BITS AND PIECES OF PRESS SNIPPETS WITH NO DEDICATED HOME [WEB PAGE], OF INTEREST TO SOME ROYAL SAILORS. Also some excellent photographs courtesy of the IWM for which I thank the Museum for their use here, whilst fully accepting and understanding that they are, at all times, copyright to the IWM! If you, the reader of this page wish to use them, YOU MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE IWM AND NOT ME the author of this page. However, the text accompanying IWM PICTURES is that of mine,so you MUST ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE ME if you wish to use it to support YOUR picture. Thank you.


In every case [numbered paragraphs] I have explained the data used in the paragraph, an exercise which has never been attempted or published before, so that instead of just a photograph with no detailed explanation or a newspaper cutting which is in need of interpretation of its content, you will be able to see and understand the story line. Please DO NOT USE NEWSPAPER CUTTINGS without the approval of the newspaper whose story it is. I am a member of the newspaper whose print I use and thus have explicit permission to use the cropped cuttings. Again thank you.

1.  The Admiralty Transport Service "fed" the navy world wide with materiel, by sea and  land : they were also responsible for transporting CONVICTS from the UK, banished to places down under, so if you have any LONG STANDING relations in sunny Oz, thank these guys for their free one way voyage.  At the dawn of the steam age mid-1850's, the Iron-Clads and all that, they were also responsible for creating coaling stations world wide for the use of warships using only the best Welsh coal, the purest available;

additional reading for this paragraph, but not a prerequisite for understanding the paragraph.

[see ONE[S]%20a%20RAS[L]%20or%20a%20RAS[C].htm {employing your bottom scroll bar}

and TWO  ].

In WW2 the 'Admiralty Transport Service' had become the 'Ministry of War Transport'.

However, at this period they cannot get signalmen [naval or mercantile] to man their vessels  [in this case in WW1] and so they trawled for:-

see also this MT file [ministry of transport]

Admiralty Transport Department, Surgeon


 Superintendents' Journals of Convict Ships


Details of MT 32
Reference: MT 32
Title: Admiralty Transport Department, Surgeon Superintendents' Journals of Convict Ships

This series consists of journals of Surgeon Superintendents in charge of convicts, containing rules and regulations, lists of names, details of diet and medical reports.

Date: 1858-1867

By ships' names

Related material:

Earlier journals are in ADM 101

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 12 volume(s)
Immediate source of acquisition:

Ministry of Transport , in 1968

At the abolition of slavery [friend William Wilberforce and like-minded colleagues], which in times gone by, had seen ports like Liverpool and Bristol flourish, supported by a British ambivalence towards using black people as toilers for their white masters, ships of the Royal Navy were ordered to bring to book rogue slave traders transiting their vile cargo's across the Atlantic from east to west. It was not uncommon that a ship caught in the act of slavery, would be forced to heave to, and its cargo transferred to a vessel of the Admiralty Transport Department for onward delivery to the West African port of the snatch. Depending upon the thoughts and wishes of the captain of the arresting warship, lay the fate of the rouge trader and several of them were sent to the bottom of the ocean without pity! In other ways, it could be argued that the Admiralty Transport Department was the fore-runner of the RFA service!


2.   In December 1943, in Trincomalee the British Eastern Fleet [under Admiral James Somerville] were harbour-bound enjoying a well deserved R&R. In the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk, somebody had the bright idea to photograph lots of different groups of the complement to reflect their home counties. London, being the size it is, had groups called 'Middlesex', North London, South London, the East End etc, but in the main, groups were called forward [note not for'ard] to the quarterdeck to the port side gangway-area of the QM's harbour position,to be photographed, reflecting their normal postal counties [although I note that the three ridings of Yorkshire are missing showing only 'Yorkshire'],like for example East and West Sussex, East and West Midlands, ignoring the fact that many counties have a vague administrative division like for example east and west Suffolk when to the majority of us we would address anybody for that county as being from Suffolk full stop. As you can imagine there were many groups, some with many members necessitating bringing on more chairs/benches whilst others, Rutland for example had just one of two crew members. Fascinating, and I wonder why it didn't catch on throughout the fleet, but the lack of such records suggests it didn't. Anyway, of the many taken in HMS Suffolk, I have shown you just two groups, fittingly that of the county of Suffolk,

and of my county, Yorkshire, with one of Suffolk's 8" twin turrets above

and their names are

 Front row, left to right: AB Hall, Harrogate; AB Carter, Leeds; ERA Longley Allerton; Mid Oxley, Leeds; OM Mackereth, Dewsbury; Stoker Fisher, Dewsbury; L/Sea Wright, Bradford. Second row, left to right: AB Kemp, Allerton; Tel Clayton, Gomersall; AB Shutt, Guiseley; Stoker Wiles, Hull; AB Collins, Bradford. Third row, left to right: L/Stoker Scurrah, Leeds; AB Holdsworth, Queensbury; O/Sea Marshall, Hull; Stoker Foster.

3. The Royal Naval Band [with a booty bandmaster from Royal Marines Band] appeared regularly at various civilian events either as an quasi-orchestra or as a marching band. This event, regularly staged for PR purposes in the 20's and 30's, was very popular and showed off a completely up-to-date RN to the general public. Opening times 10 to 6 and 3 to 6 on Sundays, suggesting that it had a long run?

4. As WW2 approached as inevitable, the three defence departments, War Office, Admiralty and Air Ministry became a tri-service organisation more than at any other time. Collectively they formed BOARDS covering all branches and departments for all theatres and operational aspects of war, which transcended the intra-boards then operating within each separate service. This Board addressed all aspects of COMMUNICATIONS and was responsible directly to the war cabinet.

5. Boxing in the Navy. Whilst it was obvious [indeed in all Services] that fights, even organised fights, between the men and their officers was hardly good for discipline, perhaps leading to sorting out grudges and unsolved complaints, and so the 'rules of engagement' were that men would fight men and officers would fight officers and ne'er the twain would meet! Read on....

6. The PLA building, situated on Tower Hill, stands for the Port of London Authority, and being a Port, at one time the largest on the planet in terms of handling capacity, it should and does have an admiral in charge. Any ideas as to who he might be by either name or appointment? See below.

7.  07.01.1939. On this date the Admiralty introduced a FOURTH DIVISION to the Royal Naval Organisation. It was the FLEET AIR ARM DIVISION for ratings employed on all things aeronautical, adding to other RN ratings Divisions based on Portsmouth [HMS Victory,RNB and not Nelson's flagship], the Nore at Chatham [HMS Pembroke] and Devonport in the environs of Plymouth [HMS Drake].

8.  Naval Telegraphists and their training. I shouldn't be biased but I am, for they were a fine body of men. 06.04.1931.

9. but Ooops, back in 1888, what is this I have found? Bad Buntings - Surely not!

10.  continuing the Bunting Tosser theme, in 1904 the Admiralty were so concern about the training of signalmen that they ordered a detailed and thorough rethink on their training.

11.  1938 so lets have a quick jolly by circumnavigating the continent of Africa?

12. Seemingly, in 1844 hygiene was never on the top of anybody's list and it certainly wasn't in the navy or army. You will recall that prior to this time that women did not wear knickers, nobody bathed but used sweet smelling portions in lieu of soap [there wasn't any anyway]and that love-making must have been a great turn-off; or was it? Mess-decks must have heaved with the stink of unwashed human bodies, teeth were generally missing altogether but what remained were usually jet black in colour, and their breath was enough to dowse any candle in a radius of five feet by denying it oxygen which was dissolved by the putrid odour which passed their lips into the ether! In that year somebody had a bright idea which according to naval records it didn't take off?


