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Discuss WWII Royal Navy Records in History on Navy Net; Hello Hopefully I am posting this in the right place My father was in the Royal Navy during World War Two. Prior to the war he was a cabinet maker. I have applied for his ...
- 11-09-11, 08:40 #1
- Join Date
- Sep 2011
WWII Royal Navy Records
Hopefully I am posting this in the right place
My father was in the Royal Navy during World War Two. Prior to the war he was a cabinet maker. I have applied for his service record and it arrived today.
The significant information is in a typed up list.
HMS Drake, Acting Joiner 4th Class, 28 Sep 1943, 23 Nov 1943
Government Training Centre, Slough, Acting Joiner 4th Class, 24 Nov 1943, 15 Feb 1844
HMS Westcliff, Acting Joiner 4th Class, 16 Feb 1944, 19 Jun 1944
HMS Copra (24 Unit), Acting Joiner 4th Class, 20 Jun 1944, 25 Oct 1944
HMS Copra (24 Unit), Joiner 3rd Class, 26 Oct 1944, 31 Mar 1946
HMS Copra (also lent to Mobile Base Maintenance Unit 19 - (dates not recorded) Joiner 3rd Floor, 1 Apr 1946, 13 May 1946
.....released to shore in Class A on 13 May 1946
Family legend would have it that he didn't do much, if any, time at sea. I have done some googling re the postings listed and I guess that it could be compatible with not going to sea.
I have a couple of direct questions for which I would be grateful for any help.
I always understod that he finished as a petty officer, is that realistic for a joiner 3rd Class?
Although I found out some information about HMS Copra and can see that it wasn't a ship or a base, does the reference to 24 Unit and Unit 19 have any relevance?
Again family legend has it that, at some stage, he was based at Windsor Castle doing repairs. Is that possible?
As I said any help gratefully received.
- 11-09-11, 09:29 #2
HMS Drake was the RN accounting base at Devonport (Plymouth).
HMS Westcliff was the RN Combined Operations base at Southend.
HMS Copra was the RN drafting and accounting base at Southend.
Correlations between Rate (Rank) and SQ (Specialist Qualification) sometimes overlapped but it was usual for a Petty Officer to have at least a Second or First Class SQ. A Fifth Class SQ would normally have correlated with ordinary rate, Fourth Class with able rate and Third Class with leading rate. The only exceptions were Fourth Class Artificers who had the status of Petty Officers.
Naval personnel were employed on retinues and for specific tasks at a variety of Royal and Government establishments. I don't know if it is still the case but RN stewards have served on the staff at Chequers, the Prime Minister's official country residence, until very recently. It is therefore entirely possible that your father performed repair work at Windsor Castle.Originally Posted by Hansard 7 Mar 2011
- 11-09-11, 11:01 #3
- Join Date
- Sep 2011
Thanks for your response.
I have attached (hopefully) a photo of my Dad in the Navy (back row, far right). I had it mind that wearing a cap with a peak would indicate a Petty Officer. Have I got that wrong?
An online search regarding the Government Training Centre, Slough revealed the following regarding an officer:
06.12.1943-14.02.1945HMS Shrapnel (RN base, Southampton) [at a RN Unit in a Government Training Centre in Slough as technical Officer responsible for the training of Shipwrights for Combined Operations]
I understand that COPRA refers to Combined Operations, so I guess it ties together. Is there any tie up between joiners and shipwrights?
I would still like to hear about 24 Unit and 19 Unit at HMS Copra
- 11-09-11, 11:14 #4
- Join Date
- May 2008
- 11-09-11, 11:39 #5
Hello again Suds,
Your father is definitely wearing a petty officer's cap. As a Joiner, he would have been an 'artisan' but as a Shipwright, he would definitely have been an 'artificer'. Although this was before my time, I remember being told that artisans were a grade below artificers but perhaps they shared some of the same privileges with regard to accelerated advancement (promotion) and status?
See here on the naval-history.net website for further information:crossed axe and hammer SQ badge.
I'm guessing that the units were mobile groups, similar to Naval Parties (NPs), deployed for tasks wherever the requirement arose.
