Introduction of Dolphins in the early '70s

Discussion in 'Submariners' started by shellbackmac, Nov 16, 2007.

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  1. Noticed in the 'submariner now a pongo' topic that Nutty and others joined boats before dolphins were introduced. According to 'The Royal Navy- An Illustrated Sociall History 1870-1982' by Captain John Wells, they were introduced in 1970 as most other submarine arms around the world had an emblem. I thought it was later than this by a couple of years, can anyone confirm this was the year?

    I did hear that they were based on the RAN submariners badge??? anyone shed any light on this??

    I first heard about this from my dad who was a serving submariner when they were brought in. He told me that presenting them to the entire ships company of a bomber alongside was a bit of an admin task. As they were an offical award for doing something the old man wanted to present them officialy (or as officialy as he could without giving himself a dead arm). The way they did it was to line up the qualified troops (Nos 1's) in two ranks, everyone having a set of dolphins in their hand, and then get the front rank to about turn. With everyone facing each other you presented your opposite number with their set!!!!!! He swears its true and says it went for a ball of chalk with everyone pissing themselves laughing etc and believe it took place in 71/72??????

    Were all Officers/Senior rates given an 'HM Submarines' cap tally on qualification and presentation of dolphins? Never thought about it before, I was as a PO, maybe they were telling me something....!
    • Excellent Topic Excellent Topic x 1
  2. Every boat did it their own way, we had divisions for ours in the car park at Faslane and the scipper handed then out as he did the inspection, but of course an O boat had fewer crew than a bomber.
  3. 1970 would be about right, I did my Part 3 on the Otus in 69 and didnt get my Dolphins, at that time the cap tally was considered to be the submariners branch badge, as such when we went to shore stations for training, i.e. HMS Mercury in my case, we didnt change cap tallies.
  4. Prior to the issue of the coveted "Dolphins" qualified submariners had the option of wearing the "Sausage on a Stick" embroidered badge, which was worn on the left sleeve, just above the cuff.
    The present day Dolphins differ from the first ones issued, in that the original ones had a brooch type pin as opposed to the two stud pins in use now, which made it harder to get them on straight.
    I too recollect that 1970 was about the time they were first issued.
  5. I passed part3 in 1965 on one of the old T's, there was no presentation except an invitation to the bun house where the skipper gave his congrats and presented us with our dolphins(I still have mine). next time alongside dolphin you went to slops and got your sausage on stick badges and submarine cap tally. you wore a Dolphin cap tally in Dolphin2 and wore that until you passed your part3. Woe betide the OD'S who ever got caught with either submarine cap tally or dolphins before passing P3

  6. Between 1958 and 1964 they had available in slops a submarine badge that was could be stitched to the right cuff of No1 and No 2 uniform .
    It was only given to submariners who had passed the pt 3 and had the notation made on their docs and paybook.
    The badges had to be paid for they were commonly known as ''sausage on a stick'' -not popular and very few guys wore them.

    On the 15th July 1971 we were issued with the Dolphins Badge as used to date.
    Initial issue was as previously mentioned --whole boats crews mustered and given their badges .

    Future part 3's on accomplishing successfully the Pt 3 onboard examination
    were awarded a Dolphin badge -usually by the skipper prior to arriving alongside .

    The dolphins as we know them were copied from the Oz insignia but included the 'fouled anchor ' also the Oz dolphins are smooth -ours have scales.

    :nemo: :nemo:
  7. Did you do yours on a Bomber ?

    I was on a Bomber and we got ours in the JR's Dining hall before the end of the Patrol with the Dolphins in the bottom of the Glass of Pussers Rum.
  8. First time I saw them issued was when the author John Winton came to the building group at Cammel Lairds and handed out a few to the local lads. We had to arrange for a batch to be sent from Faslane & dished out in the bar one lunchtime.
  9. Dinger

    I was there when you passed your part three on the Truncheon and you did not get any Dolphins cos they did not exists. But you was OK for brown card job. Yooos is going senile like the rest of us old bar stewards.


    Part Two

    In 1970 the Swain wandered thru the boat with a box of Dolphins and chucked one at everybody cos I don't think we had any part 3's at that time. "Its pretty Swain what shall I do with it" "Stuff it where you like or gives you pleasure" was the reply.

    As for the Tot drinking thing and catching them in your teeth that came from the Dry Navy Yanks in the late 70's or early 80's. The Bun House inventing traditions to replace the Murder of the Tot.

    For me it will always be the cap tally. I wear them, as oppose to my medal which I have never worn, because it is expected but its not what I work thru my part 3 for.

