Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by Tui Bird, Aug 24, 2016.

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  1. In 1948 I joined the RN Electrical Branch from civvy street via HMS ROYAL ARTHUR then the Electrical School HMS DEFIANCE ,Devonport . I did the Course and became an Electricians Mate 2nd class , then a draft to HMS HOWE where I became an EM 1st class mainly doing telephone system maintenance . Then Submarines >>> until 1955 . My own discharge papers leave no doubt.
    My point --- several web sites state that it was not MATE in 1948 , but Mechanic . Now this is just not so -- at least until after 1955 when I left AMPHION and the RN , where I had been the ELECTRICIAN in charge of a Leading Electrician's Mate and two Electrician's Mates 1st Class . .
    It is said on the web that in 1947 when the Electrical Branch was formed that it was Electrical Mechanic , not Mate .This simply incorrect and when I questioned this I was told it was because in 'about' 1957 it changed from Electrician's Mate to Electrical Mechanic .( a rather strange reason ? But--)
    Does anybody know when it changed for Mate to Mechanic ?

    It has some historical significance -- the crew of the lost submarine AFFRAY 1951 is listed on the web by a reputable naval webpage and it calls the EM s Mechanics , when in 1951 they were Electrican's Mates , as I was on ARTEMIS in the same Flottilla . On the day she was reported missing I was drafted to TRUNCHEON as an Electrician's Mate .
    So like so many things in Naval History , its knowing the correct ranks and ratings that help get to the truth of the story many years later . In any case I think these men who died on AFFRAY in 1951 , should listed with their rating at the time .
    So to repeat , if anybody knows if and when Electrician's Mates became Electrical Mechanics I would be most grateful .

    Another topic when I joined a submarine early 1950 as an additional for training , I discovered the WW2 Electrician and his EMs , had a converted from LTOs , that previously formed the ship electricians within the Torpedo Branch prior to 1947. They were not actually Torpedo men , being trained in ship electrical maintenance . There are those who state on the web that the new 1947 Electrical Branch was formed mainly by "Wire men" --- this not so .
    This was not so --"Wire men" were recruited in WW2 from the ranks of civilian electricians and were released after the war . Many served in electric mine sweeping -- dodgy job . However they did NOT form the 1948 RN Electrical Branch , it was the older LTOs and lads like me .
    Funnily enough , even in my time when I was an Electrician on a submarine , I was known as the POLTO and friend of mine tells me that in his day on the SSBN , the Electrical PO was still known as the POLTO .

    Grateful for any useful comments .
  2. For the Mods - Please redirect this thread to History and keep us PSOFs happy? TA!

    Hello TUI Bird – An interesting post, hope these comments are of some use.

    1. << My point --- several web sites state that it was not MATE in 1948 , but Mechanic … Does anybody know when it changed for Mate to Mechanic ? >>

    As a 1960 vintage Junior Radio Electrical Mechanic I was sometimes made aware by certain elders of other (ahem lesser) branches that us ‘Mechanics’ were merely jumped up ‘Mates’ but I cannot help you with the change dates. I’d suggest that such changes would have been promulgated in an appropriate AFO around that time (and those were often notorious for being incorrectly indexed.)

    Suggest re-direct your Mate-to-Mechanic inquiry here: http://www.rneba.org.uk

    Or here: http://www.naval-review.com/

    Once you have received the definitive answer then perhaps you could get those at the websites offering duff information to correct them?

    2. << I think these men who died on AFFRAY in 1951 , should be listed with their rating at the time .>>

    I believe that they are where it matters most - There are two identical memorial plaques commemorating those 75 souls who lost their lives in HMS AFFRAY: One (erected April 2012) overlooks Braye Harbour in Alderney CI, that site being the nearest point on land to her final resting place in Hurd Deep, in the English Channel.

    AT ALDERNEY - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-guernsey-17729401

    The other plaque (erected April 2013) is sited at the waterfront esplanade at Gosport, opposite HMS DOLPHIN’s pierhead. That position was selected as it overlooks the berth from where she set off on her fateful final mission.

