A DIFFICULT PERIOD FOR MANY REASONS

WW1 and a few things you might not be familiar with!

As the war "which will be over by Christmas" [that's Christmas 1914] or so it was said in early 1914, rolled on into mid 1918, there was concern at the outcome and when it would come; the unbelievable losses on all sides; a suspect disease, which months later manifested itself as Spanish Flu killing many millions [recorded as twenty one] of people world wide; troubles on the home-front, and sooner than later, an on-coming time when the sacrifice of service personnel would seem to be forgotten!  Moreover, what some of our 'tommies' were not told and thus were totally unprepared for, was that many would not go home when the war finished, but that they would be kept back to undertake a heartbreaking and ghastly task. More of all that in a moment.

On the home front, gutsy politicians were asking awkward questions of senior politicians who by their lack of actions {remember that these people helped to fill the ranks of those who "had a good war" so did it really matter to them?} appeared to have missed, that foreign civilians without guns were just as dangerous to the civilian non combatant population in the UK, as foreign enemy troops with guns were to our troops at the front. In 1918 but mooted well before the war had ended, that home-front concern was to address enemy aliens, Russians [Bolsheviks], fifth columnists, internment camps, bogus soldiers sailors and airmen, black market racketeers, neutrals who would take the side of those countries willing to cross their palms with silver for subversive acts, plus no doubt, other undesirables.

Some of those titles you will be aware of and the harm they can do and did do to our country, so I do not intend to describe them all. However, I will briefly touch upon the Bolsheviks, internment camps, bogus soldiers, starting with bogus service personnel. Each new section starts with the first word shown in white font on a black background

You would be amazed to read the old newspaper archives and to discover in nationals and local papers, the number of men [mainly] who overtly dressed-up in soldiers [mainly] uniforms bedecked with war medals, quite often the VC, 'wound stripes','chevrons' and 'silver war badges', conning all who would listen to their lies [including the Lord Mayor of a large English city who put on a banquet for one imposter in his honour]. Many men who were not called to war though they were eligible age-wise, suffered from the "white feather" syndrome, which some women handed to these men [often unfairly not knowing of their circumstances] suggesting that they were cowards and needed to be paraded publicly to be ostracised from society. In lots of cases the stigma [deserved or not] introverted many men, whilst clearly others took the hint and 'joined up in the army of their pretense, as though acting out a charade almost using an alter ego.  They must have known that they would be found out especially when all knew it was [and still is] an offence to bring disrepute to his/her Majesty's uniform and military insignia associated with it. I am sure that that understanding is universal in all countries having standing armed forces, except that is for middle-east terrorists who regularly pose as policemen or soldiers to gain false entry into secure areas for the sole purpose of murdering bonafide security forces or innocent civilians! Of the many examples of uniform misuse I have sourced for this page, I will publish only a few for you to see and ponder over.

  The first case results in an imprisonment of the SECOND DIVISION. Please read this link which speedily describes such a punishment http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1923/jul/19/prison-treatment-second-division

In all cases with my pdf files, it may be better to zoom out using the Adobe tool integral to the pdf file, to make the read easier on the eye.

This is the case of a jobbing electrician who before travelling to London was sacked in Orkney for bad workmanship. It beggars belief that in 1919, when lakes-of-tears had been shed for those lost in uniform, that he would be so audacious, so calculating, so insensitive and cruel as to emulate a Major in the RAF [later changed to Squadron Leader]. That he wore a VC, DSO, DFC, AFM, War Medals, Pilots Wings, five chevrons and two wound stripes is truly contemptible. I will explain chevrons, wound stripes and silver war badges later on in the page, what they were and why they were issued and what replaced them. For some of you this will bring back memories of Idi Amin the President of Uganda who took to wearing the VC, DSO, MC and CBE which to him meant Conqueror of the British Empire instead a Commander of..... [and others] on his resplendent but much ridiculed army uniform, that worn by a British Field Marshal, the highest rank obtainable. Whilst he served in the Colonial British Army [from 1947] the highest rank possible for a Black African was that of a warrant officer, note a basic warrant officer only, a rank called WO2 in the army. The army had a system of having a WO1 and from it a commission to a captain, so two WO grades. The navy had three WO Grades, calling a basic WO a WO 2nd class [or a WO with less than 10 years service as such], then, after ten years as a WO 1st class or a WO with 10 or more years seniority as a WO] and finally, a CWO [Chief WO].  After many years as such, he could become a wardroom commissioned officer, known as a Ranker. Thus an army captain from the ranks and a navy Ranker were exactly the same ranks at the start of their "ladder climbing" in the wardroom/officers mess.

