HARD LYING MONEY {In 1988, the subject was changed to "Long Service at sea Bonus"}
Method of assessing eligibility and general rules


I chose this subject because with all the technology around in the Navy today, including the many nuclear submarines in which I didn't serve, I can't believe that Hard Lying Money is still to be found in the NAVAL PAY SCALES. Sailor's today don't exactly 'rough it' as we did, particularly in the 1950's.

It could be that I have revealed a true piece of history with a new phrase for young twentyfirst century sailors.

Before my time the phrase was Hard tack!

1.  Introduction.

Hard Lying, is a term used throughout the Navy to signify that the Naval accommodation provided is sub standard when compared with what the Navy offered as the norm. The term covered food, toilets, washing facilities, sleeping arrangements, air conditioning, quality of air, and other items that could make life difficult, and is applicable to ships and not shore establishment. However, in dire cases ashore of deprivation, an argument could be made for hard lying money 

2.  Where were these sub standard conditions most obvious

From a great deal of experience and after years of drawing hard lying money, know as hard layers and written as HLM in documents, it is tempting to say that submariners got it routinely, almost as  additional pay notwithstanding, whereas, sailors in ships, having the 'good life' would rarely, if ever, qualify. Nothing is further from the truth, and I know of cases in quite modern ships where a situation has occurred which has justified the award of HLM.

In the 1950's and 1960's air conditioning was a luxury not a necessity, and that most uncomfortable irritation known as prickly heat, was common. By virtue of their closed-in environment, submariners often worked in very high temperature, especially when dived and in the tropics.  When in northern climes, particularly when based in the Halifax Canada squadron, the conditions swung the other way where cold was a major problem whether dived or not. In diesel electric boats it was rare to have enough bunks so that every member of the crew could have his own.  Instead, we used a system called 'hot bunking' where men in opposite watches or tasks shared the bunk, but changed the sleeping bag.  This worked at sea, but when the boat was in harbour many men were without beds. Within the definition in the introduction above, it is reasonable to assume that the Navy's norm is to provide a place to sleep for every man and the dignity which goes with it. However, if the modus operandi of the sea going unit is hot bunking, the Navy could argue that the norm for that unit has been met. On ships of all types in General Service, the crew's were deprived of many of the facilities all of us expect today, and, for example, often the only way to keep cool down below was to made a wind-scoop which would be pushed out of a port hole to trap the passing breeze caused by the ships forward motion.  On most occasions though, it was a practice frowned upon and more often than not, the port hole [scuttles] were shut for reasons of appearance or in war exercise situation.

Everybody in those days had a less than satisfactory living space, and depending upon what the ship was doing and in what part of the world she was operating, things could get very basic, which included the quality of the food served to things one would not believe.  Let me just dot the i's and cross the t's on this one.  Imagine a sea going vessel with just a few toilets to be used by the crew of a certain rate: let's say junior rates. If, as the result of a mechanical failure or a fire in the Flat [a Flat is an area in a warship] many of those toilets were put out of action, the crew would have to share the remaining toilets and in such an event, a case for HLM could have been made by a generous First Lieutenant. Now let's put some of the toilets, even just one of them, out of use to the intended crew members because it [or they depending] is required for one man who has caught a venereal disease. The crew have no recourse to damages for loss of facilities, the 'norm' provided and expected and HLM would not even be considered, nor would sharing the use of other toilets earmarked for more senior people.

In the  50's and 60's, it was much easier  for a crew of a seagoing submarine to justify a claim for HLM than it was for a ship, even though the ship's crew could be fairly judged to be living in sub standard condition, perhaps water rationing etc.