13. In 1922 the navy was too large [too many ships and personnel] and it had to be reduced, for it was draining too many budgets and making light of naval estimates.

14.  February 1937 and the Admiralty have taken note of just some of the suggestions submitted by admirals-in-command to Their Lordships for consideration.

15. Sparkers will remember automatic and machine produced Morse code tapes running the one word PARIS, manually adjusted so that so many words of PARIS could be counted in a minute, thereby dictating the speed of the Morse at so many WPM = words per minute. Well in 1909 with such a device, they were transmitting at 50 WPM !

16. In 1928 the senior boys training ship HMS Impregnable was no more; she was to leave the west country for good.  Why was she senior? Because as HMS Victory in Portsmouth flew the Flag of C-in-C Portsmouth before it was supplanted by the Flag of C-in-C NAVHOME/2nd Sea Lord, the Impregnable in Devonport flew the Flag of C-in-C Plymouth and that made her very special! HMS Impregnable was just one of three ships joined together by chains and walkways to form the 'Impregnable Group' and the third ship in the group was HMS Ganges, the very same that had served in the fleet, in Falmouth and then in Harwich, before coming back to the west country as HMS Impregnable III. Read on.....

17. Now for one of my favorite admirals TOVEY. Famous for his well earned DSO at Jutland but the more so [in my book anyway] for cornering and the destruction of the brand new, first time at sea - operationally -  Kreigsmarine battleship Bismarck in May 1941. He had commanded the battleship HMS Rodney way back in 1934, and in May 41 he was in the KG5 as the C-in-C with Rodney now in company [both big hitters with awesome gunnery power] carrying out the WW2 famous command of Winston Churchill's which was "SINK THE BISMARCK". Rodney and KG5 had brought the pride of Germany to her knees before Tovey ordered the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire to deliver the final blow which was executed by torpedo's at very close range. Note also the statistics of New Zealand Division, an integral part of the Royal Navy.

18. 1919 and a potential mass exodus from the Royal Navy back to civilian life. Seemingly though, not for signalmen!

 19. 1939 and a looming desperate situation with a perceived shortfall in officers needing an immediate resolution.

20. The small but potentially lethal parts of the navy, and remembering pneumonia bridge at Gosport/Haslar passing regularly the front gates of the erstwhile HMS Hornet, enroute back to my mess in HMS Dolphin with my boat, HM S/M Turpin on one of her trots.

21. A First Lord of the Admiralty's visit to the Shotley peninsular in October 1932 in which he visited HMS Ganges and just down the road the RHS at Holbrook. Remember that the First Lord is in overall charge at the Admiralty and he is a civilian politician. The Sea Lords answer directly to him and not to the Prime Minister or the Minister of Defence.

22. 1931 and boys for the fleet, although not ready, is the cry!

23. For eons the British surveyed and internationally sponsored the nautical mile, was stated as being measured in the English Channel @ 2000 yards = 1828.8 meters. In naval gunnery of yore, it was easy to follow that when a ship opened fire with its main armament say, at 22000 yards, it was taken that the range of the target was 11 nautical mile.

Then, in 1970, the international nautical mile was changed to 1852 meters = 1.150779 miles.  We didn't use meters and so a cumbersome figure like 1828.8 presented no problems, but we have to acknowledge that when using meters it is, as 1852 meters, a much easier sum for calculating purposes.

24.  Strap Hanging - An expression I have used for many year. referring to those who sit on the wall without taking sides when they know who is right or wrong - a more educated word might be ambivalent ? From this newspaper article I see that it has been in use since at least the late 19th century.

25. I should imagine that we all know what a "FRIENDLY SOCIETY" is or a "BENEFITS SOCIETY" is, and I have to accept that your memory, as is mine, is not that impaired that I/We cannot remember the period 1950-1960. But for the life of me I have never heard of this before.  Any takers?

Ordering and viewing options

This record has not been digitised and cannot be downloaded.

Details of FS 21/39


FS 21/39


Royal Navy Seamen, Signalmen, and Telegraphists Benefit Society Friendly Society



Held by:

The National Archives, Kew

Legal status:

Public Record(s)

Closure status:

Open Document, Open Description

Access conditions:

Open Immediately

26. A dreadful and lamentable picture of young women tidying up the war graves of newly buried soldiers no matter who the soldiers were or the venue. It really does pull on my heart-strings.

27. We have all seen crowds gathered to celebrate the end of conflict or war, thanking whomever that no more deaths will occur in His name, until the next fight breaks out that is! But have you ever seen crowds gather to cheer the news that war has just broken out, as we call down our God once more to walk amongst us and protect us? This scene is at Buckingham Place with a baying crowd asking for King George V and Queen Mary to man the balcony as war with Germany breaks out in 1914. A balcony at the northern end of the palace has people on it but I can't make out who they are! There appears to be three men in black ties and one woman in a white or silver coloured evening gown.

28. What a brilliant and dynamic picture of one of our battlecruisers, but also of a bitter sweet connotation for she was sunk four years later with a huge loss of life at Jutland.

29. Cleared for action - guardrails collapsed - all hands turned-to as well as gunroom junior officers. Coaling ship aboard HMAS Australia.

30.  WW1 German UBoats surrender at Harwich and at Portsmouth which after processing for war crimes and other inhumanities, will be given to our ally Japan. Note the quintessential arrangement of surrendering when the ensign of the nation surrendering flies under [subservient] the ensign of the nation accepting that surrender in this case the Japanese Rising Sun Ensign. Note, no Swastika as flown on WW2 ships of the Kriegsmarine but a flag of His Highness The Kaiser, used by the German Royal Navy, more commonly referred to as The High Seas Fleet.

31.Woman technician in the WW1 newly created RAF, servicing an aircraft propeller.

32. HMS Royal Oak at Port Said harbour Egypt in WW1

33. The sombre grave of a French war correspondent killed on the British front in May 1918.

34.Before WW1, German ship SMS Scharnhorst [front] and HMS Minotaur [back] in the Chinese port of Tsingtao.

35. WW1. German official calls upon a French official in the latters HQ, wearing a white flag on his staff car!

36. Gun crew of HMS Chester in the period of 1916 to 1918. Obviously they replaced the crew wiped out at Jutland including boy seaman Jack Cornwell VC.

37. a German UBoat U141 surrenders in Portsmouth harbour in 1918. Seen just passing the Round Tower with the Garrison Church in centre background and the chimney's of Portsmouth power station [long ago removed] background left. Two tugs in attendance as she appears to be heading for the South Railway Jetty area. The sunlight appears to be illuminating the sallyport curtain wall in Old Portsmouth giving it a pronounced creamy/white colour.

38. A British naval 4" gun landed to bombard German positions in their East African encampment.

39. British battleship HMS Resolution in the Suez Canal before WW1

40.Boys recruitment in 1871. An interesting read.

41. Two stories [part one and two] of remembering the sacrifices made by the navy in WW1,celebrated in June 1919.


42.An innovation which pleased all married lower deck families in March 1895.

