterranean and it with the third biggest Hong Kong, changed into blues in the winter months] two white caps were compulsory kit. Men returning home to the UK from areas wearing tropical rig the year round had to provide themselves with a black cap immediately upon arrival. This was a problem for men dress in Class II uniforms but not to those in Classes I/III uniforms because all they had to do was to cover their black caps with a white linen cover hiding the attaching button and eye under the cap band which carried the cap badge. This cap cover was washed and ironed [often starched] and looked very smart, whereas a manufactured white cap could soon become dirty necessitating a new covering of whitening [Blanco], along with that applied [in either white or khaki] to belts, gaiters and rifle straps - that's long gaiters, so lots of work. It doesn't bear thinking about today, but that Blanco [wherever found] was vulnerable to rain and in sudden downpours, sailors ran for cover.  On the introduction of white plastic caps [and abolishment of black caps] things were much better and the maintenance was much less demanding, but, it has to be said, sailors then, 'shone' with the three B's which were Bullshit, Bluebell and Blanco. On issue, all our caps were marked with our names, chin stays sewn in, and at a kit inspection we either wore our cap's to first salute the inspecting officer or had our second 'working cap' available for inspection along with the one in the cap box. Also in the winter months, along with the black caps we always wore a blue woollen jersey which itched like mad mitigated by also wearing a white front/white tropical singlet under the jersey.  In the summer months, white went with white, and jersey's were put away for six months. Despite all this, the UK compulsory winter inspection cap-kit was as shown, namely two black caps and one white cap changing to two whites and one black for summer.

The story continues on the other side of the kit layout.

  1.  Oilskin
2.  Black Cap
3.  AGR
4.  White Singlet [White fronts] 
5.  White tropical Shorts [No 10's]
6.   Towel
7.   Flannel
8.   Drawers [Under pants]
9.   Singlet [Vest]
10. No 6 jumper [No 6 Tropical Rig]
11. No 6 trousers [No 6 Tropical Rig]
12. Linen Bag
13. Soap Bag
14. Handkerchief
15. Gloves
16. Cap Box
17. White Cap
18. Lanyard
19. Pyjamas
20. Sports Shorts
21. White Sports Jersey
22. Blue Sports Jersey
23. Collar
24. Stockings
25. Socks
26. Comforter
27. Housewife
28. Knife
29. Silk
30. Cap Ribbon
31. Overcoat
32. Life Belt
33. Overalls
34. AWD Shirt [No 8]
35. AWD Trousers [No 8]
36. Blue Tropical Shorts [No 10A's]
37. Jersey
38. Blue Jumper
39. Blue Trousers
40. Seamanship Manual & Naval Ratings Handbook
41. Call & Chain
42. Gym Shoes
43. Brown Canvas Shoes or Black Slippers
44. White Canvas Shoes [Tropical Rig]
45. Scissors, shaving gear, toothbrush, type, hairbrush & enamel mug
46. Black Boots or Shoes
47. Football Boots
48. Sandals [Tropical Rig]
49. Boot Brushes and Clothes Brushes
50. Attache Case
51. Belt

In a moment I am going to show this kit again but this time with red stars on the pieces not issued to boys. However, before I do that just a few other points about a naval ratings kit/uniform. Have a read of this pdf file 1951 kits and uniforms.pdf.  Note the sewing-in of names using black thread.  Red thread was introduced into boys' training establishments as a colour which could be seen on any article of kit issued which required a protection from washing, where eventually, the name in paint only would disappear.  That was introduced in 1947.

The picture below shows the pieces of kit NOT issued to Ganges boy's in 1953.


Until 1947 boys' at Ganges and St Vincent wore white duck suits [or drill suits] for all instructional periods and general duties/quarters. In 1945 the Admiralty introduced a working rig call Action Working Dress which became known as No8's. It was first introduced into tropical areas, chiefly the Far East as an aid to fend off mosquitoes for, guess what, the Fleet Air Arm as a trial uniform: this was decreed under AFO 2126/1945 and it took several months before it became a fleet wide issue with boys' {obviously} right at the back of the queue.

 Note that on the Brown Attache case [45] I have put my name type albeit the right way around for you to read but the wrong way around to mark my kit ! To this very day, now [as I write] fifty seven years ago, I still have many items of HMS Ganges first issue kit which includes items like soap bag, linen bag, housewife, belt, cap tally, AC star, sparkers badge and other bits including my NAME TYPE. This is it, heavily clogged with a mixture of black and white paint, full lead content and all from those days,


and this picture shows it broken down into its constituent parts


After joining our first ship HMS Tintagel Castle [TS2 Portland] we boy's [me and Bungy Williams {from Cheshire}a Boy Sig from Benbow Division] were taken by lorry to HMS Osprey where we were issued with a lifejacket, two pairs of blue overalls, and one pair of black shoes.  Remember well and marvel at what we boy's went through in the first ten years after WW2. Take care.