Exactly 7 years service, what's the significance?

Hi All,
I've been researching my late father-in-laws Royal Navy history from when he joined in 1950 until 1974. I have his service records but a couple of things have got be a bit stumped...

Firstly he served for EXACTLY 7 years from 28th Nov 1950 until 27th Nov 1957, then he left for around 18 months before rejoining (having to work through the ranks again!) and leaving for good in 1974.

Can anyone tell me why he would have left the first time? What's the significance of being there for 7 years, is it to do with pay or benefits?

Secondly when he rejoined he stayed until 1974 however just 3 weeks before leaving he was promoted from Petty Officer to Chief Petty Officer. The RN knew he was due to leave as they had sent him on a car maintenance course in readyness for civilian life. Why would he have been promoted right at the end of his career? Was it something to do with getting a better pension?

Many thanks,



Book Reviewer
When joining the RN you chose/were given a time period of service. 12 years straight, or 7 years with the colours and 5 years on the Reserve. Your Father in Law seems to have served his 7, gone into the reserve then decided to re-join and finish his 12. Afterwards he then opted to sign on 'to complete time for pension'. I joined in 1951 for 12 years, then staying on for pension. I retired in 1974 too. Being promoted had nothing to do with service but on the position one had on the promotion ladder. If he retired less than 2 years after his promotion to CPO he would have retired on a PO's pension. In his case it would seem that he retired on the lesser PO's pension. We were all offered a resettlement course at the end of our service. Hope that helps.
Wow thanks, that clears up a little bit of the mystery. I hadn't noticed but his second stint was exactly 15 years, so he did 7 then 15, he must have loved it!
Still a bit of a mystery why he got promoted at the very last minute though if it didn't affect his pension, perhaps he had just earnt it.
Can I trouble you to clarify a couple of other little points? I'm a little unsure if he made CPO as his records have him as POM(e) which I understand is Petty Officer Mechanical (Engineering) then in the last 3 weeks CMEM which I think is Chief Marine Engineering Mechanic. Is CMEM the same as CPO?
Finally can you explain how you got to the ships you served on? For example my father-in-law went from HMS Pembroke in Chatham to HMS Terror serving HMS Dampier in Singapore, the back to HMS Pembroke again. How did he get from base to base? HMS Dampier never left Singapore so he didn't travel on that. Did the RN provide a flight for you or was there another ship to travel on or were you just expected to make your own way to your next assignment even if that was on the other side of the world?
Thanks for all your help!
Chief MEM( or as they were known Chief Stoker) is a CPO rank.
Regarding travel between ships you were issued with a rail warrant for travel within the UK. At the time you FIL was going to Singapore it was a major base for British forces in the Far East. By the time I was serving(64+) civilian airlines were organising flights to east of Suez on behalf on the MOD so he would have been booked on to one of those. There may have been a time post war and into the 50s where the journey was by passenger ship or one of HM ships going out there.
I joined up in 1973 and was either flown crabair (RAF) or, normally, civvy airline to join/re-join wherever the boat was. The Navy paid and still do.
Thank you I'm so glad you said that! The family always thought he'd made rank of CPO but it didn't figure on his records, I was worried we'd have to change his headstone!
Thank you so much it's all becoming clear now but no doubt I'll soon have more questions!


Book Reviewer
I sailed HMS Cavalier to the Far East in '57. When the commission ended she stayed there and the whole crew were flown home. It took 3 days to get from Singapore to the UK. The relief crew were flown out too. It could also be that a lift could have been given if a ship was going out East at the same time.
1. Dapperdun picked up on granny's reference to sailing HMS Cavalier to the Far East in '57..........with the comment that it was a good job it was windy.

2. The OP said his father- in- law had a connection with HMS Dampier in Singapore.

3. Old Fart correctly thought that HMS Dampier was a survey ship.

4. Maybe coincidence, but HMS Dampier DID sail back to the UK from the Far East - or at least, part of the way. I seem to recall that as a result of a mechanical defect the ship's company rigged jury sails to make sure she was back in time for Christmas. Or something.

5. I certainly DO remember HMS Reclaim hoisting her sails to leave Portsmouth Harbour to take part in the 1977 Silver Jubilee Review. The ship had been in dockyard hands for some time and participation in the review seemed iffy; the CO was determined that she would, and was quoted as saying it was "a light-hearted gesture". I think the gesture was more two fingered to certain officials who didn't want the ship to take part and risk breaking down.


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