Last edited by Naval_Gazer; 11-09-11 at 12:02.Originally Posted by Hansard 7 Mar 2011
- 11-09-11, 12:08 #6
According to Lt Cdr Ben Warlow's Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy:
HMS WESTCLIFF Southend, Combined Operations Base. Commissioned 17 Nov 1942 - training from EFFINGHAM Dec 1943 when college transferred to US Navy. Admin transferred from Commodore Southend to Commander-in-Chief Nore (Chatham) 15 Oct 1945. Task of UK main holding base for Combined Operations personnel to Rosneath 29 Oct 1945. Paid off 21 Jan 1946, closed 6 Mar 1946.
HMS COPRA Largs/Southend/London, CO Pay & Drafting Office. Commissioned 30 Aug 1943 accounts ex-QUEBEC and DINOSAUR - at Chelsea Court SW7, vacated by 3 Aug 1944. COPRA (Drafting) at Southend by Nov 1943, to Largs 5 Oct 1945. COPRA (Pay) at Largs by Aug 1944... COPRA paid off 30 Jun 1946, Largs (main buildings, The Moorings) vacated 15 Jul 1946, retard party closed 15 Jan 1947...Originally Posted by Hansard 7 Mar 2011
- 11-09-11, 12:33 #7
- Join Date
- Sep 2011
Many thanks soleil. I have applied to the National archive for some of the documents that you have referenced.
Naval Gazer, many thanks for the information provided. I have a letter that my mother wrote to my father in March 1944, it is addressed to HMS Flora, Invergordon.
"During the war, the base (HMS Flora) supported coastal forces craft, minesweepers, harbour defence craft, auxiliaries and the occasional destroyer."
I would like to thank you for the information given here. Any further information would be warmly received.
- 11-09-11, 15:11 #8
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Near Pompey
Artisans were half way between seamen and artificers and included sailmakers who were still at sea in 1960. I would think that joiners were phased out as shipwrights (who were artificers) took over the role, particularly as they had broader hull repsonsibilities and one would suppose the joiner was limited to woodwork - but with so many wooden boats during the war, including all sorts of MTBs and so forth, during the wear there would have been plenty of work for them. NB the Shipwright category in Gazer's (fascinating) chart starts at apprentice.
Once the battelships went and the Fleet reduced in size post-war the number of sea billets for specialist categories must have been instantly much reduced so a shipwright who could do all those things would have been a better bet.
Artisans would have worn fore and aft rig with red cap badge until rated Petty Officer equivalent when they would upgrade their cap badge to a proper PO's one.
The chippies could be pretty good cabinet makers in their own right. Once when I had to go and see them about a boat I had inadvertently modified I found them making a complete dining suite for one of their number who was getting married and very smart it was too.
HMS COPRA had the entire Combined Ops force on its books which of course included all the base staff who kept the operational side running.Edmund Burke: 'Wars may be deferred .. but they cannot be wholly avoided .. to purchase present quiet, at the price of future security, is .. a cowardice of the most base and degrading nature."
Nelson: "You should hate a Frenchman as you do the devil".
- 11-09-11, 15:44 #9
When our seaboat (a clinker-built 27 foot wooden whaler) was damaged on board HMS Torquay, the ship's 'Chippy', a Chief Shipwright by the name of Wilson, instructed his apprentice to repair it. He wasn't very impressed when 'Baby Chippy' responded, "Actually, Chief, I wasn't much good with wood at Fisgard."
HMS Fisgard was the Artificer Apprentice training establishment at Torpoint.Originally Posted by Hansard 7 Mar 2011
- 11-09-11, 16:38 #10
I should have mentioned that Chippy Wilson was a traditional Chief Shipwright who had never acknowledged being re-titled a Chief Marine Engineering Artificer (Hull), i.e. CMEA(H). In the same vein, the Chief Engine Room Artificer (CERA) had never taken kindly to being re-titled a CMEA(P), where the 'P' stood for 'Propulsion', and steadfastly refused to respond to it.Originally Posted by Hansard 7 Mar 2011