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Looking for information about Grandads pre-war ship service record... Can anyone help?


Hi Everyone,
I've recently found my (now deceased) Grandads old Royal Naval Certificate of Service dating from 1935-37. I'll try and scan a few pictures of it for reference if I can.
It states that he served for several months on 2 ships - Pembroke and Electra. The history of Electra is pretty clear and easy to find but Pembroke is a little more vague. The only reference I can find to a ship named Pembroke during those years is an Admiralty Trawler named 'Daniel Fearall' which was recommissioned as HMS Pembroke during 1923-39.
However my question is... is 'Daniel Fearall AKA HMS Pembroke' the ship that my Grandad served a few months on? Two things come to mind...
1) Is it possible for an Admiralty trawler (usually with the prefix HMT) to become a ship with the prefix HMS?
2) I've also read that facilities such as barracks and other buildings could also be given the name HMS for example...
HMS Pembroke I - accounting base at Chatham between 1940 and 1960.
HMS Pembroke II - Royal Naval Air Station at Eastchurch between 1913 and 1918.
HMS Pembroke II - accounting base at Chatham between 1940 and 1957.
HMS Pembroke III - accounting base at London and outstations between 1942 and 1952.
HMS Pembroke IV - accounting base at Chatham between 1919 and 1920, and the Nore between 1939 and 1961.
HMS Pembroke V - naval base at Dover between 1919 and 1923, secret base at Bletchley Park between 1941 and 1945, and the name for WRNS personnel in London between 1945 and 1946.
HMS Pembroke VI - accounting section at Chatham in 1919.
HMS Pembroke VII - depot ship for auxiliary patrols at Grimsby between 1919 and 1921.
HMS Pembroke VIII - naval base on the Humber between 1920 and 1921.
HMS Pembroke X - headquarters of the Royal Navy Patrol Service at Lowestoft between 1939 and 1940.

...however as far as I can see, none of these facilities match up with the dates. Also from the same source I read that 'Sailors had a 'base', to which they would be posted at the end of each period of service before being elsewhere and also, for accounting purposes, sailors were including on the establishment of a 'base' or 'depot ship' (in the case of submarines or destroyers), and detached for service elsewhere.' Could it be possible that Pembroke was just a facility he stayed/worked at?
I hope someone out there has more insights, and I really appreciate any help.
Thanks in advance


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War Hero
He was at HMS Pembroke in Chatham Kent for training as a supply (rating?) as it gives his rating as STOII - which to me means Stores and Transport (Officer?) second class

Needs an older Jack Dusty than me....................................;)


Book Reviewer
It looks to me that he was a Stoker if you look further down the page, my eyes aren't what they were mind


War Hero
Good spot Janner - could be that STO II is abbreviation for Stoker second class

Picture from HMS Pembroke at Chatham 1936 you can see they are all stokers - so must have trained there ?



@ Dusty70 @janner - Yes he was definitely a Stoker, as he told me that information himself, and definitely not an officer. I imagine that STOII might mean Stoker second class? It's possible that he was the lowest rank on the ship :) maybe even being out-ranked by the ships cat :)
He was invalided out in 1937 after being on the receiving end of an engine room explosion on the HMS Electra which destroyed his hearing and he went deaf. Unfortunately, among the trove of information available about Electra's war years, I can't find any information on that explosion other than a reference to Electra being refitted and placed in reserve in 1938. Most likely as a cause of the accident.
With that lead about Chatham (I now see it's written on the page) I've looked further and discovered that Chatham dockyards was indeed also known as HMS Pembroke and was a 'manning port' during the years shown on his Certificate of Service. So it seems that he was serving at a facility rather than on a ship. This lasted for another year and half until his leaving the Service as a cause of the aforementioned accident. In regards to his leaving the Navy, the notes on the Certificate read 'Below Naval Physical Standard.'
Thanks for your input guys I really appreciate your comments.


@Dusty70 Thanks for your second reply, I was in the middle of composing my post when you commented :)
That picture looks great but unfortunately I can't see it very well. Is it possible you could send it to me direct at my email?
It's [email protected]
(That reads noble six hundred)
I would really appreciate that :)


Lantern Swinger
The Electra entry appears to be prefixed by St Angelo. This was a shore Establishment in Malta. The Electra is shown as being on patrol around Spain during 1936 for the Spanish Civil War.


War Hero
Just for fun, I put 'Spanish Civil War HMS Electra' into Google and out came this:

In 1936, Electra was assigned to Non-Intervention Patrols in Spanish waters during the Spanish Civil War. In 1938, she underwent a refit at Sheerness, and then was placed 'in reserve'.
Ship class: E and F-class destroyer
Ship builder: Ailsa Shipbuilding Company

Lots more there too!


May I add my enquiry to this. My dad was a midshipman at the end of WWI [Iron Duke] and first retired in about 1936. His Officer Record which I got via an FoI is a bit vague. It shows Pembroke UT [what is UT, it occurs against several postings?] in 1925
He had done a stint with NID in 1924-25, or that seems to be what an mss addition to the typed file means, and another mss addition shows Pembroke UT for 1936-37. It further shows he was placed on the retired list in 1938. However his MI6 record shows he joined in 1937, but that must have been retrospective as from 1937 until 1940 he was in another clandestine organization called Z and was not recommissioned [President] until 1940. Oddly it shows he was again commissioned to President for 'duty outside Admiralty with DNI', but DNI was clearly being used as a euphemism for SIS. I would have thought he would have again have been recorded as retired from the RN in 1945, but it says appointment terminated 31.3.48 and retired list 1.4.48 though he did not leave SIS until 1953.
Are these sorts of overlaps/ambiguities common in RN records? Wiki says 'Daniel Fearall was HMS Pembroke between 1922 until 1939, but this hardly seems likely for a torpedo officer moonlighting for NID!
Any ideas?


War Hero
UT = Under Training. HMS Pembroke was the Naval Base at Chatham, which lent its name to a variety of ships and other establishments. Read the Wikipedia article carefully, it demonstrates that other ships were renamed HMS Pembroke while discharging other duties for the base. HMS President is the establishment on whose books all RN personnel serving in London are borne for accounting purposes; it is also the establishment providing a home for London Division RNR, where I began my naval career in 1976.


Thanks, huwshpis, most helpful.

My dad's records seems complex, there is more than one ref to President [I think now rotting at Chatham, but I remember visiting the concrete version when my daughter was in an URNU].

If you do an FoI what you get from the MoD seems quite complex with overlapping sets of records: the huge bound volumes which are at Kew [ADM/196/148] and I think all freely available online were updated for still-serving members by typing up the pages which must have been a labourious operation. Then there are index cards, some of which seem to cover the same period.

I wonder if someone could help with interpretation, perhaps off this board?

Thanks again, CC

Re your sig, the Chief the SIS has always signed in green ink with the single letter C


War Hero
HMS President 1918, to give her her current name, is indeed at Chatham but is in the process of being restored. She and HMS Chrysanthemum were fixtures on the Thames for years and we used to pass back and forth between them every drill night, as the JRs mess was in Chrysanthemum.

I don't find the multiple references surprising, rather, they are what one would expect for an officer in your father's position. I could probably work out the history if I had sight of the records concerned - feel free to PM me.
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