    AT GOSPORT - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-22163605

    Those of your former ilk are recorded on each plaque with their correct electrical branch rate at that time:

    Frederick DENNY, Acting Electrician

    Jack RUTTER, Acting Radio Electrician

    Herbert WOOD, Leading Electricians Mate

    The 16th April Annual Memorial Services at each site are usually well-represented by families and Submarine Association Branches and others. (A brief but sudden violent squall drenched all of us at the stroke of 1100 at this year’s Gosport service!)

    3. << …in his day on the SSBN , the Electrical PO was still known as the POLTO...>>

    Aye, the Submarine Service has a long memory on suchlike nomenclatures!

    4. TUI Bird – Regarding the Electrical Branch’s early days - I assume that the original source branch identifier badge was the four diagonally opposed lightning flashes [with a central letter ‘L’ for Electrical and ‘R’ for Radio Electrical.


    Any particular reason why you did not use an ‘L’ one for your Avatar?

    Finally, did you ever consider joining the Submariners Association?

    I don’t think there is a NZ Branch but you could join any UK Branch as a overseas member with Portsmouth, Gosport or Dolphin as your Parent Branch:

    See https://www.submarinersassociation.co.uk/ for the full monty…

    PS Such is the nature of Rum Ration that had your inquiry been about you, or you immature offsprings, joining HMS RALEIGH/BRNC/RFA with or without Irons (Steam/Leg/Eating/Tattoo’s etc. for the use of) you could have expected a far more timely response… (WINK WINK)
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  3. witsend

    witsend War Hero Book Reviewer

    Stop showing off Bob. ;)

    Us thick inner city scum have to google that. Every day a school day!
  4. The truth is Wits, having typed 'nomenclatures' , I had to google it myself to double-check that I'd used it within the correct context...:cool:
  5. witsend

    witsend War Hero Book Reviewer

    Bloody Queenies!
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  6. To "This is Bob" ,
    Many thanks for a detailed reply .
    Tried http://www.rneba.org.uk no answer !! Did well with the COLLINGWOOD web site . Good bloke called Clive , who clearly inherited much that was on the web site . He has a copy of the original 1947 Middleton Report and sent me pic of the proposed EM1 and LEM badges that were adopted .The whole story of the setting up of the new 1947/8 Electrical Branch was apparently quite complicated and I was just a naive lad in at the beginning .

    I was contacted by a bloke who was resentfully converted from a MATE to MECHANIC and he is firm it was 1960. I was grateful to have confirmed it did happen --so in WW2 there were Electrical Mechanics who disappeared --hard to know whether they just got demobbed like the WIREMEN . Some may have gone in the new Branch ? But main people who converted were the LTOs who were the pre-war electricians within the Torpedo Branch .

    I have been associated with the Barrow Association through their web site Forum (now closed ) and earned my sub (as I am in NZ) by writing articles in DITS & BITS , my last (at 86) is about the last RN diesel boat --UPHOLDER class and should be posted soon. Only covers the propulsion.

    By the way I assume these fellows are also on the AFFRAY plaques ? >>
    Electricians Mates 1st class D.G.Bartup and E.Horwel <<

    I didn't have any particular reason for not copying my old L-Sparks-Crown badge , maybe I just thought the LTO was suitable without being obvious and as a lad had served with men who had worn it in WW2 . Very proud to have known these brave men .
    Thanks again for an interesting posting and cheers to all .
    Lofty ( P.D.HULME)
  7. I came across an AFFRAY memorial I could read , and confirmed the two Electricians Mates 1st class , were incorrectly named Electrical Mechanics 1st class . Posted annotated copy . By the way the many critics of the skipper , quote the fact crew were left ashore -- in fact the complete engine room and motor room crew were at full strength. The people let behind were not essential for a four day trip up the Channel in fine weather ,with a night in Falmouth . Its a complete mystery and remains so . Though I served with a Chief Stoker on AMPHION who had plausible theory ? Memorial Affray.png Lofty
  8. Hello again Peter,

    Not to take issue with you but just a few points which may be relevant:

    On the plaques 'tis Eric HORWELL (as Engineering Mechanic 1st class), accepting your view that his rate (and the rate of Dennis BARTUP) at the time was 'Electricians Mate 1st Class'.