  10. Nutty you are right according to my missus, she who knows all(fcuuk all) I got HER!!! dolphin brooch when I was on Renown,she remembers because we lived in H'burgh at the time.I definitely remember going to the bunhouse for a tot and congrats from the skipper though. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN 1966.JEEEEESUS where have the last few years gone?? still the important bit is remembering that we are still part ot the creme de la creme.

  11. It would have been Ian Ross, best skipper I ahd on any boat at any time. The man was a, "Gentleman". The highest praise you can bestow on a Grunter.


  12. Belay the bit about the presentation ceremony being on a bomber, spoke to my old man and it turns out it was all qualified submariners who were inboard in Faslane (NTD, commcen etc) in 1970 who were required to take part in the ceremony described. He also told me that the original dolphins weren't very popular as they were smaller than they are now and just didn't look very good, and as some of you boys have stated he agrees that the only thing that mattered to him was the cap tally.
  13. Ian Ross it was indeed nutty and right again he was a gentleman,he was also second in line for the Ross clan chieftain title.he and I had many a "Discusion" on the Culloden thing,our ancestors were there apparently but on opposite sides.Iremember the skipper making his point very forcefully to some orrible jockanese in cambelltown on one occasion.great days old shipmate.

    UP SPIRITS.......................SPLICEEEEEEEEERS!!!
    On 5 April 1958 the Royal Navy issued its first submarine branch badge which was to be worn on the left sleeve. The cloth badge was the first time that submariners had been visibly linked to their “tradeâ€, other than junior ratings by their cap tallies. Due to its ugly design it was soon known as a “sausage on a stick†and as wearing the badge was optional many submariners chose not to do so.

    CMDR Alan H. McIntosh RAN
    In June 1964 a submarine project team was formed at the Australian Navy Office in Canberra, consisting of Commander (later Captain) Alan H. McIntosh RAN, a non-submariner and Lieutenant Commander (later Commander) Henry Cook RAN (an ex Royal Navy submariner) to oversee the introduction of submarines in to the RAN.

    Commander Cook believed that Australian submariners would be proud to wear a properly designed badge worn on the left shoulder. At some time between 1964-1965, he put forward a proposal that a submarine badge be devised along those lines. Commander Cook recalls that the proposal was not well received until it reached Rear Admiral VAT Smith RAN (later Admiral Sir Victor Smith KBE) who convinced the Naval Board of the day that the proposal should proceed subject to a suitable design being developed.

    The design was the work of Commander McIntosh, the submarine project officer in 1965. The Dolphins on his submarine supporter’s tie inspired it; the crown was drawn from the florin (the two shilling piece before decimal currency was introduced). Stokes, of Melbourne, who manufactured many service badges, produced the Badge. Mr. Stokes reported that it was by far the most handsome badge his firm had made.

    The Naval Board accepted the design and production of the Dolphins went ahead. On 25 July1966 the RAN issued Navy Order number 411, which covered who was eligible to wear the submarine badge and how.

    As one of the protagonists for the submarine badge Commander Cook, who had been promoted and appointed Director of Submarine Policy in February 1966, was given the distinction of being the first submariner to wear the Dolphins. The first qualified Australian submariner to be awarded his Dolphins was G.J. Currie, who was also the first Australian submariner to return to Australia in 1966 prior to the formation of the Australian Submarine Squadron and joined the RN Fourth Division as spare crew.

    In 1968 the officers and crew of HMS Trump, the last British submarine in the Royal Navy’s Fourth Division based at Sydney, were given Australian submarine Dolphins to wear for a year. At the end of that year the sailors were asked to fill out a survey. Ninety nine per cent of the crew were in favour of wearing the badge and the design. It was not until 1972, having assessed the value of the Australian submarine badge, that the Royal Navy issued a variation on Captain McIntosh’s design.

    by Peter Smith
  15. "As for the Tot drinking thing and catching them in your teeth that came from the Dry Navy Yanks in the late 70's or early 80's. The Bun House inventing traditions to replace the Murder of the Tot."

    This is not true -- the tradition came from here!!

    "Drinking the Dolphins"

    Here is an explanation as to where this originated from-- as from my posting on another site:

    The tradition for this started in the Bay Hotel in Gourock on the Clyde (now sadly demolished ) with the crew of HMAS Otway in 1968 who were based at Scotts Dockyard in Greenock in the weeks after they were first issued to us "Dinks".
    As we always had a lock-in each night with the local Plod , Lord Mayor and other worthies and ran the upstairs bar untill the wee small hours and it was at that time that this started.

    As we had been issued with them they became a very attractive "must have item" by some people -- and I must admit that my (now) wife was one of them !!-- so we decided one night that the deal was that if you wanted one you needed to earn it !!

    We would give the dolphins to the selected candidate (after much drunken discussion !!) on condition that they were placed in a straight pint glass and that we (the givers ) could nominate any drink / mixture (and there were some very leathal ones too!!) from the bar for the pint and that the recipient paid !!.