43. Could Lord Beatty have got it wrong when he said that the navy was a silent service? Did he mean stealth-wise like an mega-quite nuclear submarine, or that we were not boastful although we had plenty to squawk about, or perhaps that we kept our own counsel and our cards very close to our chests?

44.August 1932. There could be something missing in this title of RNWAR! What, I am tempted to ask? Read on. Definitely of interest and I certainly did not know this story!

45.An amazing decree issued by the Church of England. Amazing because the Queen has just died and these clerics want rid of her from their prayers and church procedures. Dumbfounded!

 46. How things changed generations on generations. Remember the abruptness and almost harsh edict issued after Queen Mary's death [wife of George V] in 1953 in article 45 just above? No such overt pan-navy ceremony for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother [wife of George VI] on her passing, but here, for the passing of Queen Alexandra [wife of Edward VII] much love and the greatest of respect from the Royal Navy. Note in the Portsmouth section it mentions a service in St Thomas's: that's the official name for the Anglican Cathedral in Old Portsmouth.

47. Today and in the medium to long'ish term before it, we see very little to no works of the naval hydrographer published into the public domain. Here is a very interesting insight into how charts were made and how many of them back in 1887.

48. WW1 and safely back in dear old Blighty. The first picture of the first WW1 wounded arrive in London for continued medical treatment and possibly to convalesce.

49. Naval dockyards at the end of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th are often depicted as hives of Dickensian work ethics, with long hours for little pay and a foreman with a knotted rope! Is that really true given this news paper cutting from the 7th March 1895?

50.  Pangbourne College is a place I know reasonably well, and I was once part of a team which camped there to educate the young men about the modern navy, offering them a chance to sell their souls!

51. In association with article 49 above, is this most interesting article telling us just how busy the navy and its dockyards were, also in 1895.

52. Remembering dear old HMS Bermuda radio callsign GCQP Mediterranean commission 1958 period! A sad look at her being broken up in South Wales.

53. Having been myself involved at an event where mourning arm bands were worn by commissioned officers and warrant officer on the left arm  [Mountbatten's Royal Ceremonial funeral in September 1979 as the leader of the coffin bearers], I have a remote interest in such a tradition. Ratings did/do not wear official mourning bands. It is surprising just how many unidentified photographs can be date-stamped when officers in them are wearing service official mourning bands, which are 3½ inches wide [or broad]. Then I discovered another type of arm band worn in the Royal Navy which quite surprised me: it was just 2 inches wide and made of crêpe and not of woven long lasting material. It was worn on the left arm but only for unofficial mourning; so, just what was unofficial mourning? Well, believe it or not, for unofficial read PRIVATE. If a loved one had died, and if at any time during a nominated period [set by the local C-in-C] the mourner wore his full and best blue suit or white suit, he could don a 2 inch mourning band especially during the actual funeral day, as a profound mark of respect for his deceased loved one. If, during the whole period of being notified of the death until the funeral date the ship was at action stations, special permission was required to be able to wear it on less formal uniforms, or on a future occasion when in dress uniforms. However, there was an ulterior motive in allowing this act, which was to give men a closure because it would have not been allowed back then, for a man to ask for compassionate leave to go home to his family or friends. Again, in my time, if you were the only child of the deceased and could be spared duty, your padre could usually engineer compassionate leave on the recommendation of a home visit by the naval welfare department, comprised in the main by appropriately trained WRNS senior ratings.

Some of these uniforms and issues were still extant when I joined in 1953!

Let's now look at the naval ratings uniform worn by sailors in WW1 and for many years after it, including the bit about PRIVATE MOURNING BANDS which is on Page 841 of the pdf file following  WORLD WAR 1 NAVAL UNIFORMS.pdf In this file, class I uniforms are those of CPO's fore and aft rig - class II are for PO's and all men dressed as seamen in square rig - class III fore and aft rig but with red cap badges and black horn buttons on tunics etc for ratings of the following branches: writers, stores, victualling, cooks ships company, cooks officers, stewards, coders E = education working with schoolies and coders S = cypher working in the cryptographic centre of wireless offices, sick bay rating of all medical specialisation including dental. Other branches as stated. There are one or two strange entries, like the cholera belts for example, which are explained on the internet, but if you get stuck and wish to know the answer don't hesitate to ask me. Note in particular the Tartan Suit for onboard wear - i.e, not for going ashore in! Also note the comment about drawers on page 840 in the Notes section, which are underpants! Not normally worn.........? I find the comment about class II serge trousers fascinating. For years I have always believed that the trousers worn by yachtsmen serving on the Royal Yacht were unique to them by specific design and not used by other sailors. The waistband, the lacing and the bow at the back [either blue or white} were also applications used by rank and file sailors; also on trousers, note the twelve inch bell bottoms! In my time in a sailors suit, we used to soak the bottom of our "bells" in warm water, and then stretch them over the end of an upturned dhoby bucket as far down the bucket towards the bucket handle as possible. Twenty two inches was easy to achieve and in fact, especially on the tidily best suit, it became the norm for attracting the girl and for showing off in great style: bleached collar and white front + slit collar + cap on back of head + cuffs unbuttoned and folded back and the world was one's oyster!

Naval officers also had numbered rigs and ran from 1 to 8 as opposed to ratings which ran from 1 to 9. Officers rigs were:-

No. 1 Full dress

No. 2 Ball dress

No. 3 Frock coat with epaulettes

No. 4 Frock coat

No. 5 Undress coat

No. 6 Mess dress

No. 7 Mess undress

No. 8 White undress

54. Rigs like half blues or half whites were liberty boat rigs for going ashore on local leave. The rig made sense in the early 20th century meaning that for half blues, one wore a blue top [the ubiquitous 'bluejacket'] with white duck trousers: for half whites, duck trousers and a white shirt for class I and III, and a blue check shirt [a white front] for class II. Later on, half blues meant best No1 blue trousers and a white shirt/white front, or, for night clothing for those staying aboard, No's 2 or 3 blue trousers.

55. Medals and their position of wearing is usually well understood, one's own on the left hand side starting over the heart and moving out to the left shoulder, such that a VC [for example] takes prime position in the centre of the chest and a LSGC [long service and good conduct medal] at the end of the row or rows when considering medal ribbons sewn onto the jacket, except that special medals like a life saving award for example, is worn on the left. Also on the left, relatives medals can be worn on suitable occasions like those revering the dead at remembrance parades. The Queens permission would be needed for the wearing of foreign medals, and whilst men who fought on French soil in WW1 and WW2 were subsequently awarded French decorations [Légion d’honneur,Croix de Guerre etc] in more modern times, my favourite foreign medal was given to Surgeon Commander [later Captain] Richard Jolly RN by the Argentine authorities for his humane medical services provided to the wounded of that nation during the Falklands war of 1982, when he demonstrably showed that all wounded combatants were entitled to care and nursing of the highest order possible. However, I did see something I considered unusual in the wearing of medals in times of WW1 onwards which was the "Good Shooting Medal". Difficult to believe that it was so highly thought about by the Admiralty, that it would allow it to  be worn with a row of British naval war and service medals on the left hand side immediately before and next to the Naval LSGC as the penultimate medal. See these Admiralty instructions from  January 1915 cropped from one page 847 printed in two parts of the page, as shown here:-



this is a photocopy of pages 158 and 159 from a book dealing with honours awards, war medals and others

On page 158 took to the bottom left for the start of the story and on page 159 to the top right for the conclusion. On page 159 it states that the Shooting Medal is highly prized. Second only to the VC was the DSO. Between the many combatant forces in the navy, army, marines, royal flying corps, RAF, scores upon scores of DSO's were awarded to many brave men, but only a handful were rated as valuable as the very few Naval Good Shooting Medals. Doesn't make sense; does it?


