For those of you who are unfamiliar with naval jargon, let me take one moment to explain the page title above. The guy surfacing is a skimmer; that is he stays, or tries to stay, on top of the wave[s]. The 'big whites' on the left are symbolic of things that live and hunt beneath the waves.  In the navy, a sailor serving on a surface vessel is called a "skimmer" and a man serving in a submarine is called a "fish head".  This little cameo, revolves around a man who in his time, was both a "skimmer" and a "fish head".

 Like many of you,  I love to read about Royal Navy men [and perhaps one day we will read of Royal Navy women, but as yet, they haven't had time to establish themselves], and I like to read cameo's [or listen to a raconteur relating a good tale] especially about lower deckers, famous, infamous or otherwise.  Recently, at a barbee in Clanfield Hampshire [June 2007], whilst downing the amber nectar trying to keep cool on what was a hot and lovely afternoon, I got talking to Peter Dedman an ex RN'er, who had served 12 years from 1955 until 1967 leaving as an able seaman with a non substantive rate of  Control Gunner.  Peter talked about his father and mentioned that he had just two jobs in his life, the Royal Navy and the Portsmouth Water Company [PWC] and in the following order: leave school join PWC - join Royal Navy and serve 22 years - rejoin PWC - rejoin Navy for duration of WW2 -rejoin PWC. This, and the other things Peter told us about, I found to be most interesting, in particular, that any person who served his country throughout both world wars [10 long years of war service] is worth hearing about.  When I learned that his father had served in 'K' Class steam submarines I was more than interested to find out more about him.  Peter agreed to loan me his fathers papers to see if a cameo could be written, and what follows uses the papers and Peter's own recollection of his Dad.

Before I begin, let me tell you that I have become au fait at decyphering old naval Service Certificates.  By and large, the administrative work of bygone days was shoddy [to say the least] and mistakes are rampant.  Illegible hand writing doesn't help, and regrettably elapsed time since issue tends to make the document [because of fading, damp storage conditions etc] more and more difficult to read or reproduce. Additionally I have published many papers on individual subjects relating to the navy, and in this short cameo, I use some of them [as an example] to help you to understand Jack's Service Certificate.

This is a picture of Peters father clearly showing his surname and initials, his rate, and his official number. His initials are clear to see and represent the Christian names William and  John.  However, he was always called Jack throughout his life by all comers [family, friends and acquaintances] but not [obviously] by officialdom.  That had to be correct for the records.  But was it.....correct that is ? The answer was no, because for the first 12 years of service, he was recorded as John Dedman and some nine months after he had signed on to complete his pension time the Admiralty changed  his Service Certificate [SC's] to read William John.

In this picture above, you can clearly see that the name William has been added in before the word John.  Just above and to the right of William you will observe a TICK sign with two bars added to the tail of the tick.  In the picture below [taken from the foot of the SC] you will see that same TICK [and bars] telling you what is was for.

It says "Name amended at Admiralty 14th September 1922.  Just think, if this man had won a major award for valour in WW1, his gazetted name would have been wrong and if he had been killed, was it John or William John who had perished ?

John, William John or Jack Dedman was born on the 10th November 1891 and from birth to death lived but a few miles from the sea either at Emsworth, Langston or Bedhampton all 'within shouting distance' of Portsmouth. Note the rather bold YES in the question Can Swim?  Almost certainly, that endorsement would have been added shortly after joining the Service in 1910.  However, by the time he was 32 years of age in 1923, the Navy had introduced a swimming test, the PPT, [which he passed with flying colours] mandatory for getting on the promotion ladder, although, as you will read, that became academic for Jack!  In 1924, Jack achieved a 'Good' pass on the advanced swimming test [PST].  The "Trade brought up in" line, is, from what Peter said, something to do with the Portsmouth Water Company, and appears to suggest that he was a PORTER in Group 31 [possibly the depot number where he reported for work]. The navy in 1910 was large, and any large 'organisation' can be cumbersome and difficult to manage unless  responsibilities are delegated.  The various organisational titles are much too complex a subject for this cameo, but some of them were:-

First Lord of the Admiralty - a civilian high profile politician representing the Country
Their Lordships - the Admiralty Board - a group of admirals under the control of the First Sea Lord [the senior admiral], and called Second Sea Lord et seq, each responsible for a particular part of the navy - in 1910, we had no fewer than five Sea Lords.
Fleets - each with their own Commanders-in-Chief [C-in-C] and in 1910 we had eight quite separate fleets.
Squadrons - each type of ships grouped together to prosecute an action against the enemy - Battle Squadrons; Cruiser Squadrons etc.
Flotillas - groups of warships usually non-Capital ships.
Divisions - could apply to groups of ships or personnel.
Ships - purposely built for a specific purpose - Minesweeper; Minelayer; Battleship; Battlecruiser; Aircraft Carrier etc.
Departments - could apply to shore or afloat situations - typical were Engine Room Department, Electrical High Power Department, Boiler Room Department.
Branches - a division of skills/trades/jobs - Wireless Telegraphy Branch; Sick Bay Branch; Stokers Branch etc.
and - several others.

