Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Interpreting Royal Navy Document - Registry of Seamens' Service


Orcbighter1
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I have obtained a copy of my Great Grandfather's Registry of Seamens' Service document from the English National Archives. There were only two pages, from the ADM188 catalogue.

I have managed to decipher some of it, mainly by browsing though this forum. However, some parts of the document are cryptically elusive.

I have a number of questions and if anybody can answer them with authority it would be greatly appreciated.

Pic 1: Top of First Page

Pic 2: Bottom of First Page

Pic 3: Top of Second Page (Folio 85)

Pic 4: Bottom of Second Page (Folio 85)

Pic 1

-----

(1) In the Character column, second-last column on the right hand side of the page, there are numerous entries along the line of VG 31.12.03, and I understand this to mean "Very Good and the date the badge was awarded. However some entries have the letters "sup" attached after them. I have read somewhere that this means "Supplemental", which doesn't seem to make sense, and "Superb", which also seems odd since the rating of VG at the front of the entry already explained the entry. Similarly, some entries have the letters "MSR" or "RMG" after them, and I have no idea what these mean.

(2) In the Ratings column, on the left-hand side of the page, he is promoted from PO1c (Petty Officer 1st Class) to actg C.P.O (OS) or Acting Chief Petty Officer, but I don't know what the (OS) means.

(3) In the Sub-Ratings column in the middle of the page are five entries TM, SG p, act CG, SG, SG.

I assume the 'SG' stands for Seaman Gunner, but I don't know what 'SG p' means.

(4) He spends a lot of time moving between ships, spending a month or even a few days before going to another ship.

Can anyone explain this seemingly unnecessary movement?

(5) He signed up for 12 years Continuous Service in 1893, which he would have completed in 1905.

His list of ships served does not show any break, however. Indeed he completed his C.S. in mid assignment while serving on the Jason, and his record continues uninterrupted up to 1918 (at least on this page. Is this usual? Shouldn't there be some entry about an extension of service, or a initiating a second term of service?

There is a line written under the CS entry at the top of the form:

'Vol .... Non CS 4/4/19' then 'AMO 14 4/19 non cs 30/5/21.

Can anyone explain this?

Pic 2

-----

(6) In the 'Remarks" column at the bottom of the page there is an entry "Tr Medal 16/1/11". Does anyone know what that means?

(7) The next few lines have entries

"Traced Grat 2/2/15".

"Traced Grat 23/4/16".

"Traced Pens 1/2/18".

Does this mean that the Navy determined that Charles Dicketts was entitled to a War Gratuity? Does 'Pens' mean pension? If so, why would they be talking about a pension when he is still serving?

(7) Can anyone decipher the middle column of the Remarks at the bottom of the page?

I have many more questions but I think I will pause here and see how thse questions go.

Thanks in advance for answering any or all of these questions

cheers

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Character is assessed on 31 Dec annually based on conduct record in the calendar year. VG = no detected serious crime. There was no 'VG badge' but these annual assessments determined eligibility to Good Conduct Badges. "Sup" refers to annual assessment of efficiency in his rate, SUP indicating SUPERIOR. RMG = Recommended for [Long Service] Medal and Gratuity.

4. The lists of ships actually indicate the ships that carried his pay accounts. He was not necessarily actually present in all of them. Such regular moves are entirely commonplace in a normal career.

5. Records do not always specify extensions of service to pension. In this case it is indicated at top left "4 Jan 1905 to comp[lete time for pension]". If he continued serving past 12 years his re-engagement is implicit. As his 21-year pensionable engagement expired just before the war he would have remained in service until the end of the war, in his case apparently under a voluntary non-continuous service engagement.

6 & 7. The traces on gratuity and pension indicate that his LS & GC Medal and Pension were awarded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses to my questions.

With your indulgence, I seek some clarifications on the answers:

(A) Charles, you stated the answer to my 3rd question was 'SG 1srt Class, but I don't think there is such a sub-rating. The link here External Data states there were two ratings, Seamen Gunner and Seamen Torpedo. Is there any way to clarify this?

