FAMILY ACCOMMODATION - Married Quarters, Hirings and all that

Way back in the 1950's and 1960's, when the navy was a global organisation both at sea and ashore, family accommodation wasn't always easy to find so taking ones wife created problems. Whilst marrying in one's teens in the 1950's was frowned upon, it was not and could not be stopped, but all men knew the limitations as regards to age qualifying. Whilst marriage allowance was given to all married men, officers under the age of 25 and ratings under the age of 21 got only 50% of this allowance [approximately] and were debarred from applying for family accommodation, arranged and paid for by the Service. They were on their own and fended for themselves out of their pay. Wrens at this period usually left the Service to get married, and if they were married whilst serving, had to leave on becoming pregnant. However if they were widowed whilst Serving, they continued to received part of their husbands marriage allowance. At the 1960 pay rise all that changed and marriage allowance ceased as did the age qualifier for married quarters. See this file naval pay  After the 1st April 1960 all men were paid the same for the same rank/rate and being married wasn't taken into account as far as the pay packet was concerned. The same rule of age 21 [under or over] affected other things too in service life. In 1950 all CPO's and PO's over the age of 21 [therefore confirmed PO's wearing fore and aft rig] were allowed ashore in civilian clothing. Other PO's under the age of 21{and there were quite a few of them} were not. In 1960, all senior rates were allowed ashore in civilian clothing vide AFO 1069/60.

This interesting story is a brief cameo forewarning naval personnel of some of the difficulties they may face depending upon the geographical location, but chiefly in the main port areas, home or abroad. Of course, many outlaying small places did not have married quarters, or didn't have naval married quarters, and naval personnel had to live in tri-Service family environments. When there were no available quarters of any sort, within reason, any suitable private dwelling [which could include mobile homes, caravans or static homes [with wheels but jacked-up resting on bricks etc] could be offered to naval authorities to be registered as an official naval hiring, and thus, in effect, a married quarter.

All things are relative, but the relativity is always of interest. Consider November 2011 when to fill my car from empty, costs approximately 90 [unleaded at circa 1.35 per litre]. In 1953, when I joined the navy, my Ganges Captain's salary [Captain The Earl Cairns] was, as a Captain R.N., without the Command Allowances inter alia, a whole 4.5.0 per day [1551.25 per annum] and he lived at Erwarton Hall, a splendid and huge Tudor Mansion House as his married quarter. Mine, on the other hand as a boy seaman second class was 0.2.6 per day [45.62 per annum] of which only 12.5 p [new pence] was given to me on a weekly pay musters, the rest given to me as a credit into the POSB [Post Office Savings Bank] ready to give me when I left training to join the Fleet to go to sea. Look here That means, that in the years which have followed, I need TWO YEARS of my pay in 1953 to top-up my car ONCE, for ONE LONG JOURNEY, say of 350 miles.  Staggering, to say the least.

Now venture on to see a little overview of married quarters and costs of 60 years ago!