On balance, whilst at sea we submariners had a harder life than sailors in ship's, compounded because in exercises, we had to be out at sea waiting for the ships for battle to begin, and upon completion of the exercise, we were usually the last unit back into harbour, we being that much slower on our surface passage than a ship: we therefore did more sea time. But, on entering harbour our hot bunk ethos meant that the crew [except for the duty hands who remained and slept onboard] had to sleep elsewhere other than in the submarine. There were two basic choices.  The Navy preferred system was that we would have a 'mother ship' and upon entering harbour, we would always tie up alongside her, and then sleep, wash, eat and relax in reasonably comfortable surrounding not a million miles away from our boat.  The mother ship had a laundry, a barber, certainly good food and drink and was always a good and safe place to be. As a general rule, the mother ship didn't go to sea, so when we returned, we were welcomed and made to feel at home.  The other alternative, and one much preferred by the submarine crew, was to put the crew into hotels, three in fact, with the officers in one, the CPO'S and PO's in another, and the crew, the lads, in a third. You will now see that in harbour, in any event, mother ship or hotel, we did not qualify for HLM because relatively speaking we were in the lap of luxury.  The poor guy's on some of the older ships brought their distressed conditions into harbour and had to tolerate them, without HLM. Being a submariner was not always a disadvantage!




Just for the record, when stationed in the UK, visiting European ports or North American ports we rarely if ever, used the hotel option.  Mum was never with us on these occasions, but they were always plenty of barracks, Navy Army and Air Force offered by the host country.  We never slept on board in harbour and we were always well looked after, even if we were regularly misunderstood! When stationed outside the NW theatre, with the odd exception [though not always] of places like Australia and New Zealand, we moved into hotels, and during HM Submarine Auriga's commission 1966-1968 we moved ashore as often as possible which included excellent hotels in Bangkok, Acapulco, Bermuda.

Then in 1970 the Navy changed the rules and  issued a DCI[RN], or should I say, put the rules on a formal basis with strict guidelines and parametres which not only made sense, but which were seen to be fair.

It said:-

"1.  Prior to 1970 the method of assessing the eligibility of any given ship for Hard Lying Money [HLM] was by its very nature arbitrary since its only yardsticks were the definitions "worse than in a trawler" and "superior to a trawler but  markedly inferior to a destroyer on mormal service."


2.   In order to devise a system which would measure eligibility more objectively, the basic ships characteristics which affect the living accommodations on board were examined to determine which were common to all ships.  The nine characteristics shown below were found to be constants and using Pairs Comparison and Design Matrix techniques were given a weighting factor which is shown in the column at the right:-

Characteristic Weighting Factor
a. Living accommodation [recreational area in messes, public spaces, upper deck areas, etc] -10
b. Eating accommodation -10
c. Sleeping accommodation -10
d. Other facilities [canteen, SRE, TV] -4
e.Galleys -3
f. Size of ship -10
g. Stabilisers -4
h. Ventilation -5
i. Heads and bathrooms -5


3.   Using the above table ships can be scored against the norm of a LEANDER class frigate for each of the characteristics shown, with the LEANDER scoring nil in all respects.  A special distinction is made in the case of stabilisers as lack of them in a ship is only really significant in frigates and below.  This characteristic is therefore not included when assessing ships larger than a frigate, nor in submarines. Neither are submarines assessed for size of ship.


4.   Personnel serving in ships scoring more than 25 adverse points are eligible for HLM subject in all cases to fulfilling the following additional conditions which were agreed at the time of laying down the new rules:_

a.  The ship must be employed mainly on sea service that includes lengthy periods in the open sea or on voyage between distant ports
b.  Payment is not allowed in ships employed at sea for short periods only or in ships that do not normally remain at sea overnight
c.  The ship's company must actually live and sleep on board, thus payment is not made to officers and men who are absent on leave or duty  overnight or are provided with alternative accommodation not entitling them to HLM.   Where submarines are in harbour and their crews do not sleep in the submarine, HLM is not payable. Alternative accommodation when provided, should always be used whenever submarines are alongside overnight.
d.  Subject to all the above conditions, HLM is payable in harbour for periods not exceeding 14 days.


5.   HLM is also payable in the following special circumstances:-

a.  To officers and men serving in surveying ships [except those in receipt of Hydrographic Pay] when the ship is employed for periods of not less than 5 days in open waters and necessarily remains at sea or at an exposed anchorage overnight.
b.  To officers and men serving in a ship not normally eligible for HLM when the air-conditioning breaks down in the tropics.  Payment is restricted to personnel accommodated in those parts of the ship affected by the breakdown and only after the first 48 hours.
c.  With prior MOD approval when there is a marked reduction in habitability for a period of at least 7 days during the course of a refit, docking, or other period under repair, but only when it is necessary for the ship's company to continue to live on board.