The medal below is owned by Cambridge University and specifically by the Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum. Note a PO1 wore square rig [bell bottoms] with crossed anchors and a crown above, whereas a PO2 wore a single anchor [a killick] with a crown above.


Naval Good Shooting Medal, awarded to PO1 A. Gass 1905

Naval Good Shooting Medal, 1905

There had been a medal awarded for Army shooting competitions in the years 1869 to 1883, but in 1902 the Admiralty decided to recognise achievement in the gunnery competitions held at the Annual Fleet Competitions with a similar medal. It was first awarded in 1903 and was discontinued with the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. It seems that medals were awarded for first place with each sort of gun in the fleet, from small arms right through to 15" guns.
This medal was awarded to Petty Officer 1st Class A. Gass, of the pre-Dreadnought battleship HMS Revenge, for the 1905 competition with the 6-inch quick-firing gun which comprised that ship's secondary armament. Lester Watson purchased the medal at some point before 1928.

Obverse, a bust of King Edward VII in naval uniform
Reverse, a figure of Neptune, nude, facing right and holding five thunderbolts in each hand, before the bows of a trireme and three horses' heads

56.  The Royal Naval Division [RND] were an infantry outfit serving in what can only be called a massive outfit of tens upon tens of thousands of other infantry men, which collectively were referred to as the PBI, meaning "poor bloody infantry" such was their slaughter at the fronts. This is what the British Army had available  in the field of battle not counting all other key units e.g., tank corps, machine gun corps, artillery, engineers etc:-

Guards 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th divisions - 9th Scottish div, 10th Irish div, 11th Northern div, 12th Eastern div, 13th Western div, 14th Light div, 15th Scottish div, 16th Irish div, 17th Northern div, 18th Eastern div, 19th Western div, 20th Light div, 21st div, 22nd div, 23rd div, 24th div, 25th div, 26th div, 27th div, 28th div, 29th div, 30th div, 31st div, 32nd div, 33rd div, 34th div, 35th div, 36th Ulster div, 37th div, 38th Welsh div,  39th div, 40th div, 41st div, 42nd East Lancashire div, 43rd Wessex div, 44th Home Counties div, 45th 2nd Wessex div, 46th North Midlands div, 47th 1/2 London div, 48th South Midland div, 49th West Riding div, 50th Northumbrian div, 51st Highland div, 52nd Lowland div, 53rd Welsh div, 54th East Anglia div, 55thWest Lancashire div, 56th 1/2 London div,  57th 2nd West Lancashire div, 58th 2nd North Midland div, 59th 2/2nd London div, [No 60th] 61st 2nd South Midland div, 62 2nd West Riding div, 63rd 2nd Northumbrian div Army, 63rd Royal Naval div, 64th 2nd Highland div, 65th 2nd Lowland div, 66th 2nd East Lancashire div, 67th 2nd Home Counties div, 68th 2nd Welsh div, 69th 2nd East Anglia div, [No 70th] 71st div, 72nd div, 73rd div, 74th Yeomanry div, 75th div. Note our divisional number, number 63.

Of interest, this is how the 63rd infantry division was formed:-

Most of the lead roles, general officers and commanding officers were either major generals or colonels  from the two branches of the Royal Marines, either RMA [Royal Marine Artillery] or RMLI [Royal Marine Light Infantry]

63rd Division

Administrative Staff
commanded by a major general RMA
48 Victoria Street
London SW

Divisional Field Headquarters
General Officer commanding,
major general RMLI
Hon Colonel Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher

188th Brigade
1st Royal Marine battalion
2nd Royal Marine battalion
Howe Naval battalion
Anson Naval battalion
Trench mortar battery
Machine gun company
Drake Naval battalion
Nelson Naval battalion
Hood Naval battalion
Hawke Naval battalion

189th Brigade
Trench mortar battery
Machine gun company

190th Brigade
Trench mortar company
Divisional troops
Trench mortar battery
Engineer units
Signals company
Divisional train

Medical units supporting the 63rd division
Divisional HQ
1st Field Ambulance
2nd Field Ambulance
3rd Field Ambulance
Special medical services

Blandford Camp Dorset
1st Reserve battalion
2nd Reserve battalion
3rd Reserve battalion
4th Reserve battalion
1st Reserve Royal Marine battalion
Machine gun companies
Officers camp
Divisional engineers
Divisional train
Ordnance company
Medical unit
Accountants offices
Officers temporarily unattached

Royal Naval Division Crystal Palace South  London
All support functions for training RND recruits
in infantry drills and practices plus in signalling at
a purpose built signal school.

57. Well, that's one way of getting there, and yes, possibly the Royal Navy could afford a ship's motor boat were we ever in that fortunate position! Date line 17th June 1920.

58.  Do you know that way back, well before WW1, and even a long time before HMS Victory was dragged from her Portsmouth harbour mooring into No2 dry-dock Portsmouth dockyard [1922], there was already a Portsmouth Naval and Dockyard Museum? Yes, of course you did! Its very first curator was M.E. Prescott Esq ISO [Imperial Service Order] who was also the secretary to  the appointment of Admiral  Superintendent Portsmouth, the acknowledged "boss" of Portsmouth dockyard; he was usually a rear or vice admiral.

59.    A very touching and melancholy picture.

King George V and his son Duke of York [to be King George VI] visited France and Belgium between 30 Nov and 10 Dec1918 and here view  the temporary grave of his one time equerry Major Lord Charles Mercer-Nairne who was killed over four years previously at Ypres Oct 1914.

60.  A magnificent memorial for an "AB Wireless Operator" one Douglas Morris Henry Harris RNVR who was K.I.A.,  in H.M. Drifter 'Foandi' 15th May 1917 in the Adriatic.

61. A topical [and not typical, thank God] WW1 conscientious objector,  Harold Frederick BING, an absolutist,  imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs 1916-1919.

62.  Have a look at the photograph below and guess at what regiment this officer served in during WW1?

He wasn't....that is, he wasn't a soldier! He was an admiral, Admiral R.F.O. Foote, and khaki was the rig worn by officers serving abroad and ashore in WW1: however we can't see his rank because we can't see his sleeves on which will be his naval stripes, only not in gold by in khaki. Such a smart man spoiled, I think, by a scruffy set of whiskers.

Anyway, these were the dress regulations  applicable in those days, but before them, an interesting and British historic change to uniforms. The Red Coats worn by British infantry were  famous in the 17th to 19th centuries. At the end of the 19th, to fight the second Boer war 1899-1902, the British army changed into khaki uniforms and abandoned for all time its famous red coats. The navy, when ashore, followed their lead.