For the navy to function correctly, all of these functions had to perform well within and across the whole of the navy - which can be stated as PAN NAVY. When Jack joined the navy in 1910, you will see [in the picture below] that he was placed in the PORT DIVISION of  PORTSMOUTH - a few years earlier they had been called Home Ports.  Whilst it makes good sense to place a 'local to Portsmouth man' into the Portsmouth Port Division, there was no guarantee on joining that that would be so. In those days, and certainly into the 1950's, quota's, for each Port Division, were drawn from geographical parts of the country, and typically, a man from the west/north west was recruited for the Devonport [Plymouth] Division, whereas a man from the east/north east north was sent to the Nore [Chatham] Division.  Others [though not rigidly so] from the central areas of the country [Britain] became Members of the Portsmouth Division.  If at any time the quota's were short [or in excess], despite the man's geographical origins, he could be sent to any of the three Divisions.  This decision, unknown to the recruit in his naivety, would bode badly for him in future years because he would spend all his sea-going days in a ship manned with a crew from that assigned Port Division and based [when in UK waters] in that Home Port - NOTE: Some might tell you that this was not always the case, for a Devonport crew of Cooks and Stewards [for example] could have served in a Chatham ship, and whilst this is not disputed,  the norm is as stated - Devonport ship [for example] meant Devonport Manned and Drafted.   It was common practice for men to seek a transfer to the Division of their choice by 'trawling' to find a sailor who had also been 'misplaced' when recruited, and each man would raise a Request Chit to his Commanding Officer to effect the transfer.  The only problem was that the two men involved had to have comparable Service records [same rate, same qualifications, same sea time record and when next due for a sea draft, same roster position if awaiting a promotion etc] otherwise by changing Division they could 'dip-out' by having to wait over-long for a promotion and equally as bad, go straight back to sea when they had just completed a long period afloat in their old Division.  Moreover, in the early part of the 20th century, with relatively poor communications between members of the lower deck of each Home Port, it would have been difficult to find a volunteer for mutual change. Jack therefore, happy to be a 'Pompey rating' spent his full career been controlled [drafted from] from the Portsmouth area, and when on surface vessels by HMS Victory, not Nelson's flagship, but the main Royal Marine Barracks in Portsmouth, and when in submarines, by HMS Dolphin [the submarine base] across the Portsmouth harbour in the town of Gosport.  More of all this in a moment.

  He joined the Royal Navy in 1910 [28th April] when aged 18 years and 5 months, and in those days there was only one option, 12 years [Period volunteered for column in picture below] mans time from the age of 18.  He served his 12 [years] and then requested to serve a further 10 years [counting from 1922] to earn himself a naval pension after a full ratings career - the last column alongside 15 March 1922 reads "To complete time for pension".  I will mention the Continuous Service [see top line of picture below] in a couple of minutes in the additional page about Official Numbers.

Jack [everybody called him so and we are no exception] was a good man, of good character and had an excellent work record throughout his career.  That I cover later. Sailors were rewarded for being of good character by issuing a stripe to them, worn on the left sleeve [we in the navy call it a badge, a Good Conduct Badge].  The qualifying period for the first badge is 4 years good conduct from the age of 18 or later if a sailor joined after his 18th birthday. Since Jack joined on the 28th April 1910, his first badge was due on that date in 1914; his second in 1918 and his third [the maximum number of badges issued to any one man] in 1922. Below is the record on those badges, and the dates appear to be 1913, 1918 and 1920, although the 'zero' appears to have been changed to a 'two' in the 1920 entry.  Giving 1920 [but 1922] the benefit of doubt, that leaves 1913 clearly wrong.

Each of those badges earned extra money for the man wearing them so they were worth having, and in any event they made the man look like a sergeant army [or air force] style. However, unlike the other two Services, a naval man wearing just three stripes [badges] without a rate badge immediately above and physically touching them [showing a single anchor, a killick, for the leading rate <equivalent to a corporal> or cross anchors {referred to as crossed hooks} for a petty officer <equivalent to a sergeant> simply indicate 12 years good conduct from the age of 18 or later if a late joiner.  After 15 years service from the age of 18 [or later] a final reward is given in the form of a medal - the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.  In all cases, the time for this medal started when the man had completed his initial training.  In Jack's case, his training was in three phases. Phase one saw him join the Royal Naval Barracks at Portsmouth [which in those days was called HMS Victory] as a Stoker 2CL <second class>.  There he stayed for 23 days  doing basic training [square bashing, kit routines, washing and ironing, gymnasium work etc] with an introduction to the world of stoking and stoke holes - Note that when Jack joined in 1910, the Stoker Branch was just over 50 years old, stokers having served in the first Iron Clad's...HMS Warrior etc. Phase two was spent at sea in the Victorian Battleship Renown [which not too long afterwards was decommissioned , laid up, and then in 1914 sold for scrap] 

where he would have spend an arduous  41 days at the coal face quite literally learning the hard way. [Note - The more famous Renown, the Battlecruiser, saw service in both world wars, a product dating from 1916 until 1948].  Phase three of his training was back in HMS Victory for a final 3 days of training followed by a further period of 40 odd days before joining his first proper ship HMS Peterel

 attached to the tender [Depot Ship] HMS Hecla.  This is a picture of  Peterel passing another destroyer passing HMS Victory in 1909 in Portsmouth harbour.  The Depot ship, the Hecla, looked like this.

 HMS Hecla, was a destroyer depot ship (ex-"British Crown", launched 1878, 6,400 tons, 4-12 pdr guns. Originally, a  torpedo depot ship and played important role in developing British torpedo forces).

From Peterel he joined the Harpy [attached to the Depot Ship HMS Blenheim] which he served in until the 22nd January 1912 being advanced to Stoker 1CL [first class] in that ship on the 29th April 2011.

HMS Harpy

The seventh “HARPY” was a turbine torpedo-boat destroyer, launched at Cowes in 1910.  She was 935 tons, 12,500 horse- power, and 27 knots.  Her length, beam, and draught are 265ft., 28ft., and 9ft.  

HMS Harpy. 

HMS Harpy, 1910
Type: Torpedo Boat Destroyer ; Armament 1 x 4" ; 3 x 12 pdr
Launched : 27 Nov 1910 ; Disposal date or year : Nov 1921
Disposal Details : Sold for scrapping
BM: tons ; Displacement: 935 tons
Machinery notes: 12,500 FD.

HMS Harpy was tendered to HMS Blenheim. This is a picture of the old lady

and this is a little bit about her history

 HMS Blenheim was a Blake Class Cruiser built by Thames ironworks, and launched on 26th May 1894.  After service HMS Blenheim was used as a depot ship from May 1908 and finally sold to the breakers in 1926.

Length 375 feet, beam 65 feet.  Armament Two 9.2 inch Guns and Ten 6 - inch Guns and eighteen  3 pounder.

Designed Speed 22 knots,  Horsepower 20,000.

In 1888 the most important part of the naval programme of the period were laid down.  The Blake Class Armoured Cruisers HMS Blake and HMS Blenheim,  A Class with the armament of The Orlando Class with greatly improved speed secured by development in the deck armour.  Could be said to be similar to an enlarged Mersey Class Cruiser. But these ships were unique due to their increased length and great increase in displacement.  The main Guns were in armoured casemate's, a leading characteristic of nearly all Sir William White's ships made its first appearance. HMS Blenheim for four main guns, the upper deck guns being behind the usual shields. 

