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Remembered Today:

Chief Officer same as Captain?


Harper
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The attached page from an autograph book has the signature of the Chief Officer of HMAT Madras on a voyage from Egypt to Australia with the 2nd ALH Brigade.

Is "Chief Officer" another way of saying "Captain"?

Does anyone have access to a register or other record that might have the name of the Chief Officer, as I am unable to decipher the signature?

Many thanks

Harper

post-17542-1247511242.jpg

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I think the chief officer is the same thing as the "First Officer" and they report to the Captain of the ship. I think they are 2ic on board.

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In the merchant navy of the time a Chief Officer was often a man with a skipper's ticket (ie qualified to be Captain) who was second in command and able to step into the Captain's shoes if necessary. One of my Gt Uncles was in this position in 1914

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Hi.

Already had the NAA site open, so did some searches on HMAT Madras. The Madras departed Kantara, Suez Canal, June 1919 (28 Jun?) with Australian troops and arrived in Australia possibly 3 Aug. These 3 records may be of interest, although none are available online (copies are available):

Title: MADRAS. Arr Aug 3rd 1919 (by boat)

Series number: AWM31 [Troopship passenger lists]

Control symbol: 302

Contents date range: 1919 - 1919

Barcode: 514917

Title: MADRAS: London June 1919 for Australia

Series number: AWM7 [Troopship records]

Control symbol: MADRAS 1

Contents date range: 1919 - 1919

Barcode: 527816

Title: [AIF Education personnel for Western Australian quota, HMAT MADRAS] (May)

Series number: AWM19 [Australian Imperial Force Depots in the United Kingdom, Assistant Director of Education files, 1914-18 War]

Control symbol: TE 12/157

Contents date range: 1919 - 1919

Barcode: 806025

Some photos from the AWM:

Madras (just before departure)

http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/B01339A

Men of 6th Light Horse embarking

http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/B01339C

Men of 5th Light Horse embarking

http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/B01339B

regards,

Martin

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Correct, "chief officer" = second in command. Also, the title of the person commanding a merchant ship wasn't "captain", it was "master."

And from going through BVLAS way too much, fishing vessels had "skippers", not "masters."

Best wishes,

Michael

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As far as I understand and according to my friend who served in the MM for 40 years, the chief officer was also called the first officer or first mate and as Michael says, in the MM the captain was in fact called the master who represented the company and the chief engineer ran the ship.

Cheers Ron

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Correct, "chief officer" = second in command. Also, the title of the person commanding a merchant ship wasn't "captain", it was "master."

And from going through BVLAS way too much, fishing vessels had "skippers", not "masters."

Best wishes,

Michael

However the Master of a merchantman would be adressed as Captain (both verbally and in writing) and refered to in documents as Captain (sometimes along with the term master as in "Captain Kirby was master of the ship Albion)

The term mate tended not to be used on passenger ships (you might be asigned to, say, the 2nd officer's table but never the 2nd mates's table - very infra dig). The larger lines also followed suite but a rusty funnel line would still have mates. (Note this rule might not apply to Australian ships ^_^ )

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many thanks to everyone who helped with this question. I now understand where the "Chief Officer" ranked on board a merchant ship.

Thanks also to John Prescott of the British India Steam Navigation site (www.biship.com) who suggested that the Chief Officer might be S N Inman, who by 1930 was master of the BI ship SS Chilka. HMAT Madras (aka SS Tanda) was a British India ship before and after the war. From the picture on the AWM site, it appears that in 1919 HMAT Madras was still using the BI livery.

Thanks again for all your help.

Harper

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Wasn't everyone on an Aussie ship called "mate"? :D

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Pio,

you'd get your nickers in a knot if you called the first officer "Mate" on as Aussie ship :lol:

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Nicely put Centurion.

I might add that invariably most officers addressed him as Sir, Engineer officers normally addressed him as Captain.

Alan

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