1919-08-25.pdf

This story happened during the war. As you will read he was the victim of an Australian practical joke. That a genuine holder of the VC vouched for him and that there was a Lord Mayors reception in his honour in York and a second Mayors reception elsewhere makes the story even more bizarre. I leave you to judge but I find it a little difficult to believe simply because all service personnel know, or should know, that the notification of the award of a VC comes direct from Buckingham Palace, and where possible, it is always presented personally by the monarch. I wonder whether the defendant  chose to check his pay to ascertain that he was drawing a sergeants salary!
1917-03-15.pdf

This also involves an Australian uniform, this time worn in London by a local female. Her story is more believable than the one above, but nevertheless, note the liability to severe punishment for discrediting the Kings uniform. There is no record of her being recalled at the magistrates pleasure for subsequent punishment.
1919-07-02.pdf

The moral of this story is that you never know who's who, and one should never assume anything. It is a most unusual story of a police constable who left the force to join up for the war. He joined the RNVR as a rating and worked his way up to the rank of a commander. After the war, he returned to being a police constable. His name was PC Price.
1919-08-25...pdf

A rogue by any standard! I have no doubt that eventually he was punished accordingly.
1918-08-09.pdf

Sadly [for such people are basically sad people] there are other stories to tell not just for WW1 but also for WW2

Next, the Russians or specifically the Bolsheviks. In this story, take note of the two extremes of the lot of the soldier. You will remember that the Russian Revolution took place in 1917 effectively pulling Russia out of WW1 as a combatant ally force to fight its own domestic war, the Russian Civil War which lasted until 1923/4. The Bolsheviks [those who over threw the Tsar and murdered his whole family] under Lenin's leadership, rallied to the relatively new communists banner and were keen to spread communism around the world in an attempt to destabilise it by destroying democracies. They were keen to establish communist enclaves and to encourage them to recruit as many converts as possible. The UK was ripe for such a venture for there were many disillusioned people who saw WW1 as a "game" for the officer classes, little realising that pro rata, as many officers lost their lives as did ordinary soldiers, presupposing that the so called "game" was masochistic! How wrong and unkind was that thought? It was important for the Government to address this problem. The Bolsheviks probably thought that if they could over-throw their monarch and free themselves from The Great War to fight a parochial civil war or revolution, we could rid ourselves of the Windsor's and do the same. Fortunately, relatively few took the bait, the vast majority remaining loyal to the King who saw no reason to switch from a true democracy to an autocracy. The Bolsheviks, who in truth had exchanged an autocracy under the Tsar for an autocracy under Lenin and The Party, formed the RED ARMY. It and its leader Lenin were not recognised by the UK who had chosen to see as the Russian Leader, Admiral Koltchak. To many in and outside Russia  he held that position from 1918 until 1920. He raised an army from the anti-Bolsheviks within Russian [and from his despotic, yes cruel means of forced conscription] plus other volunteer armies, and called the army the WHITE ARMY - there was also a BLACK and a GREEN ARMY and throughout, each was responsible for mass slaughter and executions. He based the White Army in the north of Russia [Siberia].  After the war in November 1918, Britain, sympathetic to Admiral Koltchak's cause, called for a volunteer army from men aged 19 and over with recent war experience in France/Flanders to join the White Army. Many men rallied to the cause including infantry men from the RND and men from the 286th Bde RFA [see below]. They were supplied and paid by the War Office, kept their same rank held in the British Army/Navy, and were contracted for an undefined period thought to be one year. They were transported in a troopship from Tilbury Docks in early April 1919 with other Government sponsored/requisitioned ships bringing up the rear carrying horses, artillery pieces/other weapons with ammunition, stores and supplies plus the necessary RAMC personnel to set up hospitals and dressing stations. However, come late 1919, Britain had recalled its volunteer army, although it maintained its support in all other forms - money, food, armaments, ammunition and intelligence for the White forces. Regrettably, one of the Admiral's many enemies captured him and delivered him to the Red Army. He was executed [shot] soon afterwards. The White Army was defeated and the Russian Revolution continued until all of Russia and its people had capitulated to the 'hammer and cycle'.  The fate of the British volunteer army which was supported by the British Government is not a part of this my story, although most of it retreated back to Constantinople to be shipped back home. However, here are the two extremes I mentioned above. There are many examples of these extremes but I show you just two. The first tells of the perverse discipline dished out by some British officers. These marines were part of the British Volunteer Army and this is how they were treated by an uncaring army artillery officer, patently obviously unaware of how infantry soldiers fought in the field.