So concludes Jack's first year in the navy. The list below shown the first FIVE ships/shore establishments he served in, and as the cameo unfolds we will need to visit the other THIRTY ship/shore establishment entries covering both world wars from beginning to end - TEN years of WAR SERVICE in all.

His time for his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal started on the 6th July 1910, and duly, on the 6th July 1925 he got his medal.

There is no mention on his Certificate of his gratuity which automatically came with the medal, but no doubt that he received it and enjoyed the extra money for that month.

The vast majority of men joining the navy were single and therefore they would have declared, as a NOK [next of kin], either their mother or their father - usually the latter. The NOK changed either as a result of the nominated person dying or when marrying.  For that reason, the NOK was always written in pencil whereas the rest of the document was [or should have been] written in ink. Jack's NOK was declared as follows:-

If you look very carefully, particularly at the address lines, you will see that the old address was not properly erased. His wife, Peter's mother, was called Edith Grace Dedman, and the marital home was in Bedhampton. The crossed-out word,  in inverted commas, was probably the name of a house from a previous address.

Upon joining, Jack, at 18½, then virtually fully grown, was a small man of 5' 6" height.  The record shows that he had DARK BROWN hair; BROWN eyes and FAIR complexion with a SCAR on his right forearm.  Whilst in service, he grew to be 5' 8½", kept his hair and colouring; his eyes obviously didn't change colour, but, poor man, his complexion was noted as BAD.

His WW1 medals, were, in common with his many peers, a sad and miserable return on what was the most horrific and beastly war every known to mankind at that time.

This section gives the necessary details re issue of medals and what they were for, and note that he was awarded THREE medals, the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.. In addition to medals which sadly [and sickeningly] were always issued late and grudgingly by the Admiralty, men were given CHEVRONS to wear on their right sleeve cuff in recognition of their sea service between 1914-1918.

What are campaign medals?

Campaign medals are those medals awarded to individuals who served in the First World War and who met the qualifications laid down for each campaign medal. In general, all those who saw service overseas were awarded a campaign medal. The qualifications for each campaign medal were laid down in Army Orders.

1914 Star1914 Star

Instituted in 1917 for service ashore in France and Flanders between 5 August and 22 November 1914. In 1919 a clasp bearing the above dates was authorised and given to those individuals who had actually been under fire between the prescribed dates.

1914/15 Star1914/15 Star

Authorised in 1918, the 1914/15 Star was awarded to those individuals who saw service in France and Flanders from 23 November 1914 to 31 December 1915, and to those individuals who saw service in any other operational theatre from 5 August 1914 to 31 December 1915.

British War MedalBritish War Medal

The British War Medal 1914-1920, authorised in 1919, was awarded to eligible service personnel and civilians alike. Qualification for the award varied slightly according to service. The basic requirement for army personnel and civilians was that they either entered a theatre of war, or rendered approved service overseas between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Service in Russia in 1919 and 1920 also qualified for the award.

Victory MedalVictory Medal

The Victory Medal 1914-1919 was also authorised in 1919 and was awarded to all eligible personnel who served on the establishment of a unit in an operational theatre.

Territorial Force MedalTerritorial Force Medal

The Territorial Force War Medal 1914-1919 was awarded to members of the Territorial Force only. To qualify, the recipient had to have been a member of the Territorial Force on or prior to 30 September 1914, and to have served in an operational theatre outside of the United Kingdom between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918.

The Silver War BadgeThe Silver War Badge

The Silver War Badge (SWB), sometimes erroneously called the Silver Wound Badge, was authorised in September 1916 and takes the form of a circular badge with the legend "For King and Empire-Services Rendered" surrounding the George V cypher. The badge was awarded to all of those military personnel who were discharged as a result of sickness or wounds contracted or received during the war, either at home or overseas.

In this picture above, you will see that Jack did more than his fair share at sea throughout the whole war, being awarded each and every Chevron from 1914 to 1918, with the second line a little hard to read which says "May '19 - 1918 Chevron awarded, and 1914 & '15 Star". The following text tells you all about Chevrons:-

  • Sea Service Chevrons
    In May 1918 the Secretary of the Admiralty announced the conditions for the award to members of the Royal Navy and the other marine services of chevrons for service at sea and overseas.

    They will be awarded to denote services overseas, or at sea undertaken since August 4, 1914, and are to be worn in uniform.

    Service overseas and at sea is defined as service at sea in sea-going ships of war, auxiliaries, in defensively armed merchant ships as guns’ crews, and those employed in minesweeping. Officers and men of the late R.N. Air Service who, although serving in the United Kingdom, were liable for service in the air for offensive or defensive purposes, may count such service as qualifying service. Service in kite balloons when embarked in ships will also count.

    The date for the award of the first chevron will be August 5, 1914, in the case of those serving at sea or abroad on that date. In other cases the date on which the individual began or begins qualifying service as defined - for example, an individual who began qualifying service on December 31, 1915, is entitled to his first chevron on that date.

    Additional chevrons are to be awarded as follows:-

    (a) From January 1, 1915, to December 31, 1917, inclusive, on a calendar year basis, that is, one chevron and not more than one for each of the years 1915, 1916, and 1917. The individual must have an aggregate of three months' qualifying service in the calendar year to entitle him to the award for that year.

    1914 Silver Chevron
    The chevrons will be ¼ in. in width, the arms 1¼ in. long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm. Chevrons for officers will be of silver or gold braid. The first chevron, if earned on or before December 31, 1914, will be silver; if earned on or after January 1, 1915, it will be gold, and all additional chevrons after the first will be gold. The silver chevron will be worn below the gold one. For ratings they will be of worsted embroidery of two colours - red and blue. The first chevron, if carried on or before December 31, 1914, will be red; if earned on or after January 1, 1915 it will be blue; and all additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

    In the case of officers they are to be worn on the blue undress coat only.

    The chevrons are a distinction to be worn on uniform to denote service at sea or overseas since the outbreak of war, and are not to be regarded as being in the nature of a reward. There will, therefore, be no posthumous award to fallen officers or men. The chevrons may be worn in plain clothes by officers and men who have left the Service, but who would, had they remained in the Service, have been entitled to wear them on uniform. In such cases, application for authority to wear the chevrons must be made.