(B ) Charles, you state that (OS) denotes a rating that will die out in 1907. That is obviously an explanation you have determined from other information, yes? Because, he was promoted to C.P.O (OS) in 1904, so it must have meant something else at that time, yes?

(C ) Horatio2, you wrote that the answer to questions 6 & 7 indicated he was awarded the LS & GC Medal. I presume this is a single medal?

What was the code on the document that indicated that it was this particular medal?

(D) Horatio2, you wrote in answer to Q4 that "actually indicate the ships that carried his pay accounts. He was not necessarily actually present in all of them". Can anyone tell me why a seamen would have his pay assigned to a ship he was not serving on? If he was not necessarily serving on a ship listed in his record, how can one determine which ships, and land bases, he was actually present at?

And now for some new questions:

(E) At the top of the document, in the Wounds box, there is something written about his finger; and again, written over the column headings under Period of service. Can anyone decipher this? The second entry seems to read "Yatta middle finger R. hand", which makes no sense.

(F) On the second page of the document (pic 3), there is an entry "??? Bermuda BK" from 30/4/1918 to 8/2/1919.

I cannot find any reference to a ship HMS Bermuda that existed at this time. The last HMS Bermuda was wrecked in 1855. Can anyone shed light on this?

(G) There is an entry on the document refered to as Folio 85. If reads "joined RMR (or RNR) Chatham 4.jan15. A.2836"

(i) If this is RMR = Royal Marine Reserve, or RNR = Royal Navy Reserve, why would he be joinning the reserve in 1915 when he is still on active duty in the navy. Indeed the ship list places him on HMS Cyclops from 14/1/1913 to 3/3/1918?

(ii) What significance does the number A.2836 have?

Again, I have many more questions but I think I will pause here and see how these questions go.

Thanks in advance for answering any or all of these questions

cheers

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (not medals) indicated by the 'Traced Medal' notation - always refers to LS&GC.

Some ships did not carry their own pay accounts and they were 'tenders' to other, larger ships or shore establishments. In reality there is no way of determining precisely where a man was actually serving at any one time. Even if serving in a ship, he could be on detached duty (courses, etc), which might not mean a move of pay account. In general terms, however, he was probably present in the ship (or barracks) indicated by the record.

RFR = Royal Fleet Reserve, which men could join on completion of their engagement and from which they could be recalled in emergency (eg a World War). He was on active duty because he had been so recalled. His RFR number was appended to his RN Official Number. A.2836 was his RFR number, the 'A'prefix indicating that he had completed a pensionable engagement. RFR men you were not on pension had a 'B' prefix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Bermuda entry is an example of 'tenders' I referred to earlier. The entry reads "MUTINE (Bermuda Bk)". Pay accounts were held in the Depot Ship at Bermuda, HMS MUTINE and he actually served in the Bemuda Barracks (I think!). The tender is always in parentheses. (See also in 1919 "BOADICEA (EURYALUS) = he served in HMS EURYALUS, which was a tender to BOADICEA where her pay accounts were held.)

The word is not "Yatta" but "Tattoo". Under wounds it translates as "Ring partly tattooed on right second finger" - clearly either the pain of completing the operation was too much or he ran out of money for the full job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

1890s a lot different to 1937,

Pay Scale for extra pay

13 Gunnery Pay, Seamen Gunners, with 1st Class Certificates per day 0 4

14 Gunnery Pay, Seamen Gunners, with 2nd Class Certificates per day 0 2

Kings Regulations 1913 Appendix XV Part One

Regards Charles

post-7039-0-38294200-1300789258.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Charles (aka Joseph)

May I ask where you sourced the document whose image you attached to the last response? Is it something I would have access to online?

In a suplementary question, if CPO (OS) means that he was assigned the rating of Chief Petty Officer under the Old Scheme that will die out in 1907, Does trhat mean he ceased to be a CPO after that date? Or did he revert to the same CPO rating, but now under the new scheme? Or what?

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

Kings Regulations and Admiralty Instructions for the Royal Navy 1913 Volume Two Appendix XV Part One.

Im not sure if its online I have a copy.