    Considering that HMS AFFRAY's casualties were without a proper Memorial for well over sixty years it is to the great resourcefulness and drive of Mr Martin Allen*(... son of 'Bert' Allen, a past President of the Essex Branch of the Submariners Association) that both Memorials are now established in their prominent positions - See: http://www.navy-net.co.uk/community/threads/submarine-affray-memorial-at-gosport.70360/ [originally from Billy Dobson who is no stranger to you]

    *to quote Mr Martin Allen Volunteer Secretary of the Affray Submarine Memorial Trust

    <<...We have diligently checked and double-checked that the inscriptions on the plaque will be correct and absolutely accurate in all respects. It is a sad fact that the two existing UK National memorials which mention the “Affray” crew by name, both have errors of omission and spelling mistakes...>> http://www.hmsaffray.co.uk/Progress_Report_No._2.pdf

    Personally, I believe that he made every effort to get it right and any error re- 'mates/mechanics' could only have arisen from the information provided by his 'official sources'. As for correcting any perceived 'errors' I'd hesitate to suggest that course be pursued unless a dependent felt so strongly about it.

    At the Gosport Memorial inauguration service we heard heart warming testimonies from some widows and dependents of the long-term support they had received from the large public fund (initiated IIRC by the Daily Mirror) following the disaster, especially so in those years of austerity. Plus their sincere gratitude that these Memorials now perpetuate their lost loved ones

    You might also be interested to learn that (besides the annual commemoration services at those two Memorials) an annual pub games night has been held for the past three years for a rather battered HMS AFFRAY Cup, that silver trophy (origins uncertain) having been rescued at the clearing out of a Gosport pub by a prominent Committee Member of the Gosport SMA Branch! Not Forgotten - Resurgam
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  9. 1948 09 14
    Establishment of the Electrical Branch
    At the Court at Buckingham Palace, the 13th day of September, 1948.

    Present, The King's Most Excellent Majesty in Council.

    Whereas there was this day read at the Board a Memorial from the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated the 7th day of August, 1948 (N 2/N2249/48) in the words following, viz.:-

    Whereas by Section 3 of the Naval and Marine Pay and Pensions Act, 1865, it is enacted inter alia that all pay, pensions or other allowances in the nature thereof payable in respect of services in Your Majesty's Naval or Marine Force to a person being or having been an Officer, Seaman or Marine therein shall be paid in such manner and subject to such restrictions, conditions and provisions as are from time to time directed by Order in Council:

    And whereas in order to facilitate the maintenance of the electrical and radio equipment of the Fleet, it has become necessary to institute new ratings m the Electrical Branch

    We beg leave humbly to recommend that Your Majesty may be graciously pleased by Your Order in Council to sanction the establishment of the ratings set out in the Attached Schedule:

    The Lords Commissioners of Your Majesty's Treasury have signified their concurrence in the above proposal:


    Electrical Branch Ratings

    Probationary Electrician's Mate - Ordinary rating
    Probationary Radio Electrician's Mate
    Electrician's Mate 2nd Class
    Radio Electrician's Mate 2nd Class
    Electrician's Mate 1st Class - Able rating
    Radio Electrician's Mate 1st Class
    Leading Electrician's Mate - Leading rating
    Leading Radio Electrician's Mate
    Electrician - PO rating
    Radio Electrician
    Chief Electrician - CPO rating
    Chief Radio Electrician

    Radio Electrical Artificer Apprentice - Boy rating
    Radio Electrical Artificer 5th Class - Leading rating
    Radio Electrical Artificer 4th Class - PO rating
    Radio Electrical Artificer 3rd Class – CPO rating
    Radio Electrical Artificer 2nd Class
    Radio Electrical Artificer 1st Class
    Chief Radio Electrical Artificer

    His Majesty, having taken the said Memorial into consideration, was pleased, by and with the advice of His Privy Council, to approve of what is therein proposed.