    War Badges Abolished in the Navy.
    24 Nov 1922, since most medals for war service have now been issued, service chevrons, wound stripes, and silver war badges were no longer to be worn in uniform.

  • In 1919 Jack was given a War Gratuity of £30-00, a good amount of money for a Leading Hand.  Here is a part of the petition to HM The King to make an award of a Gratuity to all those who had taken part in WW1.

    And whereas we are of opinion that Officers and Men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Naval Reserve, and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who served during the present War should be granted gratuities in respect of such service:

    We beg leave humbly to recommend that Your Majesty may be graciously pleased, by Your Order in Council, to sanction the payment of gratuities to these officers and men as set forth in the enclosed Schedules.

    The Lords Commissioners of Your Majesty's Treasury have signified Their concurrence in .these proposals.

    It manifested itself as:-

    Gratuities to Seamen and Marines.

    1. Gratuities on the following scales to be granted to Chief Petty officers, Petty Officers, Men and Boys of the Royal Navy, and Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Men and Boys of the Royal Marines, whether they belong to the permanent service or reserve or were entered for "Hostilities only."
      1. Royal Navy

        For the first year's service or part of a year if a year has not been served. *


        Increment for each additional calendar month or final portion of a calendar month after a year's service, subject to a maximum of 48 such monthly increments.







        10 To those who have served at sea or overseas for any period during their qualifying war service.
        Ordinary Seamen or Able Seamen


        Leading .Rates .


        Petty Officers .


        5 To those who have not served at sea or overseas.


        Chief Petty Officers .



        Note.-No Gratuity to be paid to ratings who have rendered only six months' or less than six months' service within the prescribed war period without any service at sea or overseas.

    Jack was a LEADING RATE.  His £30.00, was made up as follows:-
    Under the '£' {STERLING} COLUMN = £6.00
    Under the 's' {SHILLINGS} COLUMN [right hand column] = 48 calendar months x 10 shillings [50p] = £24-00

    A Boy and a Chief Petty Officer with like for like service, would have got, respectively £26-00 and £36-00.

    Now, let us compare that with what the officers got.

    War Gratuities to Permanent Officers of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

    1. War Gratuities to be granted to permanent Officers an the active lists of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (excluding the R.N.R., and R.N.V.R.) for service during the war on the following scales:-
      Relative Rank of Officer For the first year's service (or for part of a year if a year has not been served). Increment for each additional month after a year's service.
      Officers who have served at sea or overseas. Officers have not served or at overseas or overseas.





      Admiral of the Fleet











      Commodores, 1st and 2nd Class





      Captain over 3 years' seniority


      Commander and Captain under 3 years' seniority











      Commissioned Warrant Officer


      Warrant Officer




      Paymaster Cadet



    2. Officers who have served at sea or overseas for any period during the war to receive the higher rates of increment for the whole period of their war service after the first year,

    An Admiral of the Fleet would have received £864-00 and a Paymaster Cadet £63-00.
    Top of the upper deck getting well over 2000% more than the top of the lower deck!  Is that fair?

    Now we come to another of my ready made pages, this time on PRIZE MONEY.

    Jack received received three whacks of prize money.  The first line reads "Paid £15-00 Naval Prize Fund", the second read "Paid final share of Naval Prize Fund", and the last line reads "Paid supplementary Share of Naval Prize Fund".   The Naval Prize Fund filled its coffer with captured enemy ships/submarines which could be sold for scrap or sold on to non-enemy non-combatants as sea going units.  It was boosted to an unprecedented level when the surrendered German High Sea Fleet scuppered itself in Scapa Flow Scotland.  All the ships were raised on sold for scrap or used in the Royal Navy as viable fighting units. First world war sailors did well out of the Fund, but read THIS PAGE  for a full understanding of the money paid and why.



    Each and every person joining the navy is given an OFFICIAL NUMBER [it wasn't always the case as is apparent from the additional page referred to immediately above].  This number stayed with the man throughout his service until either discharged 'dead' or time expired after completing the contract of employment. In addition to this number, each separate ship used a 'crew' number, or a SHIPS BOOK NUMBER' and each man received his during his joining routine.  In Jack's time, all ships book numbers were recorded on the man's Service Certificate, and if you scroll back upwards to the section dealing with his first year in the Service [viz to HMS Victory, HMS Renown, HMS Victory, HMS Hecla [HMS Peterel] and HMS Blenheim [HMS Harpy] you will see those numbers in the 'List and No column' - you will also see them later on when we cover his other remaining ships/shore establishments. It wasn't uncommon for a man joining the Service to get what was called "a dead man's number" although by and large, there was always a 'device' with which more official numbers could be manipulated at times of  buoyant recruitment.

    Jacks Official Number was

    and straight away I am going to tell you that it showed what BRANCH he belonged to, and roughly, by the number, when he joined, but it doesn't show you where his PORT DIVISION is and thus where his HOME PORT is. From the additional page above,  we learn that Jack's series of Official Numbers STARTED on the 1st January 1908, so Jack was stoker recruit number 6076 in the first 2 years and 117 days of recruiting, on average the navy taking in just over 7 stokers per day, everyday.  By October 1925 [when Jack had been in the navy for over 15 years and was very nearly 34 years of age] the last stoker to join the navy under the same scheme Jack joined under, was given the Official Number of K66973 - 60, 897 stokers AFTER Jack had joined.  The very next day, the first new stoker recruit through the turn style was given the first of a new series of numbers for stokers which started with number 75001 but instead of it being prefixed with the Branch letter of  'K' only, they put an 'X' after the 'K', the number becoming KX75001 - remember Jack is just K6076.  This HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT letter 'X' meant that ratings with one were on lower pay than ratings without one, namely all those men who had been serving before the crunch day in October 1925.  In 1931, as the men were climbing out of their hammocks on broadside messes, they were told that ALL RATINGS NOW HAD THE LETTER 'X' as part of their official number, and that meant that the old boys, those serving before October 1925 had an IMMEDIATE PAY CUT to the 'X-men' rate of pay. That led to the infamous mutiny at Invergordon.  However, back to official numbers.