63.  A cap tally of WW1 RNVR. This is able seaman Thomas VIZARD

64.  HMS Dolphin in 1938!

The present H.M.S. DOLPHIN, which for 13 years has been depot ship of the Submarine Service at Gosport and nominal flagship of. the Rear Admiral (Submarines), is to be scrapped, and on her removal the special service vessel ABERFOYLE is to be commissioned as the DOLPHIN in her place. The ABERFOYLE, a ship of 210 tons, has been one of the tenders to the DOLPHIN since 1929. She will be the third submarine parent ship to be known as DOLPHIN. The first, a sloop launched in 1882. was allocated for the duty in August, 1912, when the present Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes was appointed as the first Commodore (S) at Gosport. This DOLPHIN served till 1924, when she was relieved by the present ship, formerly the PANDORA, a merchant ship purchased in 1914 for use with submarines. Dolphin is a very old name in the Navy, and goes back to the capture of the Dutch frigate Delfinen in 1652. It has been borne by about a dozen vessels since then.




Not to be confused with the famous tea clipper parked in Greenwich SE London, the private steam yacht Cutty Sark was built, from plates originally destined for an S class destroyer, by Yarrow and Co Ltd of Scotstoun for Major Henry Keswick (1870–1928) of Jardine’s. She was launched on 18 March 1920.

She had a length of 263 ft (80 m); beam of 25 ft (7.6 m) and draught of 16 ft (4.9 m), and a gross registered tonnage of 883. Originally she had 4 Yarrow turbines of 5,000 bhp (3,700 kW) giving her a speed of 24 knots (44 km/h). Though fast, she was uncomfortable in anything like a sea.

Major Keswick took her on a round the world voyage to visit Jardine’s interests in the Far East. She left Stranraer on 4 November 1920 and arrived back at that port on 26 July 1921. The route followed was through the Mediterranean to the Far East, arriving in Hong Kong on 20 January 1921, and finally leaving Yokohama for home via Panama on 25 May 1921. Whilst in the Far East she visited Korea, Hankow, Wei-Hai-Wei, Tsingtao, Tientsin, Kurhashi-shima, Awashima and Shodoshima. The longest non-stop run was 3,391 nautical miles (6,280 km) from Yokohama to Honolulu.

In 1926 the Duke of Westminster acquired the Cutty Sark, cruising her from North Norway to the Red Sea. Up to the Second World War, she became a familiar sight at Cowes, Biarritz, the Mediterranean and the west coast of Scotland. She was captained by Commander Richard Herbert Mack RN (Retd) who had been mentioned in despatches during World War I.

Picture above of Cdr Richard Herbert Mack  RN - Owner and Skipper of HMS Cutty Sark.

In Noël Coward's play, Private Lives, set on the Riviera, in the first-act balcony scene Amanda asks; "Whose yacht is that?" "The Duke of Westminster's I expect", Elyot replies "It always is."

During this period she hosted many famous people including the Churchills, Coco Chanel, and, in September 1935, the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson. They took a short cruise to Corsica with many VIP’s and celebrities aboard.  

In February 1930 the Duke married Loelia Ponsonby in London. After the ceremony, the happy couple made their way to Westminster Pier, from where the Duke piloted his bride by high speed launch to the Cutty Sark, moored at Deptford.  Unfortunately  the bride was extremely seasick during the Channel crossing.

On the outbreak of war in September 1939 the Cutty Sark was requisitioned by the Admiralty, still captained by Cdr Mack, and sent to Thorneycroft's at Southampton to be fitted out and armed as an Anti-Submarine vessel. Armament included a 4 in gun, a 2-pounder AA, two 0.5 in AAs, two 0.5 in MGs, and some depth charge racks. Most of her peacetime equipment was put into store at Thorneycroft's.

In 1940 she was converted into a submarine tender and attached to the 3rd Submarine Flotilla. She was manned by the Royal Naval Patrol Service. She was paid off on 23 August 1944.

Interestingly, the Duke of Westminster sold the ‘Cutty Sark to Cdr Mack in 1941, so at that stage he owned the warship he commanded. The ship was eventually acquired by the Ministry of War Transport in 1942.

Her war service was mainly routine escort work, and she is mentioned several times in this capacity in Edward Young’s book, One of Our Submarines.

However in May 1940 she was ordered to Dunkirk, but then diverted to Saint Malo to destroy some radio masts, which was successfully achieved. While she was alongside the quay she was dive bombed blowing in the side of the ship and flooding the engine room. The engines being out of action, a "V&W" destroyer, HMS Viscount towed her back to Devonport in two days for repairs.

In late October 1942 an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley on anti-submarine patrol came down in the Bay of Biscay. The crew took to their life raft and were located by a Lockheed Hudson. However, there were no nearby ships to rescue them so the Cutty Sark was scrambled from Holy Loch. The crew were picked up after 84 hours in the water on 2 November 1942 and taken to Plymouth. After 3 weeks in naval hospital they were found by the RAF and transferred to Weston-super-Mare. From there they were posted to No. 9 Squadron RAF at RAF Waddington and then RAF Bardney in Lincoln. They named their new Avro Lancaster Cutty Sark. It flew 30 missions before being shot down.

Cutty Sark also appears, by name, in the 1943 film, Close Quarters.

By 1944 the need for requisitioned vessels had diminished, and HMS Cutty Sark was laid up at King’s Lynn and used by the Sea Cadets.

Post World War II

In 1946 she was acquired, in an unseaworthy condition, as a training ship by the Jewish Marine League. The League had been founded in 1934 with the aim of training boys for a future Israeli merchant marine. The original intention was to call her Tarshish, but a decision was taken to name her after Joseph Hertz 1872–1946, Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth 1913–1946. To raise funds for the enterprise, the League held a concert of Jewish Music at the Royal Albert Hall on 5 February 1946 with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anatole Fistoulari.

In July 1946 some forty boys arrived at King’s Lynn to join the ship. These boys had come from the continent and were all displaced persons; some of them had been in German concentration and labour Camps. Captain A Stratton RN was appointed Captain Superintendent. While at King’s Lynn, it was decided to remove the engines and boilers in order to provide recreation space. When this work was completed, the ship was towed to Grays, taking up the moorings previously used by the Marine Society's Training Ship Warspite. Training the boys for sea service continued for some twelve months by which time most of them were over seventeen years of age and ready for sea. However, there was great difficulty in placing boys with shipping companies and it was decided not to continue with the venture and the ship closed at the end of June 1947.

She was sold to Thos W Ward, shipbreakers, and in September she made her last short journey to their yard at Grays. The Cutty Sark was broken up by April 1948.

66.  No! Not a three badge able seaman [3 badges meaning 12 years of good conduct service from the age of 18 [or after, if having joined later than 18] so normally meaning at least the age of 30 when the photograph was taken]; the three good conduct badges [not stripes as in other armed forces, and in the navy only officers wear stripes denoting their rank] being worn on the left sleeve.  It is the photograph of a sergeant serving with the Royal Naval Division in  No 63 Division. Note three stripes [not badges in this case] on his right sleeve!

67.  Henry Charles Seymour - a picture which oozes character by face and stance [or what we can see of it]. He was killed on 6th October 1917 whilst serving in HMS Begonia. A difference of opinion then, and seemingly still to this day,  although all involved would have been long gone by now, is that his parents said he was a leading seaman but the IWGC  [Imperial] and now the Commonwealth] War Graves Commission have him recorded as a leading signalman! Note the tidily lanyard, possibly acting as a bosun's chain with a whistle on the end -somewhere? He clearly wears a seamans-type branch badge and not crossed flags!

68. And yes, even unwieldy vessels [if they can be classed as such] can travel huge distances - this is a floating dock in WW1, travelling from the UK to Singapore and seen in the Suez Canal.!