He would keep his rank as Old Scheme as long as he served, the rank died out when the last man left. He was ranked 8a in the order of rank and command but received 2d per day less than a Chief Petty Officer (NS)

Regards Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Hi, I thought I would add this question here rather than start a new topic, as there is a relation to this post.

My Great Grandfather, Charles Dicketts, was enrolled at 15 1/2 years in the Royal Navy. He was given the rank of Boy 2nd Class and sent to the shore base of 'HMS Impregnable' at Devonport for his training.

Now the family History says that he was trained at Dartmouth, so my question is this:

Is Devonport considered part of Dartmouth (like a remote campus or something), or is it a separate institution? and thus Charles was NOT a dartmouth student?

As an aside, his service papers (image shown in first post) has the word "Devenport" with some hard-to-make-out words above it. This has been crossed pout and the word "Chatham" written above it.

Can anyone explain what this means?

Any information would be appreciated, and please do not be upset if I do not respond quickly, for some reason the subscription setting on this blog does not work for me, so I do not get email notifications when someone adds a post. I only find out when I wander back to the site occasionally in my internet wanderings.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark, just to add a little -

AMO = Admiralty Movement Order non C.S - as in posting 8 by Joseph.

Sadsac

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Sadsac,

so the writing in the heading at the top of the page reads AMO (Admiralty Movement Order 144/19 Non CS 30/5/21 (May 30, 1921).

How do I interpret this?

In picture 3 there is an entry for period of service from Oct 1, 1919 to Jan 2, 1920 then he was demobed.

There is then an entry for May 30, 1921 to Nov 19, 1921 with something unreadable (looks like anb entry for 1 weeks RNR)

This is followed by an entry for Nov 27, 1921 to May 17, 1922.

I thought 'demob' meant "Civvy Street".

Mark, just to add a little -

AMO = Admiralty Movement Order non C.S - as in posting 8 by Joseph.

Sadsac

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dartmouth was (and is) for officer training

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I beg to differ on AMOs. These were Admiralty Monthly Orders.

This is, indeed, a rather confusing record of service. In principle, he was CS for 12 years (from age 18) until 4 Jan 1905, when he re-enlisted for an additional nine years for pension. That would take him to pension on 4 Jan 1914, in the normal course. However, his record shows that he apparently continued serving as a CPO in HMS CYCLOPS (At Scapa Flow) from 14 Jan 1913 to 3 March 1918 and was not discharged to pension in early 1914. Once the war began it is not unusual that he was kept in service but it is strange that he was not discharged to pension and then recalled. As it stands, it seems he was discharged to the Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR) (with RFR Number A [= pensioner] 2836) a year after his pension date, on 4 Jan 1915. He was still retained in service as an RFR pensioner, without a break in service. After the war he remained serving but on 4 April 1919 switched to a non-CS engagement (authorised by Admiralty Monthly Order 144/19). He continued serving non-CS until eventually demobilised on 2 Jan 1920, 6 years after his pension date and a couple of days before his 45th birthday. He would then have been a civilian but still on the books of the RFR, for re-call if required.

On 30 May 1921 he was brought back on another non-CS engagement, as a recalled RFR man, for nearly a year. Oddly, he seems to have taken a drop in rating for this last year and served as an able seaman. The reason is not clear. On 17 May 1922 he was finally discharged Shore.

Devonport [strikethrough] Chatham shows that his Base Port was changed, perhaps consequent upon a change of address. I agree that he never went near Dartmouth - for Family History, read Family Myth.

That is as clear as I can make it. Hope it helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

I have asked this question already, but in the wrong forum - in the 'List' column of 'List & No.' on the Seaman's Record, what do the numbers 15 and 18 stand for please?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 years later...
On 12/03/2014 at 07:49, bigbill said:

I have asked this question already, but in the wrong forum - in the 'List' column of 'List & No.' on the Seaman's Record, what do the numbers 15 and 18 stand for please?

New to the forum :), Was there any further response to this query re interpretation of what these numbers mean in another part of this forum or another forum?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lists 15 and 18 were for supernumerary ratings on the ship's book i.e. they were borne additional (for various reasons) to tjhe normal ship's company, which was List 5.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...