    Jack left the Service after 22 years in April 1932 when the repercussions of the Fleet pay cut of 1931 were still being worked out and even tested/challenged.  It took some time for the Invergordon mutiny to be laid to rest and for all these reasons it is apparent that Jack's Service Document was forgotten and was not endorsed to reflect that in his last few months of service, his Official Number should have been KX6076. Having said that, there is a strange entry on Jack's SC which is made in pencil and reads VIC...NOV or NOW or NORE or NONE {?} then 66978.

    The 'VIC' could be the usual sloppy work on SC's, proverbial in the first half of the century, and meaning HMS Victory [?]: of the four words beginning with the letter 'N' I would opt for NOV and not the Now, Nore or None options, and the number is just 5 numbers on from 66973, which [from above] was the last number given to stokers joining before a given date in October of 1925. Jack, as you will see saw full service in WW2 rejoining Victory during the phoney war in 1938 - more of that in a minute. Since there is no WW2 official number on his SC [exactly the same SC from joining in 1910 to leaving on pension in 1932] could it be, I wonder, his WW2 official number given to him by HMS Victory in November 1938, reflecting that he was the fifth pre-1925 man to answer the call to duty for the second time for WW2, and they have just continued his series, the pre October 1925 series which stopped at K66973 onwards, i.e., with 66974 et seq?  No! Too logical and in any event his pristine WW2 issued History Sheet for Stoker Ratings has him down as K6076 on the front cover, and in the centre spread page, as P/K6076, so back to square one, as they say!

    This is that near brand new WW2 History sheet:-





    The practice on leaving the Service after a given number of years, was to be given a free issue of civilian clothing.  This involved going to a store house and picking out a suitable suit [usually a three piece with waistcoat], a hat [usually a trilby] a raincoat,  a pair of shoes and a couple of shirts, The severity of the haircut notwithstanding, the idea was that you looked like a civilian on leaving the 'dockyard gate'.  As an option, for the choice of clothes was limited and all utility wear, one could elect to have cash in lieu so that one could purchase an outfit a little smarter that others had been given by adding a little on ones own money for the purchase.  Jack chose that option - a dandy of a Stoker I would think - and he was credited with 10 shillings [50p] on the 27th April 1932.  The initials P.C.G., means "Purchase Civilian Garments".

    Jack's professional record of various courses undertaken is shown here in his SC, and whilst it cannot be interpreted properly, the dates tell us a story.

    The first three events all took place during the time frame when he was a Stoker, 1st and 2nd class. Probably the 15th March 1914 entry rejoices in him passing his Leading Stoker examination for shortly afterwards he is promoted to Acting Leading Stoker.  This promotion is very commendable because he has achieved the first rung of the ladder with just four years service.  However, the next entry, 23rd February 1916, well into WW1 by then, shows him failing his Petty Office Stoker course, the second run of the ladder. This is a great pity and he seems to have been resigned to his fate of not progressing past the rate of Leading Stoker which he remained even till then end of WW2. The last two entries are 'technical' one relating to a course on which he scored 52 points and the other, in 1925, being issued with something or other. His WW1 Qualification Record shows him being assessed in numerous engine room and boiler room tasks and all are assessed highly.



    Now we move to the section which tells the overall story of the man's career, his up and down, his good times and bad times.  We look first at his CHARACTER  and remember, this is measured over 29 years and two [full] World Wars, so one hell of a criterion in those criteria shown on this page. The SC page itself is long so it is produced as a top and a bottom section. Throughout you will see no blemishes and one continuous score of VG meaning Very Good.

    Next comes the ABILITY column.  The very first entry shows VG and this is probably a mistake because ability was always shown as either Poor, Fair, Satisfactory, Superior and later on Exceptional.  There are ten Satisfactory assessments and nineteen Superior assessments, an excellent set of records made the better when I tell you this. It is highly improbable that in the early testing years a rating will be given anything other than a Satisfactory assessment [unless it is below satisfactory]. Also, one can warrant a Superior assessment in one rate, but as soon as the man is elevated to a new job on promotion with its traditional learning curve, it would be unfair to others to assess him as superior until he has fully mastered the new job and is above average in the performance of his duties thereafter as compared with his peers. However, Jack did hit a bad patch although the reason is not explicit.  On the 31st December 1925 he was given a Superior assessment a repeat of the one a year earlier and by the same Captain. By 31st December 1926, a new Captain marked him down as Satisfactory, and strangely that pattern was repeated in 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930 each with a new Captain. His last two assessment before leaving the navy on pension in 1931 and 1932, returned to a Superior assessment. In December 1939, after serving for a few months in a navy getting used to total war, his assessment was Satisfactory, although I would guess that most assessments were marked down especially the "Dad's Army" type of serviceman, once again getting used to being back in uniform. So, as I say, overall a good set of assessments. Incidentally, the RMG column is a recommendation for the man to receive his LS & GC [Long Service & Good Conduct] Medal plus a cash gratuity.

    Before we engage on the final part, namely that of his ships, submarines and shore stations, just three more little snippets.

    1.  During the 'phoney war' of roughly September 1938 to September 1939, Jack, who had no commitment as a pensioner to serve in the Reserve Forces, obviously volunteered to fight in WW2 if and when it came: a true HEART OF OAK.  He and other volunteers reported to RNB Portsmouth [HMS Victory] and stayed there from the 28th September until the 7th of October when all the reservists were DISPERSED with instructions to be ready should the call to arms come. READ THIS page - fascinating !

    2.  When war did come, Jack was paid the princely sum of £3-19-6 for his new WW2 naval uniform.  The authority for paying this sum was AFO [Admiralty Fleet Order] 3112/1939.

    3.  When the WW2 was finally over, and Jack had more than done his bit at sea as well as ashore in both wars, according to his Service Documents, the navy heaped a gross and unforgivable insult on this stalwart man, and didn't even bother to record that he was due for the DEFENCE MEDAL, that is assuming, God forbid, that they didn't forget to give him the medal.

    Defence Medal

    Defence Medal

    This medal's qualification requirements are numerous and varied. I have summarised them into the following points.

    • Service in the Forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service last at least three years.

    • Non-operational service in the Forces overseas or outside the country of residence, providing that this service lasted for at least one year. If the territory was threatened by the enemy, or subjected to air raids, the duration requirement was reduced to six months.

