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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RNR and Royal Navy service

Stanley Standish

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I'm researching my wife's grandfather's RNR service which straddled WW1.  I have his service record showing he was employed on ocean liners before and after the war, but I am trying to understand his service when he was called to serve the RN during the war.  His record shows he served on/at Sattelite, Attentive III, Vivid II, Avon, Eaglet and Infexible.  I believe many of these were shore based establishments often used for training.  However he spent several months at a time at/on these and moved directly from one to another.  He was a fireman.  So I can't understand what a fireman/stoker/trimmer would do at a shore based establishment for that amount of time.  Is this normal?  Is it possible that they reported to a shore base then were allocated a ship?


Any help or knowledge would be gratefully received.

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Welcome to the Forum !

You are right to consider that some of these names were bases.

HMS Attentive III is said to be the parent ship of Dover patrol vessels, which would be named sometimes after the parent and in brackets.

HMS Vivid II is said to have been based in Devonport.

If you want to post a name etc someone here may be able to give you an interpretation of the service record.

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It would also be useful to know the dates of his service with/on the various ships.  HMS Eagle (originally a 3rd rate) was a base and  training ship. She became Eaglet in 1918 presumably to avoid confusion with the new aircraft carrier. She was burnt out in 1926. I think she became the RNVR drill ship at Liverpool (Wikipedia says RNR!). There was also hired Hull trawler, also Eagle which was renamed Eaglet in 1915 and then Owlet in 1918. The 24 Class sloop Sir Bevis was renamed Eaglet in 1926 (as an RNVR drill ship).



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Thanks for your replies.  The person concerned is Michael Farrell service number 2028.  His service record shows the following service in the Royal Navy.

Aug 14 to Sep 15 - Pembroke C

Aug to Oct 15 - Satellite

Oct 15 to Nov 15  - Attentive

Nov to Jul 16 - Victory 2

Jul to Aug 16 - Attentive

Aug to Dec 16 - Vivid 2

Dec 16 to Jul 17 - Avon D

Aug 17 to 31 Aug 18 - Eaglet Avon

Sep to Nov 18 - Avon

Nov to Dec 18 - Inflexible

Jan 19 to Feb 19 - Inflexible

Demobilised from Inflexible at Sheerness in Jan 19


All of the above show his rank as stoker.


His service before and after the war is on White Star and Ellerman liners.  What I am trying to find out is what he did on these RN assignments.  What would a stoker do at a shore based establishment?  He was an experienced Stoker/trimmer.  Might he have trained RN stokers - or did people report to these bases and then get assigned to a ship which was not recorded on the records?  His full RNR record is attached.  Any insight would be gratefully appreciated.

Michael Farrell RNR Record.pdf

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Based on HMS ATTENTIVE at (Dover) and HMS VICTORY (at Portsmouth) he was employed for duty in motor lighters (ML) Nos. X.33 and X.86. Subsequently he served as a stoker in the destroyer HMS AVON based, successively, on HMS WALLINGTON (at Immingham, Humber), HMS EAGLET (at Liverpool) and HMS VANESSA (at Holyhead).

N.B. The record states (in error) the hired trawler (HT) AVON (from Grimsby, later re-named AVON II) employed as a minesweeper but this trawler was based in the White Sea at the time.

His correct RNR Official Number  was 2028.S (the 'S' suffix for a stoker on his first 5-year period of enrolment).

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Thank you so much for your reply haratio 2.  Is this all detail from his Service Record?  - think I can see the references to X 33 and X 86.  What are motor lighters and what does X33 and X86 refer to?  I can also now see Avon is entered next to a number of bases so I guess this means he travelled on the Avon to these bases?

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The X Lighters were built as landing craft but often converted to oil/water carriers for general support duties. They were numbered from X.1 to X.200. He was a stoker in the ship's company of HMS AVON, based Humber/Irish Sea as described.

I note he was employed as a fireman on lighters before first entering the RNR in 1912.

The reason that some of the entries are unreadable is that they are in coloured ink. If you want a colour copy of the record at full-size (A3), the Fleet Air Arm Museum holds the original records from which the rather poor Kew B&W scans were made some years ago. I assume you also have his record for his 3rd, 4th and 5th periods of enrolment (his 1st period was extended because of the war), These records should take his RNR service through to about 1937. All these records are at the FAAM.

Edited by horatio2
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Thanks again for your expertise Haratio 2.  I guess he was employed on lighters at Chatham possibly taking coal/supplies/people to and from ships.  I was not sure if he had actually served on a RN ship but it looks like he did on Avon and then on Inflexible.  I noticed the reference to previously working as a fireman on lighters but did not understand what it meant.  He was born in Wexford and may have worked there as a stoker.  He was only 17 when he joined RNR but gave a false date of birth to add a year to his age.  I have a total of four service records running through to the 1930s.  I will think about a visit to the FAAM.

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Are you aware that there are also four British merchant record cards for him, including a CR10 card, which you can view on findmypast covering the period 1920 to 1933? I expect that most of the voyage information will duplicate what is on his RNR record.

There is a good passport style photo of him on the CR10 record card from 1920 (RS2 No 475203, Discharge A No 666867). The card has 'Renewal' written on it which implies that there was a previous card which has been destroyed.

best wishes

ernest james


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Thanks Ernest James.  I was not aware of those records.  I will see if I can access them - There are few photos of Michael so it will be good to see one.

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