 69.  1918 and German UBoat U48 limps into Harwich harbour to surrender to the Senior Officer Rear Admiral Cayley. Note the subservience of the Germans as their Royal Ensign flutters below the majesty of the British Royal Ensign, the classic sign of a naval unconditional surrender, and act akin to striking her colours after which all hostile action ceases by the victor. The German crew crowd the after conning tower with more further for'ard  on the casing, whilst the RN team assigned to the boat's surrender stay aft observing. Out of shot will be RN escorting vessels should the Germans try any tricks!

70.  Another German artefact is this cap tally of SMS [His Majestys Ship] Koenig Albert, a Kaiser Class WW1 German  battleship.

71. and this you will readily recognise? Well, you might not, because its the collar the German wearer of the cap tally above would have worn - yes it is a German seaman's collar!

72.  One of the ways of guessing at the speed of a vessel through the water is the timing of the bow wave , especially the second, and especially as observed through a submarines periscope.  Camouflage came in many  different ways, and here, the British have adopted a method of physically  painting the first bow wave onto the ships side, to help fool a user of this method.  The sailor standing on the buoy is the painter attended by a safety boat.

73.  Below you will see the WW1 light cruiser HMS Curacao alongside the wall at Harwich, in that war with a pennant number of D41. Built and commissioned in the last year of the war, she saw little of it, and was based on Harwich. In WW2 she had a tragic end.  On one of her Atlantic high speed crossings  west to east, the liner Queen Mary, heading for Glasgow before starting her east to west journey back to the USA, was joined by the slow WW1 cruiser HMS Curacao, there to provide an anti-air escort for the journey from top of Ireland to the Clyde. The two ships in company, zigzagging to confuse submarines, were poor bed-fellows and the slower ship was almost bound to fall foul of the massive liner thrashing through the waves with orders to maintain full speed notwithstanding. Sadly Curacao got under the gigantic  bow of the liner and was dragged under, the weight of the Queen [fully loaded, calculated to be 85,000 tons] effectively splitting her in half.  75% of the complement of 443 = 338 men were lost. It is stated that the master of the liner wasn't even aware that he had run-over a cruiser with a displacement of just a tad over 4000 long tons [another name for a 'displacement ton']. A dreadfully bad sad day for the Royal Navy and the country at large!

74.  King George V greets officers of a patrol boat at a Glasgow builders yard in October 1917. Note the composition of the officers. On the left is a warrant officer and if we could see his sleeves we would see three buttons on fluted cuffs - note that his tunic has four buttons whereas a CPO has but three buttons. Next to him is a WO of over ten years seniority with one ¼" stripe above his three buttons: there are no chief warrant officers [CWO =  ½" stripe above his three cuff buttons] or commissioned warrant officers aboard this vessel. The other two are obvious, namely young  lieutenants. The more senior of the two will have been appointed as the CO and the other as the 1st Lieutenant. Note that the ceremony is not a handshake with  the monarch but a laying-on of hands, left hands in this case. The officers have bared their left hands from their brown kid standard issue gloves, carrying their gloves in their right hands. They lay their palms on the king's out-stretched back of-left hand.

75.  A WW1 custom repeated at all naval establishment or dockyards, was for naval divisions or ships company's of selected ships, to file past a dais or an elevated area on which stood the male monarch,  in single file  to personally  and individually salute his king. It was usually accompanied by a band, either a blue-jacket band or a Royal Marine band.  The officers would have preceded their men to pay their allegiance.

See picture below

and here's another example of this custom, when, crew members of the Dreadnought battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth file past King George V and Admiral Sir David Beatty standing on the quarterdeck,  to give a personal salute. The date, early summer 1917, at a time when Admiral of the Fleet Jellicoe was the First Sea Lord and Acting Admiral Beatty had assumed the duties of C-in-C following on from Jellicoe. The contraption you see in front of the King looks rather like a "rabbit" [made on board by the chippy] well suited to be a


catafalque, which was

a decorated wooden framework supporting the coffin of a distinguished person during a funeral or while lying in state], however,  grossly out of place here so perhaps not!
 Apart from the bunting wrapped around the upper timbers as a cushion {?} it has [as viewed]  a union jack on the port side and an admirals flag  - a St George's banner - on the starboard side. Note no creases in those bell-bottom trousers, a custom started in the 1930's when either, by personal choice , one could have five creases [said to be for five OCEANS, and that makes sense viz Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic] or seven creases for seven SEAS, but which ones? - there are at least five inside the environs of the Mediterranean Sea alone, viz, Sea of Marmara, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea].  BUT, NO, they didn't mean Seas as we know them to be, but believe it or not the OCEANS conveniently split into sections.  The seven were North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian; I was a "seven seas" boy and man myself!

76.  The construction of the Royal Naval Division, the Naval  63rd infantry division [there was also an Army 63rd] is shown above in paragraph 56. Many in the division  were interned by the Dutch in Holland in the prison camp called HMS Timberdown in November 1914. Here we see the bluejack detainees relaxing throwing snowballs at one another.

77.  The navy's monitor HMS Marshal Ney seen bombarding the enemy on the Belgian coastal areas in WW1. Marshal Ney was seen by Wellington and the British as a formidable and honourable French Marshal who fought in the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic War which followed: Napoleon called him the bravest of the brave - that, in a nut shell was the reason for revering his name and for renaming our vessel from M14 to HMS Marshal Ney. A great percentage of the French people also held Marshal Ney in high regard considering him to be a true French hero. However, during the Battle of Waterloo, his last of many, Marshal Ney was accused by some, as having not used his cavalry to best effect nor had he *spiked the guns of the allies [chiefly British and German]. That 'some' reckoned that had he done so, Napoleon would have won the day. It was shown by many experts that that was an unfair and unreasonable assessment of the Marshal and that he had fought well and bravely as usual. Nevertheless, France, now totally humiliated having lost the Battle of Waterloo,  wanting  a scapegoat to answer for the defeat, tried him, sentenced him to death and he was executed by firing squad in 1815. The result was to divide French opinion for nearly one hundred years.

* Soldiers in all but artillery regiments carried small metal spikes with a hammer when in the field. When an artillery piece and its crew had been disabled, the spike was driven into the small hole which was the access point for a flame or spark [the fuse] to ignite the powder charge and to eject the shell. With the spike hammered into position there was no way the piece could be fired again until the spike was removed, which, without  the right tool was extremely difficult!

78. The USA joined the WW1 combatants in 1917 driven to that decision by the declaration of unrestricted German UBoat warfare which destroyed many U.S., vessel along its eastern seaboard even though it was a neutral country, and most controversially, the sinking of the liner Lusitania with many American citizen aboard. This picture shows the stores gathered in the USA ready for shipment to Europe to support US Forces in the field.

79.  As WW1 progressed,  German POW camps started to appear in the UK. Eventually they became more like we expect POW camps to be,  'huts surrounded by a barbed wire fences' of sorts. This is one of the early ones. The prisoners have been housed in the stables of racing horses at the Newbury Race Course, and as can be seen, it is almost a laisser-faire attitude adopted by the so-called British guards!

