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Remembered Today:

Manning port


Kath
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Sailors had their particular "manning ports" - e.g. Devonport, Chatham.

Can anyone explain what this involved, please?

Was it the port where he first joined a ship?

Kath.

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Kath, as far as I am aware a "manning port" was the place where a ship was allocated its crew at the start of each commission.

Sailors were attached to the ports manning strength and allocated to ships as required.

I believe that each of these ports tended to be allocated sailors from the surrounding areas. This meant that the loss of a ship, together with a large proportion of the crew, produced a devasting loss on the home front in that region

Best wishes

David.

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Thanks, David.

I found this:

http://www.gwpda.org/naval/rnshore.htm

which is useful.

My impression is that a 'manning port' is the equivalent of an army training base.

Going by the homes of casualties on Chatham Naval Memorial, men came from all districts, not just locally.

Kath.

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The manning port was the port from which the crew was allocated to a ship.

A ship always has a 'home' dockyard - or whatever they call them today. This is the yard that they go to for stores, etc and whioch then goes and looks for whatever is not available there and eventually sends things to the ship wherever it might be in the world.

Likewise they depend operationally on their home dockyard.

So it is logical that the crew should also come from the same place.

Of course, in WW1 time there was much more sense in it than there is today.

It did not follow that just because all the men came from a certain set of barracks that they all originated from the area of the barracks.

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Thanks, healdav.

"The manning port was the port from which the crew was allocated to a ship."

Sorry to seem 'thick' but could you explain further.

How did men end up in a certain port?

Was it for training before joining a ship, or were they just sent there, and passed on to a ship whose homeport it was?

Kath.

:unsure:

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When a man, or boy, joined the Royal Navy he was allocated to one of the manning ports and this is written on his records of service, because it was his ‘home’ base – the equivalent of home barracks for an army regiment. Whenever he was not allocated to a ship/ specialist training he would be at his ‘home’ manning port. Just to add to the confusion, these were all allocated ships names; so someone allocated to Chatham, for example, would have Pembroke entered on his service records whenever he was at home on leave or whatever. The navy employed people from all over the Empire, let alone the country so the manning port did not relate to hometown.

Similarly a ship had a home port and so it would draw men from the same manning port, thus a Chatham ship had a crew drawn from Pembroke They were onboard for a commission (usually around 2-3) years, not the life of the ship. When the ship ‘paid off’ the crew either went back to port or transferred to another ship.

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THANKS, per ardua per mare per terram

I've been googling for ages but found little.

MUCH clearer now.

Kath.

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If you download the services registers on the George Henry BARTON thread as examples. Both the short service seamen shown there were allocated to Devonport aka Vivid and receive their basic training there, Both men were allocated to HMS Bristol after that their ways part, with BARTON serving on more ships and having more leave back at Vivid.

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I think I am correct in saying that an naval individual's manning port determined the Naval Memorial that the individual would be remembered on, should the individual be lost and be without a known grave.

During the Great War the British manning ports were Chatham.Plymouth and Portsmouth.Each port has a Naval Memorial on which those naval casualties associated with the individual manning port and having no known grave are remembered.

Regards

Frank East

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  • 4 weeks later...
When a man, or boy, joined the Royal Navy he was allocated to one of the manning ports and this is written on his records of service, because it was his ‘home’ base – the equivalent of home barracks for an army regiment. Whenever he was not allocated to a ship/ specialist training he would be at his ‘home’ manning port. Just to add to the confusion, these were all allocated ships names; so someone allocated to Chatham, for example, would have Pembroke entered on his service records whenever he was at home on leave or whatever. The navy employed people from all over the Empire, let alone the country so the manning port did not relate to hometown.

Similarly a ship had a home port and so it would draw men from the same manning port, thus a Chatham ship had a crew drawn from Pembroke They were onboard for a commission (usually around 2-3) years, not the life of the ship. When the ship ‘paid off’ the crew either went back to port or transferred to another ship.

From my own experience, on joining the Navy the recuit would be asked to nominate his 'welfare authority port'. This was usually the Naval port nearest his home town. When commissioning a ship preference would be given to men whose welfare authority was the same as the manning port. If insufficient personnel could be found then personnel from other welfare authorities would be drafted in. Therefore a person with a Devonport welfare authority could find himself drafted to a ship with a home base of Portsmouth.

I lived halfway between Portsmouth and Devonport, not having a driving licence at the time I chose Portsmouth as my welfare authority as rail travel from Portsmouth was a couple of hours whereas from Devonport was about 10 hours.

All my ships were Devonport based :( . The system at it's best :lol:

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These days some effort is made to have men attached to a port near where they come from or whatever, but it wouldn't have been like that in WW1.

Then the system was a little bit more strange to our eyes as the RN had many more men than they had ships for. The 'surplus' would be stationed at the manning port barracks (which is why they have such enormous barracks. Men would then be sent from there not just to make up a new crew, but also to replace casualties, retirees, etc.

Also, today (or at least yesterday) a family was only entitled to have married quarters in the port to which the man was attached (whether on or off ship). If he was transferred, they had to transfer.

My father was married quarters officer at Devonport at one time and had to cope from time to time with families that didn't want to move when the man moved or who wanted to move without the man (to be near Mummy, or whatever).

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I dont know if the prefix's were in existance in WW1 but the service number's were prefixed by a letter:-

Portsmouth(Pompey) by "P"

Devonport (Guzz) by D

Chatham (Chats) by C

In the case of my own number which was D/KX920772 Cant remember what the KX was for but I joined the navy at Devonport hence the "D"

Len

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I dont know if the prefix's were in existance in WW1 but the service number's were prefixed by a letter

Len,

The numbering system that you describe is post WW1. See here for the WW1 system.

If they kept to their previous ideas, K would be for stoker branch. X to show its a renumbering.

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The Victorian navy (all men at sea in 1914 had been born in the reign of Queen Victoria) was not a touchy feely organisation. If told to jump, you asked “how high?” And when allocated to a manning port, a rating went where the navy wanted him and his wishes were rarely considered.

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