    • Civil defence in military operational areas providing these civil defence activities were not eligible for campaign stars.

    • Members of any of the civilian services entitled to wear chevrons for their war service were eligible for this medal.

    • Members of the Home Guard resident in the UK, who had completed at least three years service.

    • Recipients of the George Cross or George Medal, regardless of their occupation, provided the George Cross or George Medal were won for service in civil defence.

    Now for Jack's ships, submarines, and shore establishments.  From these two lists below

    we have already covered the first seven recorded ships, namely from HMS Victory to HMS Victory  {Royal Navy Barracks [RNB] Portsmouth and not Nelson's famous Flagship which at this time and until 1922, was anchored in the middle of Portsmouth harbour in need of much TLC}.  Our start here is therefore HMS Albemarle, December 1912 until May 1913.

    HMS Albermarle was a Royal Naval battleship of the Duncan Class. She saw service with the Channel Fleet in 1906. In February 1907 she became the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet and then flagship at Gibraltar in 1909. HMS Albermarle had her crew reduced to a minimum in February 1910 while at the Nore, but in October of that year became flagship once again at Portsmouth. She was refitted and joined the 4th Battle Squadron of the Home Fleet in 1912 and became a gunnery tender in May 1913 with the 6th Battle Squadron at Portsmouth. HMS Albermarle then joined The Grand Fleet in 1914 serving with the northern patrol. In February 1915 she saw service with the 6th and then the 3rd Battle Squadron of the Channel Fleet. Badly damaged on November 1915 in heavy weather while in the Pentland Firth she was repaired and then returned to Scapa Flow in December 1915. She was used as an ice breaker in order to get supplies through to Archangel. After having her guns replaced she served as an overflow ship to the naval barracks at Devonport during May 1917 and November 1918.

    Armament: Four 12 inch guns in turrets, twelve 6 inch guns, twelve 3 inch guns, six 3 pdr guns, two maxims and four torpedo tubes. Displacement: 14,000 tons. Speed: 19 knots. Complement: 750. Length: 405 ft. Breadth: 75.5 ft. Depth: 27.25 ft.

    HMS Albermarle

    She was followed by a stint back in Depot [shore - HMS Victory ] from May 1913 until the end of June 1913. Jack then went off to join HMS Attentive which he served in from 30th June 1913 until the 13th February 1917.

    HMS Attentive
    Built Armstrong, Elswick, laid down January 1904, completed October 1905.

     Cost £275,000.

    Length 374 feet pp 395 feet overall, beam 38 feet 3 inches, draught 12 feet 3 inches, displacement 2,640 tons load.

    2 shaft TE engines, 16,000 ihp, 25kts

    Adventure 15,850 ihp = 25.42 knots
    Attentive 16,195 ihp = 25.6 knots

    2-0.5in decks

    10 x 12 pounder QF (10 x 1), 8 x 3 pounder QF (8 x 1), 2 x 18in TT

    One of four pairs of Scouts ordered to a general specification with the exact design left up to the individual builders.  Not long after completion the two additional 12 pounder guns were added and the 3 pounder guns were replaced with 6 x 6 pounders.  In 1911-12 they were reamed with 9 x 4 inch guns.  Crew 268.

    HMS Attentive
    6th Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.
    7 September 1915 Damaged by German aircraft near Ostend.
    23 April 1918 took part in the Zeebrugge Raid.
    1918 Gibraltar.
    1918 Murmansk.
    1920 Sold for scrap.

    HMS Attentive.  Although the class had been rearmed with 4inch guns these were outranged by those of many German destroyers and by the end of the war she carried a gun armament of 2 x 6 inch guns  6 x 4inch guns, a 3 inch anti-aircraft gun but no torpedo tubes.

    As a purists wanting results, it has to be said that HMS Attentive didn't see the ravages of Jutland, Coronel, Dogger Bank or the Falklands, but she did see WW1 action and during Jack's time onboard in 1915.

    And so to Dolphin, HMS Dolphin that is, at Fort Blockhouse Gosport, the submarine base.  The time 14th February 1917 - isn't that St Valentines Day ?  I am going to stick my neck out and say that we are about to enter one of those silly S & S Branch wobblies were the WREN ledger keeper and the WREN SC writer have got other things on their mind ! Will I, or will I not, receive a card of love from my boy friend ?  I hope you did darling, but come on, first an entry suggesting a reversion, then a reference to a 1921 AFO, alongside a 1917 SC entry. If you look at the 13th and 14th entries, both Dolphin, you will see "Reverted for" alongside the 13th and an incomprehensible entry alongside the 14th.  The crossed tick in this area points towards an Admiralty Fleet Order 2922 of 1921 which we must disregard as erroneous or a retrospective entry, but whatever, cryptic!    What is relevant,  is that alongside entry 14th, in the Rating column, we can clearly see the letters "Sto" struck out  and replaced by the '-"-' sign, meaning as above, and as above is the Leading Stoker rate. This ledger entry, which by the 4th March 1917 had been put right, is clearly an entry endorsed on Jack's papers which should have been endorsed on another mans papers.  That said, I am suspicious of entry No 17 [second HMS Crescent entry] and why they should endorsed the column with a "Lg Sto" when clearly, the -"- sign should have been appropriate, as indeed it was below in many places .  For the record, Jack is a Leading Stoker on the 14th February 1917 and he is a Leading Stoker  onboard the submarine 'K11' on the 5th March 1917. Therefore, reversion is out of the question even though the man is changing from General Service to the Submarine Service were skills are obviously different. Is it possible that the reversion means from General Service to Submariner ? There is little, nay nothing, on the SC to support this change!

    Jack had two stints in the submarine 'K11', one, a short period when the Depot Ship was HMS Fearless  [5th March 1917 - 25th May 1917] and the other when HMS Crescent was the Depot Ship [or mother ship] from 26th May 1917 to 7th July 1917. 

    HMS Fearless
    Built Pembroke Dockyard, laid down November 1911, completed October 1913.

    Length 385 feet pp 406 feet overall, beam 41 feet 6 inches, draught 15 feet 7 inches, displacement 3,440 tons normal 4,000 tons deep ,load..