HANSARD  Royal Marines Court Martial.htm

The second example tells of the mercy given to prisoners-of-war, in this case captured by the Bolsheviks of the Red Army from the ranks of the White Army.

 If you need to know a little more about the famous Russian admiral then look at this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kolchak and or this link for details of the Red, White, Black and Green armies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Civil_War  We tend to think of the Russian Revolution/Civil War as a two dimensional affair of an uprising of the masses against the monarch and monarchists. It was far too complicated a war, far from being black and white [pardon the pun], having many shades of grey!

See this file for the British volunteer army 1919-04-09.pdf. Again, poor quality so this is a retype Retype.pdf However, the bottom part of the original file "Koltchak's Offensive" is perfectly readable, so it is worth opening the file.

Internment Camps had been established in 1915 to incarcerate all known enemy aliens at liberty to come and go as they pleased in the British Isles. As the war dragged on, and British people observed the lack of enforcement of discipline in Internment Camps, and witnessed aliens being excused incarceration, more and more resentment was voiced, even, in some quarters, suggesting that mob-rule was a suitable alternative to the Government's reluctance to enforce the rules designed to curtail the activities of these most hated aliens.

DORA which stands for DEFENCE OF [the] REALM ACT is an integral part of this "Internment" section, except that for 'Camps' one should read 'Prisons'. It tells the story of the many German spies executed in the Tower of London in WW1 with one execution outside the Tower, of their mass grave dug in East London, and how the name of one of these executed spies was to live on into WW2 as a Nazi warship, and now today, that name surmounts the mass grave which is tended by the laying of flowers. It is a sad and harrowing tale, but one of great and general interest. However you chose to read it [in what order] remember this URL and open it now or return to it after you have completed reading this page. You can find it here http://www.godfreydykes.info/How_the_name_of_an_executed_WW1_German_spy_lives_on_today_in_the_UK.html

 

This is an original July 1918 newspaper story which is difficult to read even using the zoom out facility on the pdf control panel. It is not therefore published. Please read this retype here.

London had many regiments garrisoned around the two cities [City of Westminster and City of London] there to assist the civilian police with Westminster being policed by the Metropolitan Police and London by the City of London Police, plus the Military Police, in all matters of internal security, often involving fifth columnists, and free to roam enemy aliens. It was the usual practice to use troops over in the UK on leave from the front.