    The winner/ recipient had to drink the concoction non-stop and end up with the dolphins in their teeth to be able to keep them.
    We could be more lienient with some of the fairer sex ( my wife drank a pint of cider ) but some poor people really had to earn them !!

    I happened to be in Adelaide on Anzac Day 2004 for a reuinion and met up with some of the original fellow "plank owners " from Otway and found 2 young RAN submariners in the group who had their dolphins but who had not "drunk them " with the members of the association .
    A whip round was organised and two large beer jugs filled with "an evil green /yellow concoction" and in true tradition the young lads did themselves proud in maintaining the tradition.

    I have since seen that this now has a more formal role' in the RAN /RN with a "tot " of the recipients choice from the XO/CO on the boat when awarded

    I know that this "tot " part started in the boats in the trots alongside in Faslane as we were doing our sea trials /work up before commissoning in 68 .
    It was good barter-- for an item we could buy from slops, --- we had developed a taste for bubbly in the previous years on the RN boats -- and were suffering the change to a beer issue as we changed boats/navies!!

    So I stand corrected ,but as I remember through the "constant drunken haze of those years" ,that is when it started .

  16. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    I sent Oz/RAN's post to a Retired Officer who was serving on Trump at the is his reply

    I forget how consistent we were in wearing the Aussie dolphins (aka
    Duke's eye view), but my recollection of the feed back was that:

    a. Wardroom were 50/50
    b. Junior Rates were not particularly interested as they had the HM
    Submarines cap tally.
    c. Senior Rates were 100% in favour as it was the best leg opener
    they could possibly wish for (as if you needed any help in that part of the

    So you could say introduction of the RN badge was driven by the sex
    drive of the MASDOLS (middle aged swingers down on their luck). The crown was replaced by the anchor.

    I was against it on the grounds that, unlike lesser breeds like the
    USN, we were One Navy, with no need for tribal markings. Also, the smell of diesel was more than enough to let people know who you were. I certainly disagree with the 99% figure. Given the size of TRUMP's ship's company, my vote alone would have made it 98%.

    **** ****** may remember it differently

    As the article says, the badge eventually came through in July 1971. By
    chance my wedding was on 17th July 1971 and I reckon I was certainly
    the first officer and most likely the first submariner to be married in
    uniform with the badge.

    For a really grumpy postcript, I have to say I deplore this modern
    practice of placing the badge in the bottom of a glass of alcohol and inviting the newly qualified submariner drink his way to it. I guess we did things in a more understated way in those days.


    If I get a reply from the other chap I know served on Trump I'll post it
  17. Perl

    I popped over the pond to ask the men of the USN Submarine Service. The Officers first received Metal Brooch Dophins in 1923, Enlisted men had them from between 1947 and 1950 different souces give different dates. Between 1923 and that date Enllisted men has embropidered dolphins.

    When askes about their presentation and drink these are a selection of replies.



    “Many variation existed, spirits, beer, etc. It varied by command. Many boat would also toss the guy over the side. Sadly these initiation ceremonies have all been pretty much 'officially' done away with from what I been able to determine.â€


    “When I qualified in 1962 the rule was, new dolphins never got pinned on a dry shirt, and up at the acey ducey club you retrieved your dolphins after they submerged into a container of some evil mix of alcoholic concoction, usually beer and .... (fill in the blank). Those little darlings were expected to surface clenched within your teeth or not at all.â€


    The practice was theoretically outlawed many years ago, however I vaguely remember going thru it at the "Lagoon Saloon" in Rota in the mid 60's.
    Un qoutes

    So it would appear to have been a habit the USN had before you Dinks followed you heritage and "STOLE IT".

    • Like Like x 1
  18. just to lower the tone below that of the gutter.................
    i once overheard the following alleged converstaion in a control room when a senior rates mess had guests in.
    lady" OOH ... I like them gold badges are they dolphins?"
    crusty CPO "Yes my love they are"
    Lady " Well what do you have to do to get them?"
    Crusty CPO" Well I went down to 300 feet........but you my love would only have to go down 2 foot!!"

  19. I too joined before Dolphins were issued, but remember lower deck being fell in before 'electric lemonade' in Dolphin where the boats skipper dished them out to us, probably either 1970/71. We weren't bothered about them, in fact thought they were rather 'puffy' and 'yankkee ish'. You were right in the fact that the HM Submarines cap talley meant far more. The sight of RA's wives shopping in Gosport wearing the Dolphins however was a sight to see, they seemed to find them attractive!
  20. I am somewhat confused by this post - Renown wasn't launched until 1967 and didn't get to Faslane until 1969 (at the earliest).

    And wasn't Ian Ross skipper of Reso(S) ?

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