80.  In 1914, the German High Seas Fleet were ordered across the German Sea [officially called that and marked so on maps produced by the British] but to us the North Sea, to bombard a selection of England's northeast coastal towns, as a reprisal for Admiral Sturdee's destruction of Admiral Graf Spee's German East Asia Squadron  at the Battle of the Falklands earlier in 1914 in which Graf Spee and his two sons died. The towns were Scarborough, Whitby, Hartlepool and West Hartlepool. What follows are pictures of those incidences. A little later on in 1915, German Zepplin airships bombed areas further south, particularly the town of Kings Lynn in Norfolk, but on into Kent to bomb Gillingham in 1917.

Shell damage on a house in Whitby

Funeral of a shelling victim in Scarborough

Funeral of a naval coastguard  in Whitby. The Coastguard was a integral part of the Royal Navy, hence a full military funeral.

The destruction caused by a Zepplin in Kings Lynn Norfolk

A naval funeral for a seaman killed at Gillingham during a 1917 Zepplin raid

81. The WW1 German air ace Max Von Muller reputed to have shot down 36 allied aircraft: he was killed in action in January 1918. However, whilst an 'ace for sure' his performance was well below that of the so-called RED BARON Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen who was credited with 80 kills!

82. Merchant Navy personnel suffered hugely at the hands of the WW1 UBoat service. This picture shows a busy area of Central Station Glasgow with mercantile marine personnel queuing to be acknowledge for their bravery and commitment to the feeding of the nation as well as for transporting troops and equipment which kept our manufacturing processing going throughout the war.  A sizable number of these mariners had been torpedoed three times. Germany, without a substantial mercantile marine and totally blockaded in by the Royal Navy, surrendered simply because their nation was visibly starving to death [food and materiel's] although their troops on the western front continued to eat well!

83. The GPO mail sorting offices functioned as near normal as possible, doing their very best to keep the spirits and morale of the fighting forces as high as they could. A sorting office is a sorting office come war or peace, so no pictures of those here. However, the war brought untold masses into the war displaced from their homelands, and the allies in particular had fighting troops speaking and using written correspondence in scores upon scores of different languages. Additionally, security in wartime was of prime concern and there were lots of 'checking points' to make sure that information was not leaked [even unwittingly] through letters of endearment home to loved ones.  Ships, squadrons and divisions had their own censorship officers, but so too did the GPO. Below I show you two photographs, the first of an area dealing with security, in which letters which flout the rules of security are isolated and undelivered, at least until the war was over, and are being bagged-up awaiting that joyous occasion: they are called "condemned mail". The second employs linguists and interpreters endeavouring to sort out the many addresses on envelopes etc, in order that the mail can be as speedily handle as it was for mail addressed in English. The trays in front of the operatives have provisions to sort in languages.

84.  An early WW1 RNAS [Royal Naval Air Service] Short 184 seaplane aircraft attached to HMS Ark Royal.

85.  The carrier HMS Eagle alongside the wall in 1926 in Devonport's south yard after having completed its first refit after two years in commission mainly in the Mediterranean. She was first ordered by Chile in 1911 to be built as a Dreadnought battleship, but in 1918 the British needed it more than did Chile did and the Admiralty bought it back from the South Americans. It took, on and off, until 1924 when the change over from battleship to aircraft carrier, the largest in the world in 1926, was completed. She carried approximately thirty aeroplanes.

86. Most of my readers will know of where the ONLY remaining COLLEGE of the Royal Navy is situated today in the latter part of the second decade of the 21st century? Yes, BRNC at Dartmouth or HMS Dartmouth will do, the latter name given in 1953 when its then name Britannia was given to the new Royal Yacht.

Loosely connected to the college complex albeit 187 steps down towards the River Dart,  is a building called Sandquay Foundry where today that building is used to teach seamanship, and boat work is exercised.

Many years ago at the time of WW1, Sandquay was an engineering complex with a well known and productive foundry turning out many metal parts etc.

The following pictures show BRNC cadets learning the ropes of this complex as part of their training before going aloft [up the steep steps] to start their naval training.

Cadets in the foundry at Sandquay

Cadets in the boiler smiths shop Sandquay

Cadets in the coppersmiths shop

Cadets in the machine shop Sandquay

Sandquay upper level of machine shop.

87.  One of many pets/mascots in warships, this one in the lap of luxury.  HMS Repulse had several animals and this one is called Ginger.

88.  In 1918 many German UBoats surrendered in Harwich although the bulk ended up in the River Foyle at Londonderry and then were taken to the very top of Ireland where they were unceremoniously ditched into the Atlantic Ocean at Malin Head's Banba's Crown. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile, but the extreme tip of the island of Ireland is part of Eire [the Republic] and not part of the UK. The picture below shows several groups of UBoats awaiting their disposal instructions.

89.   WW1 HM S/M B1 proudly enters Portsmouth Harbour, soon to do a 'left hand down' to steer into Haslar Creek and thus to its berth, a trot on HMS Dolphin's jetty.

90.  WW1 surrender into the arms of the Senior Naval Officer Harwich Rear Admiral Cayley.  A British naval officer checks the paper of the German submarine captain. Note his excessively smart appearance with black tie and smart tunic coat. Behind the British investigating officer and to the left, are RN personnel awaiting the outcome whilst the German crew is for'ard on the casing awaiting permission to hump and dump the baggage just for'ard of the conning tower into the boat alongside in which the senior officer [a commander] is standing.

91.  WW1 British submarine G9 in Scapa Flow Orkney Islands, Scotland, the place where the German High Seas Fleet surface units surrendered en bloc.

92. Officers in the wardroom in a battleship drinking to the King. This toast is given every evening after dinner in British warships and is drunk sitting, by permission of William IV. The reason of the permission was that on one occasion, when the King was dining in the wardroom, he rose to return thanks after the toast and bumped his head, owing to the narrow space between decks in those days.

93. Workers in the Municipal Kitchen set up in the Hammersmith Public Baths and Wash-Houses, Lime Grove, London, 10 September 1917. The kitchen could produce 30,000 to 40,000 food portions, comprising 20,000 full meals a day after being established by the Hammers.

94. Shotley Barracks were used for informal occasions [theatres, sports days, social fun days etc] by Harwich authorities, ships and minor establishments] fittingly so because the boss of Harwich was also the boss of Shotley Barracks, viz, one Rear Admiral Cayley from 1917 and before that as a commodore 2nd class.  In the picture below, this fun day was organised by the Harwich armed fishing boats. Note the comic policeman attempting to arrest the rear admiral. One small problem I can see, namely that all the officers appear to be wearing their caps which means that all ratings present plus junior officers spent the day saluting them. The mast is obvious, but look south to another mast. This was rigged in 1910 down the slope towards the River Stour as a device for training signalmen. Telegraphists didn't go to Shotley until 1913. Later on, the signal school was built, more or less where this mast used to stand. Note the top of the building immediately over the cap of the commander shown left. This was one of the sheds in which submarine nets were made. See this file for details