In Hackney, it was once suggested, with, as I read it, Police backing, that suspects should be made to read a list of cockney-slang words/phrases and then to tell the interrogator what each word/phrase chosen meant. They got this idea from an old procedure used in the City of London at the 'Old Bailey' [the Old Bailey was built on the site of the infamous Newgate prison with hanging staging's built at the front for public viewings of executions and within the prison itself when the hanged person was of no interest to the general public. Prior to 1800 one could be hanged for a whole host of crimes, many petty even by the standards of those days. It paid to be able to read but more importantly, to understand what you have read and to be ready to answer any questions. By and large, what you would have to read would be verses from the Bible, so a literate Christian might succeed but a Jew or a Muslim wouldn't have a chance in hell: nor would a foreign accent! It worked like this. The death sentence was delivered whereupon the condemned person claims the "Benefit of the Clergy". The judge [or court priest if present] would then chose a piece of the bible and if you could read it properly and answer any questions posed, you could, and usually did, escape the noose [or worse]. You were given an alternative punishment with or without hard labour including any deportation. The biblical piece was euphemistically called the "neck verse" and for a longish period it was any of the verses from psalm 51. That neck verse saved many from the gallows. Now I know why I started Sunday School and reading books just shortly after acquiring potty skills! You jut never know when these skills will be needed. Whilst I wonder how they coped with these aliens, I worry even more about how we would cope today if a situation arose where we needed total mobilisation, say to fight the Islamic State. I subtend that the vast majority of our Muslim immigrant population would default on a general call-up claiming all kinds of excuses not to fight for the motherland, rather like Mohamed Ali [Cassius Clay] who refused the U.S., draft because he had converted to the Muslim faith. Moreover, were such an event to arise, I'll wager that many of our immigrants would wander off to fight on the side of our enemy. That would be good of course, because after we have defeated the enemy, non of these people would be allowed back.

So, bogey-man Jerry the Hun of WW1 infamy, skulking around those Hackney streets up to no good [apart from making cars, remind me of what good the Germans do?] is stopped, and in good diction using perfect English is asked to read out twenty cockney-slang words/phrases from a page having fifty such words/phrases. I haven't got time to muck about so here are just five from the twenty required - currant bun - cows and kisses - china plate - gypsy;s kiss - hampton wick.

If you want to know more about that "neck verse" have a read of this <http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Punishment.jsp>

Going along nicely, if killing from  a distance can be considered so, and then a change which affected many in the army some never recovering from the experience, leading to a life of despair, of constant daymares and nightmares and subsequently suicide! We know that many of the soldiers in the front line suffered in similar fashion afterwards, but whilst serving at the front, the majority succumbed to gas attacks, hellish artillery attacks, machine gun rakings, hand to hand fighting using bayonets and flame-throwers and privations of unspeakable deplorability. The difference in this my story, is that some were affected whilst wielding a shovel surrounded by rotting flesh and decomposing bodies whilst others were affected or died with a rifle [weapon] in their hands fully aware of their mortality, but with a hope in their hearts that they would win through with their comrades alongside them. Although it begs the question, I would doubt whether the ordinary soldier at or near the front would ever have considered the task of formally collecting and burying the dead, not just temporarily burying their fallen comrades in shallow graves as an expedient!

Thus, when my maternal grandpa's proud regiment of TA gunners in the RFA, were ordered to shut the breeches of their heavy calibre guns, and prepare themselves for a dramatic change of employment, there was consternation and disbelief.

