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Remembered Today:

'Chief Writer' on board HMS Queen Mary


crickhollow
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Anyone know what function a 'Chief Writer' had on the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary?

The lovely font cover at in the church at St Mary-le-Moor, Cadmore End, Bucks is designed as a memorial to those local men killed in WW1 (and WW2). Image at St. MARY-LE-MOOR, CADMORE END, BUCKS.

The inscription for Charles W Smith (below) intrigued me

SMITH, CHARLES WILLIAM

Rank: Chief Writer

Service No: 340264

Date of Death: 31/05/1916

Age: 37

Regiment/Service: Royal Navy

H.M.S. "Queen Mary."

Panel Reference

20.

Memorial

PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL

Additional Information:

Son of Charles Harvey Smith and Mary Ann Smith, of Racton, Emsworth, Hants; husband of Charlotte Smith, of Cadmore End, High Wycombe, Bucks.

Charles Smith was drowned when HMS Queen Mary sank after being hit by the German battlecruiser Derfflinger at the Battle of Jutland

220px-Destruction_of_HMS_Queen_Mary.jpg

HMS Queen Mary exploding. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Queen_Mary

C.

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HMS Queen Mary had two writers in her compliment - 1 Chief writer and 1 Writer. They kept the ships books and provided the captain with secretarial services in terms of official correspondence. It was a warrant officer rank

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Thanks. A little more prosaic than I hoped as I tried to imagine a 'Chief Writer' compiling an interesting account of ship-board life... :)

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In a similar vein to the first post, the CWGC has the rank for George McNamee, who was also killed on the Queen Mary, as Head Schoolmaster. Can anyone shed light on what function this rank had or is it a typo? The Indefatigable and the Invincible did not have anyone with this rank.

Thanks

Douglas

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Per the casualty list, QUEEN MARY had a Chief Writer (a Chief Petty Officer - with an official number - not a warrant rank, which is Warrant Writer), a Writer 1st Class and a Writer 3rd Class.

Head Schoolmaster (no typo) was a warrant rank at the same level as a Warrant Writer.

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In a similar vein to the first post, the CWGC has the rank for George McNamee, who was also killed on the Queen Mary, as Head Schoolmaster. Can anyone shed light on what function this rank had or is it a typo? The Indefatigable and the Invincible did not have anyone with this rank.

Thanks

Douglas

Remember that ships carried boys and midshipmen. They needed to be educated.

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Per the casualty list, QUEEN MARY had a Chief Writer (a Chief Petty Officer - with an official number - not a warrant rank, which is Warrant Writer), a Writer 1st Class and a Writer 3rd Class.

Head Schoolmaster (no typo) was a warrant rank at the same level as a Warrant Writer.

Shows only 2 writers http://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritish-RNShipCrews.htm

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This title with McNamee's name appears on the crew listed on this web site:

http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/jutland/hms_queen_mary_casualty_list_1916.htm

This web site http://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritish-RNShipCrews.htm lists the crew of HMS Queen Mary and has this entry:

Chaplain/

Schoolmaster (2) Chaplain & Naval Instructor Head Schoolmaster 1

and also this:

Following are a list of what I believe to be the Warrant Officer ranks existing in the World War 1 period. Any corrections would be appreciated:

Artificer EngineerChief Artificer Engineer, Assistant Clerk, Boatswain, Carpenter, Chief Boatswain, Chief Carpenter, Chief Gunner, Chief Signal Boatswain, Clerk, Gunner, Mate, Mate (E), Signal Boatswain, Warrant Electrician, Warrant Engineer, Warrant Mechanician, Warrant Officer, Warrant Schoolmaster, Warrant Shipwright, Warrant Telegraphist, Warrant Victualling Officer, Warrant Wardmaster, Warrant Writer

So it appears that 'Schoolmaster' might have been a recognised navy position on board this battlecruiser. Not sure what the duties were - maybe mainly religious?

C

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Writers of various grades assisted the Accountant Officers with their duties.

Naval Instructors taught subordinate officers (Midshipmen and Naval Cadets), Schoolmasters taught ratings, marines and boys.

Simon

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We must not forget that the men of various posts that appear to be non-combatant on a ship actualy had various action stations when in action.

For example I have read that Paymaster's often were in charge of the control room that co-ordinated the ships gunnery.

and of course aboard ship there are no safe billetts.

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We must not forget that the men of various posts that appear to be non-combatant on a ship actualy had various action stations when in action.

For example I have read that Paymaster's often were in charge of the control room that co-ordinated the ships gunnery.

and of course aboard ship there are no safe billetts.

And the Royal Marine band was often working on the fire control calculations. Everyone on board has an action station. It is a fact that, for example, the Stores Assistant who would be responsible for issuing, etc and some of the paperwork, had a lot of normal duties, so they would not have time to train to do anything particularly skilful, so they worked in the magazines taking ammunition from the shelves, opening the drums, etc and putting them on the hoists to the guns.

Having said that, I remember on Polaris submarine where the best planesman they had was the CPO Stores, and his action station was as just that (and he often took the sub in and out of harbour as well).

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On a slight tangent but since there is reference to submarines on this thread, I recently researched a plaque in Hungerford Church (Berks) to Signaller Percy Richens who was lost when HM Submarine E14 was sunk by a mine off the Dutch coast on 20/7/18.

Details of his naval service are at http://www.hungerfor...on_richens.html

with this wonderful photo of the interior of E14:

E34.jpg

Plenty of scope for multi-tasking compared to the the cramped accommodation on later modern submarines!

C

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jellicoes book, in discussing improvements to conditions within the fleet, notes:

"The system of lectures was encouraged to the utmost. Officers lectured on board their ships to the ships' companies on every subject, the War included, and much good resulted.

Education was freely developed. The Admiralty provided, at my request, schoolmasters in large numbers, and classes for the boys and voluntary classes for the men in the evenings in harbour were very well attended.

And, finally, exercise of all sorts was encouraged to the utmost extent possible. This took the form principally of football, rowing regattas, athletic sports and boxing. The keenness displayed in all these sports was a certain indication that the personnel was showing no sign of staleness."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I rather think this would have been similar to the "Chief Yeoman" rating in the U.S. Navy. Yeomen aboard ship would would compose and put together ship's correspondence, much of the maintained crew file paperwork, and keep up the ship's War Diary. My grandfather was Chief Yeoman aboard the USS Indianapolis from 1940 thru 1943, before being commissioned and joining Admiral Hanson's staff. His assistant, Yeoman 1/c Jack Waters, was promoted to CY and took his place, but did not survive the sinking. There was also a warrant officer's rank of "Ship's Clerk" that served aboard, but I rather believe that this may have been primarily a file-keeping and overall record-reference position on the ship.

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