95.  Now to dry docks, or at least to what most of us think a dry dock should be; applies equally to floating docks also. That is, that a vessel sits well and evenly on the keel blocks, props being placed between the sides of the vessel and the sides of the dock to keep it bold upright, finely  adjusted before the water is pumped out or the floating dock is raised. So what of that understanding in the following picture? A severe imbalance I would say, and that keel to keel block looks positively iffy! Anyway, if you are not au fait with submarines, a couple of interesting points to note.  Between the propellers is the long, tall, thin rudder and near the top are what appear to be paddles: they are,  but on a submarine they are called hydroplanes. They tilt up and down rather like the wing flaps of an aircraft only in this case, water does the trick instead of air passing over the surface of the planes. There are two here down aft and two up front of the submarine. The back ones control the level of the dive controlled by a spirit level and its proverbial bubble called a clinometer. Its important that the dive is not too severe [too steep]  usually no more that two degrees of bubble down and when surfacing the same, but up. You can see that the group of the rudder, the propellers, and the hydroplanes have a direct affect on one another they being so close together, and this requires skill to make sure that any movement of any of these devices, particularly alterations in speed and alteration of course steered does not adversely contradict the trim set separately by the first lieutenant as soon as possible after having dived to periscope depth,  to level the boat horizontally. For that reason, the after planesman is always a CPO or a PO. The for'ard hydroplanes keeps the ordered depth, so that planesman, a junior rate, watches a depth gauge and not the bubble on the clinometer.  These planes are not as volatile as those back aft so his job is less demanding although of course very important! The funny looking thin metal bars surrounding the after hydroplanes merely protect the hydroplanes proper from ships coming too close to the surfaced submarine. On modern submarines these planeguards, which stick out more that the ends of the planes themselves  are made of solid metal and are placed above the planes. They do not move and are welded to the submarine as permanent protectors.  The for'ard hydroplanes are protected by turning them to face upwards out of harms way, rather like we turn in our car external door mirrors to protect them when parking.  

96. In WW1, the Straits of Dover were crucially important, to,  and at all costs, deny an open and direct route to the Atlantic especially for UBoats. It was therefore heavily netted, and also the very famous Dover Patrol operated there as a very effective back-stop. That meant the Germans had to travel north far up the North Sea and then turn to port when way past the northern Shetland Islands, and either pass through the southern route called the Iceland-Faroe Gap [the easiest and preferred route] or the longer Iceland-Greenland Gap out into the Atlantic. This adversely affected the time-on-station for these German units for by that time, they had already used 20% of their fuel, and needed another 20% to get back to base, leaving only 60% for operations.

Back to the heavily guarded English Channel route with its nets, mines and ships of the Dover Patrol. This next picture gives you some idea of the sheer patrol power of the navy in this area, added to which were the MTB's and the RAF patrols. These are just some of Dover's protectors, ML'S = motor launches, many carrying mines, depth charges, torpedo's 40mm guns and up to three inch guns.

97.  Harwich, had 38 submarines stationed on it. In my time in boats ceremonial divisions were very few and far between once the original commissioning ceremony was out of the way. This picture therefore quite surprised me [especially in war time]! These are submariners [playing to the camera] awaiting their captain's inspection, or it could be Captain S/M's inspection or even the Senior Officer Harwich inspection. Whatever, they do look smart, neat and natty, so where does this absurd statement of "we come unclean" come from ?

98.  How many of you don't know the difference between a smooth-bore and a rifled-barrel gun? Not many I suspect. If you do  know that, then equally you will know the reason for keeping a small arm like a rifle clean,  and how the pull-cord is used to clean the rifling of small debris which could inhibit the smooth passage of the bullet down the barrel. But what if you didn't have a pull cord with a large enough cleaning device attached to the end of it; what then? Simple, you just grab a bootneck [a Royal Marine] or a junior rate gun-buster, push him into the breech with a nylon line around his neck and pull him through until he drops out the other end of the barrel. Don't believe me? Have a look at this. This is a barrel in a turret of a 15 inch calibre guns  as fitted in a British battleship. The bootnecks, three in number here, are doing a fine job - one hopes, but that must be a painful and  claustrophobic experience?

99.     We all know that funerals can take place at sea, but rarely in peacetime or where a deceased person can be landed for an interment in wartime. This rather sad picture shows a seaboat held steady by the boathook until ready to depart from HMS Kent to go ashore at Hakeddate Japan in WW1 [Japan was an ally of ours] to bury a comrade. The coffin sits in the bottom of the boat almost into the stern sheets wrapped in what appears to be a white ensign and bedecked with floral tributes and a union jack. The crew numbers three, and the coffin bearers seven, with the seventh man to walk ahead in front of the coffin during the ceremony. The men are dressed in half blues with a traditional bluejacket and fine white duck trousers, wearing a sennet hat.  Clearly it will not be pulled ashore and one must assume that it will be towed or propelled in some other dignified manner!

100.  Blimps or static air balloons were often used tethered above capital ships at anchor to deter aerial bombing. In this case and regularly used, is a tethered balloon with an observers basket strung below which is gradually released to achieve a pre determined height for spotting the enemy over the horizon. On a large capital ship this was usually done when under way by the sea plane the ship carried. No radar in those far off days!


101.  At the turn of the 20th century, CPO's wore an array of badges on the jacket lapels which were really manifestations of former gunnery and torpedo branch badges, neither, one on one, making sense, for one group had many stars [depicting higher levels of knowledge], whilst others, also claiming an upper echelon, had many fewer stars and additions to their core symbol or cypher. This led to the Admiralty decreeing that from henceforth there would be three badges only worn on the seaman CPO's jacket lapel, gunnery, torpedo and mates! All I need to do here is to talk about 'mates'.  The term, which for good and obvious reasons became associated with the term 'friend' was used to describe a helper, an assistant and even possibly an apprentice, a number two, and was used on both the upper and lower decks. On the upper deck, a bright outstanding petty officer first class or a  young warrant officer [but rarely an old and bold CPO or WO] could be selected to be a mate to a lieutenant, and in this case it was certainly an apprenticeship because the mate ended up as a sub lieutenant in time. On the lower deck, a CPO who was neither in the gunnery or the torpedo branch was considered as being a non-specialist, and his lapel badge was a small killick [a single anchor] just the same as a leading seaman wore, only theirs was larger. There were also many officers who were non-specialist [I had three captains in that category] and they were called "salt horses" - expert seamen, jack's of all trades and master of seamanship and ship handling - who took few shore jobs but many sea going commands. The non specialist seaman CPO became a mate to a senior warrant officer and took a title such as Chief Bosuns Mate, where a chief boatswain was one of the most senior warrant officers [there were three levels of RN WO's] whose next step, but only if very lucky, was a commission to the wardroom. As a mate [to any more senior person than himself] there was always an opportunity to specialise, or in this case, to become a boatswain himself [a basic WO].

Of interest is the rate structure now used by the Royal Navy, who have recently done away with the ORDINARY rate. At this same period [turn of the century 19th to 20th] ratings were recorded as either being HS or CG. HS equated to ABLE RATE or TM [Trained Man] and stood for High Standard, so a HS Signalman knew the ropes [or should that be flags {?}]  and could be trusted to work unsupervised. Now for the CG. It means "common and garden" which is still an expression used today meaning ORDINARY, nothing special. It was a regularly used expression when I was a boy in the 1940's, but because of the verbal-speed in which the expression was delivered, I always thought they were saying "commonal garden". The navy recorded untrained ratings requiring supervision at their place of work as CG Signalman, CG Telegrahist [or sometimes Telegrapher] but before WW1,  changed it to Ordinary Signal man etc.

This is the reference to the non-specialist CPO
Scroll down the page until you arrive at the table showing all the branch badges and continue until you arrive at the single anchor, the killick. Then  look right along the line to column three to read the detail for a CPO wearing this badge and in the right hand column the dates applicable. After the final date shown all ratings had to have a specialisation and dedicated branch.