My grandpa, Gunner [a private soldiers rank] Arthur Clifford  STOTT, Service No 231634 had joined the TA in Bradford and come 1917 [ newly married to my grandma Sarah Ann Hartshorn] found himself in the 286th Brigade RFA [Royal Field Artillery] in the thick of it, in the 'nord-pas-de-Calais' = a region of North East France.  Over time the Brigade moved to various battle areas and at the start of 1918 had been billeted near the town of Bethune at that time relatively peaceful and devoid of German artillery shells. Bethune, a large town, is approximately fifty miles only from Dover as the crow flies, which was the site of several dressing stations where the wounded were brought for assessment before going to a field hospital for further assessment [surgery or casualty evacuation to a UK hospital]  or, after medical care, sent to the rear-of-the-line for a period of light duties. Like all regiments and brigades, the men shared a camaraderie based on their home area environments back home in the UK, plus regimental pride and ones place in it despite a lowly rank, was their new home address as it were, and a rallying point when things were not going well for the men. Their officers understood their men and discipline was tempered and accepted by all, designed to keep everybody in check, on their toes, and pulling for the common good of the "pals brigade" without destroying their sense of humour and natural reluctance to obey "silly and childish" orders.  The 286th was a west Yorkshire/East Lancashire territorial army outfit with the White and Red roses well represented. During the second quarter of 1918 the Germans restarted their campaign of shelling Bethune and the areas of the 'nor-pas-de-Calais' and by July/August 1918 had pretty well wrecked Bethune and destroyed the outlying infrastructure. The dressing stations had been moved during the shelling, but on cessation, the 286th had, with other units been moved back nearer to the now wrecked town.

Soon after, the consternation and disbelief mentioned above, ordered many from this brigade to leave the RFA and to join the Labour Corps [what became the Pioneer Corps and now the Logistics Corps] a Corps not known for its "pals regiment" mentality, humour or robust morale. From this Corps some [including my grandpa] were posted to No8 Unit Graves and Enquiries. One cannot image what his duties were, but we can guess that a private in the Labour Corps didn't sit at a desk with lilly-white soft-skinned hands, but was probably engaged in recovering the dead, placing their remains in coffins and, but for the times when he [they] were used as burial-party possibly firing a graveside salute after each block of coffins had been lowered into earth, spending most of his time with a shovel/spade in his hands. Well, whatever his duties as a "labourer" were, I am sure that he would have preferred to remain as a "warrior", even though all must have recognised the necessity of affording full military honours to the fallen, and no doubt he would have found comfort and pride in his newly enforced role eventually. However, disease was a great killer in WW1 and many died in foreign fields of diseases they could well have contacted back home: flu, whooping cough, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, consumption [TB] etc etc, but also diseases like cholera, dysentery, polio.  Poor Arthur contacted the dreadful disease of meningitis, usually meaning a long and painful death, and died after being field-hospitalised. He is buried in one of the graves his fellow labourers were preparing, with, and justly so, full military honours, like so many he had probably helped to lay into their final resting position, into a field which is forever England. We, as a family, know that it is not a disaster had it be done differently, but we are pleased that he was buried as a Gunner and not as a Private in the Labour Corps. As dear Arthur died of disease, so too did his  darling wife succumb to the dreadful plague of Spanish Flu which killed in excess of twenty millions around the world at the end of the war. Could any part of our daily existence today ever be considered as tough, unfair, cruel? I think not! Here are just a few bits and pieces about grandpa, whose WW1 record like hundreds of thousands of others, was destroyed by Nazi bombers and V1/2 Rockets during WW2 attacks on London.

STOTT 2.pdf - medal roll ARTHUR STOTT.pdf - STOTT 3.pdf - STOTT 4.pdf - STOTT 5.pdf - STOTT 6.pdf - STOTT 7.pdf - STOTT 8.pdf - STOTT 9.pdf -

STOTT 10.pdf - STOTT 11.pdf - STOTT 12.pdf - STOTT 13.pdf - STOTT 14.pdf - STOTT 15.pdf - STOTT 16.pdf - STOTT 17.pdf

At the start of WW1 which saw the first RND units being sent to Belgium, the War office and the Admiralty were pre-occupied with the prosecution of the "short war" that any "tangible rewards" were not even considered never mind documented and scheduled. That was not so surprising really given the issues associated with the 2nd Boer War which were ongoing ten years before the outbreak of the Great War in 1904 - the war finished in 1901. In such a short war  [believed by virtually all as being the case] relatively few men would need to be rewarded and in similar fashion materiel would not cause any headaches!  How wrong were they? How very wrong was everybody, including possibly the Germans and Austrians!