    4 shaft Parsons turbines, 18,000 shp, 25kts

    1in decks

    10 x 4in 50cal Mk VIII (10 x 1), 4 x 3 pounder (4 x 1), 2 x 18in TT

    The last class of British scout cruisers.  Crew 321.

    Fearless in World War 1
    Leader 1st Destroyer Flotilla with the Harwich Force.
    1916 Leader 12th submarine flotilla Grand Fleet.
    31 January 1918 Accidentally rammed and sank submarine K 17.
    1921 Sold for scrapping.

    HMS Fearless

    HMS Crescent, Royal Navy Cruiser of the Edgar Class.   Launched 30th March 1892 and served in the Cape and West African Station, returning in 1907. She joined the Home Fleet 4th Cruiser Squadron 1909-1913, in February 1913 she joined the training squadron in Queenstown. At the outbreak of World War I, she joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron Aug 1914- Feb 1915. Disarmed in November 1915 and became a depot ship attached to the Grand Fleet. Finally broken up September 1921.

    HMS Crescent

    'K' Class Submarines

    Number completed before 1919  17
    Number completed after 1919  1
    Lost in action  0
    Lost accidentally  5
    Prototype date  1916
    Surface tonnage 1883
    Submerged tonnage  2565
    Length  338 feet
    Engine  Steam
    Horsepower  10,500
    Screws  2
    Surface speed  23 knots
    Submerged speed  9 knots
    Torpedo tubes  18 inches
    Number of torpedoes tubes  8
    Guns  2 x 4 inches; 1 x 3 inches
    Crew 50 to 60

    HMS K11

    K11 was a K class submarine built by Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle Upon Tyne. It was laid down in October 1915. She was commissioned in February 1917. In 1917, K11 was damaged by fire during a North Sea patrol. She was forced to surface and was towed by a destroyer. K11 was part of the 'battle of May island' exercise. She was forced to take avoiding action to avoid K14. She survived the exercise. K11 was sold on the 4th November 1921.

    Above is a picture of K6,  identical to K11.  Remembering that she was a STEAM submarine [just like nuclear submarines of today], note her two funnels and the two guns either side of the forward funnel.

    HMS Ambrose is his next ships from the 8th July 1919 to 8 September 1919. He did not serve in a submarine at this time and he would have been drafted as 'Ambrose [S/M]' meaning that he was 'spare crew' ready to replace any of the leading stokers serving on a boat in the squadron/flotilla who was taken sick.

    HMS AMBROSE  Submarine Depot Ship 6480 tons.

    • Clyde, S.B. Co., 1915. Purchased 1915.

    • Dimensions: 387.75 (o.a.) x 47.5 x 20.5 feet.

    • Guns 2 - 12 pdr.

    • I.H.P. 6350 = 14.5 kts.

    • Complement. 240.

    HMS Ambrose with her boats on trots on the port side.

    This was followed by the submarine Depot Ship HMS Titania, but this time to a running boat the L5. He joined this boat on the 6th September 1919 and left her on the 29th August 1921 - a good stint of nearly two years.

    HMS TITANIA Submarine Depot Ship  5200 tons.

    • Clyde S.B. Co., 1915, purchased 1915.

    • Dimensions : 335 (p.p.) x 46.25 x 18.25 feet.

    • I.H.P. 3200 = 14.5 kts. Cyl. boilers.

    • Torpedo tubes : 2.

    • Coal: 498 tons.

    • Complement, 245.

    HMS Titania

    H.M. Submarine L5 features:-

    Boat L5 Laid Down 28-08-1916
    Class  L Launched 26-01-1918
    Pennant L5 Completed 15-05-1918
    Builder Swan Hunter (Tyne) Group L Grp1
    Fate Involved in a collision with a dredger in 1929. Scrapped
    Other Info'  
    Length overall
    231' 1"
    23' 5½"
    Depth, pressure hull
    15' 9¼"
    891 tons
    1074 tons
                         Fuel type


    Diving depth
    150 feet
    No. of shafts
    3 blades, 5' 7" diameter
    Speed, surface
    17 knots
    17 to 17.5 knots
    Speed, submerged
    10.5 knots
    10.5± knots
    Endurance, surface
    2800 miles (full power)
    2850 miles (full power)
    3600 miles (half full power)
    Endurance, submerged
    14 miles (full power)
    14 miles (full power)
    65 miles at 5 knots
    4 18-inch bow tubes
    2 18-inch beam tubes
    (10 torpedoes carried)
    1 4-inch gun

    L, H & R Class Submarines

    L Class Submarines 1916 - 1945

    Delighted with the success of the E Class submarines, the Admiralty decided, in 1916, to revert to the saddle tank-type of construction, but incorporating the lessons learned from war experience. Two submarines to a new Admiralty design were ordered from Vickers in February 1916 and, being practically elongated Es, they were called E57 and E58. However, overall improvements so distinguished the design that a new class title was adopted, the L Class, and the two boats were later renamed L1 and L2.

    By December 1916, a total of 34 L Class submarines had been ordered, but of these only 27 were commissioned - L28 to L32 were broken-up after commencement and L34 and L35 were cancelled. L13 was never ordered, presumably for 'superstitious' reasons. (Memories of the K13?) Eighteen of the class were built at Vickers, three of which were completed in other yards.

    L Class submarines can be divided into three groups: L1 to L8 with 18-inch bow and beam tubes; L14, L17 and L24 to L27, which were fitted as minelayers, with 21-inch bow tubes; and L9 to L33 (excluding the minelayers) which had 21-inch bow tubes and 18-inch beam tubes.

    In addition to torpedo armament, the class carried a gun mounted on the superstructure forward of the bridge. Although the earlier boats (L1 to L8) carried a 3-inch HA gun, all the class were eventually fitted with a 4-inch gun of various descriptions - for a three-man increase in the complement: this increase meant that the L boats had a 38-man crew, but even so, they carried only one l2ft 6in collapsible lifeboat.

    The L Class were the first submarines to carry some of the normal fuel stowage in external tanks. Although only about 20 tons of fuel was carried in two lightly-constructed tanks, this started the practice, which was developed in the 1920s, of carrying a large amount of fuel externally.