    And the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are to give the necessary directions herein accordingly.
    E C E Leadbitter
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  10. Yandex , thank you for that definitive list dated 5th August 1948, approved 13th September 1948 , but I was surprised by the dates --- my S- 459 Cert 'of Service , tells me I joined HMS Royal Arthur 20th July 1948 as a PEM, however before this date, there was a significant period after I passed through the recruitment routine for PEM at Manchester, my home town,while I waited for travel instructions and train pass . I was down with 'flu at Royal Arthur and started the disciplinary course two weeks late . Arrived HMS Defiance 27 Oct 1948 , did the EM course and became EM2. On 8th April 1949 I left for HMS Howe as an EM2 , then 20 May 1949 made EM1 and into submarines and so on .
  11. Re AFFRAY Good Morning BOTWU , I take your well-made points , but in my defence , over the years , I have been irritated by various things concerning AFFRAY , not the least this article >> http://www.hmsaffray.co.uk/portrait_of_a_disaster.htm << being a part of the main web page that does at least have the crew rates right >> http://www.hmsaffray.co.uk/index.htm. <<

    My irritation stems from a derogatory comment (8.5) about the Acting Electrician only being ACTING . There is no absolutely no evidence that the Electrician (acting or otherwise ) had anything to do with the mysterious loss and I have asked the web owner several times to remove the paragraph that contained this sentence - he refuses -it doesn't help the article author is dead

    QUOTE from part 8.5 "The senior electrical rating on board was only an Acting Petty Officer Electrician, entirely without sufficient experience to compete with any non-standard occurrence.UNQUOTE.

    From 1953 I was Acting Electrician of AMPHION for about 2 years ( not sure when I would have been confirmed as I left the RN) . I attached the letter of reference written by my boss ,the 1st Lt , Lt Jardine , merely to show an Acting Electrician was well trained and competent . As it happens Acting Electrician Denny was very experienced in submarines and significantly older than I was with the same rate -- the whole paragraph was an insult that a dead man could not defend .

    And that is the story of the AFFRAY ( Flotilla mates of ours in 1950 ARTEMIS ) . I was also not right pleased to read this >> http://rnsubs.co.uk/dits-bits/articles/lost-found/subsmash.html<<< and responded as you can see . Cheerio Peter Hulme (Lofty ) PS hope they are more careful with my grave stone and keep the "L" in the Hulme --a common omission !

    Attached Files:

  12. Had look at RNSM Gosport wall panel --- see Acting Electrician Denny got promoted to Chief Electrician !
  13. It was common to see former non-sub badges being worn and former titles being used for some time following the AFO detailing new grade titles and structure. Those serving were not compelled to transfer across and retained former titles and trade badges until they became Time-Expired or sought promotion. Very noticeable in the RNAS (Fleet Air Arm) when the Naval Airman Branch was established post WW2.
  14. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    Good morning Peter, I remember the book being published and posting several bits on, I think, the Barrow site, basically I said that in my opinion the book was strong on rumour but short on proof in the most part, the Author wasn't happy with me.

    Have you worn the Dolphins yet?

  15. Hello Brian , yes I have , but not as often as I would like, as my legs aren't good and don't have much social life these days , in this small town in central NZ . But I do value them highly and show them to visitors.
    All the best and thanks again .
  16. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    My father's ship, HMS Contest passed HMSM Affray on it's way out and piped the side. He was on the upper scupper and watched her blow and dive way off in the distance.

  17. Yes , without looking it up , I think she did a short trim dive not long after leaving habour .
  18. A snippet WRNS were in Torpedo Branch , as L electrical --- and the other sections AFO WW2

    Attached Files:

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