As the war gathered pace and started to draw or at least indicate the lines of battle, the Government started to make medium to long term provisions involving the recruitment of fighting men, of women taking over "mens work/jobs", food stockpiling and rationing where necessary, ramping-up the necessary tools and manufacture of war materiel etc. In fact, we can say that they started to take things seriously. All these avenues were of great importance, indeed without them the war would drag on and we stood a chance of losing it. However, common sense tells one that above all else, the lot of the fighting man had to be recognised and visibly rewarded. Soldiers who remained in the UK couldn't and didn't fight the enemy, and a distinction had to be made between those going abroad to fight and those who did not. By simple deduction, soldiers were ferried to war in steamers and the moment they arrived in France after a very short journey, was the moment their overseas service started. Sailors on the other hand could always be considered to be harms way even if the warship never visited a foreign port, because they could meet the enemy over the horizon at any time. Thus, if a sailor was drafted to a seagoing ship or a ship/shore establishment based in a foreign port subject to attack by the enemy, then his time abroad started as soon as he became a member of the ship's company.  Soldiers posted to more distant foreign lands either in the field or in barracks, came under the same rules as though they were going to the North European battlefields, only with a much longer sea journey. For several war years the way these men were rewarded was to issue each man with a chevron [an overseas chevron not to be confused with an NCO's chevron]] to be worn on the sleeve of his tunic, jumper or jacket. There were no medals, but a 'chevron card' was maintained which later became a 'medal card'. This card was raised and maintained by all in the combatant zones, and none was shut out of the system. Technically, this meant every living thing we mobilised to fight the war including animals. Sadly, there is no record of chevrons being awarded to individual horses [except for private horses - see below] simply because there were literally thousands and thousands of them, but animals in fewer numbers were awarded them and its was up to local authorities to claim them for mascots, for messenger pigeons and for official dogs. There are stories of claiming chevrons for pets, but generally these claims were not supported. Animals kept at the front for slaughtering for food did not qualify. Apart from the ubiquitous 'war horse', several senior army officers took their personal chargers with them to the front. One of the most touching stories of one such horse called Warrior is told-out at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, of interest for being the gaol of King Charles 1st before being brought to the mainland for his execution in Whitehall. This website tells you all about him and why he was called the horse that the Germans could not kill http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2740734/Warrior-First-World-War-horse-Germans-couldn-t-kill-posthumously-awarded-medal-animal-gallantry.html

To acknowledge personal commitments, men at the front, any front, were awarded 'wound stripes' for each time there were officially gazetted as being wounded. For men discharged because of injuries sustained, there was a special badge which became known simply as the SWB [Silver War Badge]. This they could wear on civilian clothing and in many cases it stopped them for receiving a 'White Feather'. Each Service had its own system of administering chevrons, wound stripes and the SWB and issued several edicts on the subject including separate start and finish times for the awards. There is much on the internet already so I will point you to what I consider is the best simple explanation of the system, but like most it is devoid of much of the detail included here. Look here chevrons and wound stripes.pdf and scroll to overseas service chevrons NOT long service chevrons

 The Silver War Badge

SILVER WAR BADGE DEVICE

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. I wonder what one had to do to get a GWB [Gold War Badge] if such a device exsists?

The overseas chevrons  were issued to all who went overseas to fight. In addition, sailors were issued with them for sea service per se. Since I am ex-navy and do the vast majority of my researches into that Service, I will show you the rules for the issue of these devices. Note that they were issued because, for several reasons, they were no medals issued or medal issues were staggered and many waited years before they got their lasting recognition of service.  This file covers the issues in great detail Sea Service Chevrons.pdf  This uniform jacket shows well the overseas-chevrons earned during WW1. It belonged to an Assistant Director in the WRNS {in WW2 et seq she would have been called a Superintendent} and shows a full set of WW1 Medals, so she would have had a high profile war with many years spent abroad. Moreover, she wear a bronze oak leaf on her British Victory Medal which shows that she was mentioned in dispatches [MID] for special merit. Some lady I would imagine!

