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Remembered Today:

RNR / RNVR Cap Tallies & Uniforms


clive_hughes
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Greetings once again,

I'm trying to identify a Zeebrugge raid 1918 DSM winner. There is a picture of him which I posted on yesterday's thread for "Did Your Ancestors Take Part In The Zeebrugge And Ostend Raids", and Paul Kendall has today kindly confirmed that a man of this name did take part and win this decoration.

Problem is, he is in his local Book of Honour and on the records for the Raid DSM as a Deckhand RNR. The original photo accompanying (which I've examined carefully with a magnifying glass) was degraded by exposure to damp BUT it clearly shows a cap tally which seems to have an anchor in the centre of the four letters "RNVR".

On the oppposite page, is (supposedly) a relative who served in the RNVR. Little difference in rig except there's less white vest showing, and no white cap cover, and a tally lettered "HMS PEMBROKE".

I can't see why an RNR man should wear a tally for a different branch of the Navy; but is there otherwise any way of distinguishing an RNR from an RNVR uniform at sight??? The risk is that the two pictures have been transposed, so that the wrong man may ultimately be identified as the medal winner.

Any observations gratefully received.

LST_164

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LST,

The uniforms for both the RNR and RNVR are the same, the difference will be in the cap tally’s and badges. The photo you show on the other thread seems to me to be a Gunlayer in the RNVR. A Deckhand in the RNR (T) (his number is RNR (T)) would have RNR on his cap tally and his badge RNR over T in red. The twist in the tail is that the Motor Launch section was manned generally by the RNVR, however to change over would not be viable as the wages in the RNR(T) were a lot better than the RNVR. Having said that a volunteer is better than a pressed man.

Hope this is of some help.

Regards Charles

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I hope I am not showing my ignorance too much, but what is the difference between RNR and RNVR... Am I correct in thinking it is Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, I thought they were one and the same... :(

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Hi,

The Royal Naval Reserve was for profesional seamen, the entry criteria was quite strict but the pay was better.

The Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve was for persons not seamen.

Regards Charles

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post-12434-1162858327.jpgpost-12434-1162858362.jpg

Joseph -

Thanks very much for your observations.

Just for comparison, here are the two men side by side: the alleged RNR DSM winner in the whiter rig, the other the HMS PEMBROKE supposed RNVR in the darker rig. There's so much picture degradation that I can't be certain any arm badges are visible. However, I'm told that the DSM winner was a Deckhand with a standard RNR "DA" number suffix, NOT "T".

Regards,

LST_164

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LST,

The DA suffix/prefix is specific to a Deckhand in the Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Section). The rank did not exist in any other service if he was in the RNR he would be a seaman and have a suffix of A,B,C etc.

Is there a number for the chap from Pembroke if his number is RNVR you may be on the right track.

Regards Charles

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Microfilm copies of William Francis' service cards will be in BT 377/7 at Kew, they are filed in service number order.

I found one possible Fred Francis in the Royal Naval Division (records available online)

Name Francis, Albert Frederick

Service Number(s): R/387

Rank or Rating: Ordinary Seaman, Able Seaman RNVR

Date of Birth: 8 August 1898

If that is not the right Fred, his service register should be in ADM 337, if you don't know his number it's best to look in the medal roll, as they are also stored in service number order.

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Thanks again Charles and Perardua,

The other brother is simply "Acting Leading Seaman Fred Francis, RNVR. Served 3 years." No indication of number or if he was RND or on a warship, beyond the general Pembroke tally.

I have no other info on him, but one of these days I intend to have a long look in the Flintshire County Record Office at the index cards there which were filed (?just after the War) on all those who'd served. Maybe his service etc. will become clearer then.

Cheers,

LST_164

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LST_164

This is probably teaching you to suck eggs, but have you gone through the RN records online? I typed in 'Anglesea' and got 306 matches.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...mp;mediaarray=*

For the other services that you are interested in do you have their service numbers? RNR, RNVR and RM records are all in number order, which speeds up the searching no end! If you don't have it then it's a trawl through the medal rolls.

Per Mare

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  • 11 months later...

Hi folks,

just to close this chapter, I have since had access to the service records of both these men and can report that the lower picture is indeed Mersey Z/1764 AB William Francis who joined the RNVR in June 1916, was posted to HMS Pembroke I at the end of October and transferred to the RNR Trawler Section as Deck Hand DA13899 on 1 December. The picture must therefore date to the June-October 1916 period.

Given that he was a farm waggoner from the rural Welsh borders, how he managed to pass the RNR entry qualifications is a bit of a mystery. However, he served in HM Motor Launches and won the DSM in the Zeebrugge Raid in April 1918 whilst in HMML 526. Demobilized March 1919.

The upper picture is of his younger brother Mersey Z/1765 Acting Leading Seaman Fred Francis, who joined the same day but who stayed with the RNVR and served in Defensively Armed Merchant Ships; demobilized June 1919.

Thanks for your posts.

LST_164

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