    The main engines of the class were two 12-cylinder diesels, giving a total of 2400 bhp at 380 rev/min. Some authorities quote 2600 bhp, but this was the bench test power of the

    engines. L Class submarines carried 336 cells in three battery tanks, grouped to allow working at 220 volts in series and 110 volts in parallel, producing submerged power for four main motors of the open shunt wound double-armature-type, developing a total of 1600 bhp at 300 rev/mm for 1 1/2 hours. Also, an auxiliary drive consisting of a 20-hp motor, driving the starboard shaft through a worm drive, could give a slow-running submerged speed of 1.75 knots.

    A surface speed in excess of 17 knots was hoped for in the L Class and, even when carrying additional fuel in the external tanks, there is no doubt that this speed was attained. The first boat on trials, L1, actually obtained 17.2 knots and, in 1930, 17.6 knots was given as the design surface speed for the class. Although a design-submerged speed of 11 knots was anticipated in L1, the fitting of a 5ft 6in high fixed bridge screen reduced this to 10.5 knots.

    Although it has been stated that the designed diving depth of the L Class was 250 feet, the officially used maximum diving depth, in 1925, was 150 feet - based on the age of the boats, their wartime construction, etc. However, depths, in service, of more than 250 feet have been recorded and, on one occasion, L2 accidentally submerged to 300 feet and, except for minor faults withstood the pressure.

    Of the L Class, only one was lost during the war - L10, in the North Sea. In August 1923, L9 foundered in Hong Kong harbour in a typhoon and was later salvaged, but was not refitted. In January 1924, L24 was accidentally rammed and sunk off Portland by the battleship HMS Resolution. At the time, prolonged efforts were made to salvage her, and a team of German divers, with a new type of diving suit, which enabled them to work in deeper waters, was brought over. Unfortunately, the strong underwater currents proved too difficult and the L24 still lies where she sank. In October 1945, L23 was the last L boat to be taken out of service 28 years after she was laid down - thus reflecting the success of the class.

    The building of the L boats led to the construction of the L50 Class, which was the L Class modified to give increased armament. Although none were built at Vickers, a total of 25 L50 submarines were ordered from seven yards, but of these only seven were completed.

    This picture shows an identical submarine to that of the L5, namely her sister boat the L7 taken in Grand Harbour, Malta.

    After two years at sea in a running boat, it was time for dear old Jack to have a rest - if he was lucky ! i.e, hoping that none of the other leading stokers in the squadron/flotilla were taken ill. Jack was drafted back to the Ambrose [S/M] {submarine depot ship} from 30th Aug 1921 until the 8th November 1921, and then, continuing the "rest", to HMS Dolphin [S/M] Gosport Hampshire UK., from 9th November 1921 until the 21st September 1922 - just over one year in all but of course, we do not know whether he had short trips in Ambrose' and Dolphin' running boats as a spare crew relief. On the 22nd September 1922 he started another two year sea duty in the submarine H31 based on HMS Dolphin. One could be mistaken into choosing the submarine K31  or R31 for the handwriting on the SC suggests it could be a 'H' a 'K' or an 'R', but the number 31 did not extend into the 'K' and 'R' classes.

    The picture below is of  submarine H31. 

    HM Submarine H31

    The 'H' class was quite a complicated affair in provision terms. This set of parameters will give you a good idea of what that statement means.

    H Class Submarines.  H1 to H10 Built by Vickers in Canada

    Displacement: 364 tons on the surface and 434 Tons Submerged. Range 1600 Nautical Miles.  Speed: 13 knots on the surface and 11 Knots submerged   Compliment: 22   Armament: 4 18-inch Torpedo Tubes in the Bow and carried 6 torpedoes

    These submarines were very similar in design to the US,  H class submarines, the first  10 submarines were ordered form the Bethlehem Steel company, but to get round the US neutrality laws the components were assembled in Montreal at the Vickers yard. They were completed in 1915 and made a new record for the crossing of the Atlantic by a Submarine. 

    H Class Submarines H11  to H20 Built by Bethlehem's Fore River Navy Yard

        Displacement: 364 tons on the surface and 434 Tons Submerged. Range 1600 Nautical Miles.  Speed: 13 knots on the surface and 11 Knots submerged   Compliment: 22   Armament: 4 18-inch Torpedo Tubes in the Bow and carried 6 torpedoes

    The second batch of submarines were delayed by the US Government, until they entered the war. Six of these submarines were given to Chile to compensate for ships requisitioned by the admiralty (these included battleships) Two others were given to Canada after the war

    (Improved) H Class  H21 to H34 Built at UK Navy and Dockyards

    This improved version of the 'H' class (using 21 inch Torpedo's) were built in UK yards, but a majority of the fittings, including all the Engines  and main motors were produced in the US and shipped to the UK

     H35  to H40 were cancelled in October 1917.  H41 started but cancelled on the blocks Oct 1917

      H42 and H46  Cancelled October 1917

    H31 was completed too late to take part in WW1.  However, tragically she did fight in WW2 and was lost in the opening year of the war with all hands.

    H31 Built by Vickers 16th November 1918 Lost on 18th October 1940. sunk by German patrol vessels off the Dutch Coast

    Jack's final submarine draft was the submarine depot ship HMS Vulcan where he served from 28th February 1924 until the 29th April 1926, another two year stint. Throughout most of this period he would have been spare crew.

    HMS Vulcan

    In April 1926 Jack returned to his parent depot, to General Service, which was in RNB Portsmouth viz HMS Victory. On the 25 August 1926 he was drafted to HMS Turquoise  which was tendered to HMS Spencer the mother ship.  The Spencer was an old Shakespeare class destroyer:-

    Type Destroyer
    Displacement 1554 BRT 
    Length 329 feet (oa) 
    Complement 164 men 
    Armament 5 4.7" guns (5x1)
    1 3" AA gun
    1 MG AA
    6 x 21" torpedo tubes (2x3)
    Max speed 33 knots
    Engines Geared steam turbines 
    Power 40000 hp 
    Notes on class Designed and built by Thornycroft as flotilla leaders for the V & W-class destroyers in 1917.

    HMS Spencer were decommissioned in the 30's and sold for scrap in 1936.

    HMS Spencer

    HMS Turquoise was probably a 'good draft'  because, generally speaking, any small vessel engendered a betters ships company.