 

 Note the last sentence regarding the the none wearing of chevrons etc on uniforms after a certain date. Many did continue wearing them on their uniforms and on civilian clothing and a few eccentrics in the wardroom wore them for many years, certainly up to the start of the 1930's. It was not compulsory to take them down, and the edicts clearly stated that in view of the medal issue being completed, there was no need to wear chevrons, wound stripes and the SWB which were all temporary devices, and had always been considered so - at least by admirals and generals!

The following newspaper cuttings show the type of instructions issued. Remember my tip up above of zooming out once onto the opened pdf file which may help you see the print better.

1919-09-11.pdf Note the goat, mascot to a Canadian regiment and its awards of chevrons and wound stripes.
The Royal Naval Zoo, situated in HMS Excellent had animals which had served in WW1 and had chevrons and wound stripes.
1922-11-27.pdf  The Naval way of doing things! See how the Admiralty words its edict taking into account the sophistication of its sailors and their reluctance to be put upon. Remember many sailors had served in the trenches as infantry men whilst serving in the RND [Royal Naval Division].
 Note that this edict was over 4 years since peace was declared after WW1.  I can relate to this. When naval rigs were changed away from the wearing of a smart jacket [my No1's were doeskin, No 2's a woolen barathea and in the 'old' days No 3's in a non too rough serge] all with medal ribbons [medals worn on No1's] adornments and badges, in favour of wearing a blue wooly pully, we lost the opportunity to show off our medals ribbons, submarine/FAA badges/brooches and level of branch expertise [the OPS BRANCH Instructor rate with two stars beneath the branch badge]. Simultaneously, we also lost our caps, mine always topped with a brilliant white starched cloth cap cover, for that damned hideous beret. True, it reduced our uniform cost outlay and the loss of a silly beret didn't hit the pocket like the loss of a cap did, but there is more to life than just the money factor!
1922-11-29.pdf The RAF makes its move. The RAF chose to end the system in two stages, but, like the army, although unlike the navy, it's telling its airmen NOT to wear these devices anymore. 1922-12-08.pdf The Army makes its move but note how authoritative the wording is. Leaves no soldier in any doubt when deciding to cease wearing chevron or not!

1944-02-17.pdf The system of chevrons and wound stripes is revised  for WW2 to date from 1939. Note the date of the publication of the King's approval  as late as 17th February 1944!

In passing a medal did not foretell of the wounds a man might have received or nearly died from, nor did a medal truly reflect the time period spent abroad fighting our enemies. It was said that wound stripes were explicit evidence of front line action, whilst medals and chevrons were implicit indications that a man had spent a specific period in a hostile environment usually a minimum of 30 days for a campaign medal, where somebody having served for a considerably longer period gets the same medal. A chevron was awarded in each of the five years of war [thus a maximum of five] in return for a period of at least three months spent in any  year serving overseas. Again, a man could have received a medal for just one period of 30 days in the whole war, whereas a man gaining 5 chevrons could have served for periods in excess of 18 months [and more] in foreign lands in return for the same single medal. As such, although men were warned that chevrons and wound stripes were not 'rewards', they nevertheless were very proud of these humble trappings and were not at all happy when they were forcibly taken back from them.  The soldiers in particular were demoralised for they virtually left with nothing*, and as is common knowledge, went back home to nothing except unemployment and the same old bad housing and social conditions so common in the squalor of Edwardian/Victorian Britain: still, infinitely better than being buried in a CWGC [Commonwealth War Graves Commission] graveyard, formerly, after WW1, the IWGC [Imperial War Graves Commission]. The navy on the other hand could at least look forward to receiving salvage money from the salvaged German Kaiserliche Marine which scuttled itself at Scapa Flow at the end of WW1 just as their King, Kaiser Wilhelm II was hot-footing it across the border into Holland for sanctuary [shame on the Dutch for harbouring him], and by today's standards it was very generous with a basic one share returning approximately £1 10 shillings [£1.50]. The pay of a WW1 able seaman was 1 shilling and 8 pence per day = 8.3p. The admiralty calculated that a share would be a maximum of £1 10 shillings [£1.50] The_Times_1919-04-03.jpg ww1 prize money.jpg. From this Admiralty/[MOD{N}]table [below the next picture], we see what each rank would receive in terms of shares from any salvage operation.

* This is just one example of what ex WW1 soldiers had to do once back home.

 

 

See also this files of 1948. Although not a WW1 file it covers the prize money of that war as well as for WW2.

 

   

SPECIAL CLASSES SHARES
Admiral Commander-in-Chief 1250
Admiral Commanding a Squadron 1000
Vice Admiral Commander-in-Chief 1000
Vice Admiral Commanding a Squadron 750
Vice Admiral 500
Rear Admiral Commander-in-Chief 750
Read Admiral Commanding a Squadron 500
Rear Admiral 300
Commodore 1st Class Commander-in-Chief 750
Commodore 1st Class Commanding a Squadron 500
Commodore 1st Class 250
Commodore 2nd Class Commanding a Squadron 250
Commodore 2nd Class 160
Captain-in-Command, after nine years' service in that rank 160
Captain-in-Command, after six years' service in that rank 140
Captain-in-Command, after three years' service in that rank 120
Captain-in-Command, with not more than three years' service in that rank 100
FIRST CLASS SHARES
Commander-in-Command 60
SECOND CLASS SHARES
Captain not in Command, Commander serving as second in Command in a ship Commanded by a Captain, Engineering Commander and Commander [E] in charge of the engines of a ship commanded by a Captain, and Lieutenant Commander in Command 40
THIRD CLASS SHARES
Commander not in Command, Lieutenant Commander serving as Second in Command in a ship commanded by a Captain, Engineer Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant Commander [E] in charge of the engines of a ship commanded by a Captain, and Lieutenant in Command 30
FOURTH CLASS SHARES
Lieutenant Commander not in Command, Lieutenant serving as Second in Command in a ship commanded by a Captain, and Lieutenant [E]  in charge of the engines of a ship commanded by a Captain 25
FIFTH CLASS SHARES
Lieutenant not in Command, Sub Lieutenant in Command and Commissioned Officer from Warrant Rank in Command 20
SIXTH CLASS SHARES
Sub Lieutenant not in Command, Commissioned Officer from Warrant Rank not in Command and Warrant Officer in Command 15
SEVENTH CLASS SHARES
Warrant Officer not in Command 12
EIGHTH CLASS SHARES
Midshipmen and Chief Petty Officers 10
NINTH CLASS SHARES
Naval Cadet and Petty Officer 8
TENTH CLASS SHARES
Leading Seaman 6
ELEVENTH CLASS SHARES
Able Seaman 5
TWELFTH CLASS SHARES
Ordinary Seaman and Boys 3

An able seaman receives 5 shares, say, each at £1.50 = £7.50 That equates to 90 days pay = 3 months pay. At today's pay scales, that three months payment would have been a nice little earner, then as now, not to be snubbed at.

This picture shows the RN rates of pay WW1 PAY.jpg  - The Military Branch is the executive branch i.e., those who fight the ship, where ratings are called 'bluejackets', the others being [engine room, technical branches, cooks, stewards etc] who do not fight the ship, belong to the Civil Branch of the navy and their ratings are not 'bluejackets'.

On top of this salvage money, every man received a 'war bonus' paid on top of his wages. An AB received approximately £25.00, say just over 10 months pay, so all in all, bonus + prize, over a years free pay.  Many thousands of pounds in todays money/wages for a 21st century able seaman.

Education, especially for boys, didn't stop in ships afloat during WW1 if at all possible. This article from The Times of 29th March 1919 tells why:-

in 1922 it was revealed that a French device had solved the age old problem of tapping into wireless messages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That concludes my WW1 tale. Thanks for reading it. Goodbye.