Navy Net - Royal Navy Community

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Looking for information on a photo


Hello, all, from Septicland.

I'm here to help the son of one of your older shipmates from WW-II who is looking for items relating to his Father's service in the RN.

His name was Ronald Wellings, a Sailmaker's Mate sunk on HMS Prince of Wales and rescued, then subsequently at Boom Defense, Durban SA aboard HMS Barbourne, which is approximately when this picture was taken (1943):

Ronald is the young lad to the left of the screen.

His son, Timothy, wrote to me having seen a picture of the RN Sailmaker's badge on my site enquiring if I had one available. Unfortunately, my picture came from a surfing expedition but I thought that someone here might be able to help him out.

He's making a "memory cabinet" for his Father's service time so that future members of the family will have something concrete to refer to and so that the memory of his Da's service will not die, rather a worthy enterprise in my book.

If someone can:
(a) identify Ronald's mate,

(b) perhaps give some information on the rather splendid-looking chappie in the headdress (I understand he was a bit of a 'local character' during that time in Durban) or,

(c) be able to supply Tim with a Sailmaker's Badge (enlisted or Officer's), please write to me and I'll put you in touch with him.

I figured that if anywhere on the net, here would be the place to post/ask and get a reasonable response.

Fair Winds to all and thanks for reading.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
The last sailmaker I encountered was on board HMS Tiger in 1960. I think entry to the branch had long since stopped. Sailmakers were 'artisans' (along with blacksmiths and some other trades), i.e. somehere between ordinary sailors and artificers, and had a pretty good billet as there was money to be made on the side, everything from running up fancy dress to full blown tailoring depending on skill. In Tiger the sailmaker figured along with the Chief Boatswain's Mate as fixers for the First Lieutenant in his capacity of Mate of the Upper Deck. Sails' main official work was with the heavy grey PVC boat covers and steadily yellowing 'white' PVC covers for the liferafts - canvas by then was on its way out except for the sails for the dinghies and '3-in-1' whalers, which last were seldom sailed after the Cdr(E) discovered that if heeled when sailed hard salt water flooded into the engines.

As to individuals, first call for NoK is to the UK MoD Vets' Agency website which explains how to send for a person's papers. NB cheque is cashed immediately, results can easily take a year or more to appear.


Thanks, Sulzer and Seaweed! Was that a "standard" costume for the rickshaw-men?

I can imagine there was PLENTY of work for a sailmaker aboard a major battleship.... tons and tons of awnings to be made and maintained, at the very least.



If you are still looking for the badges of the Sailmaker:

I occasionally visit many markets that sell bric-a-brac, and usually find old badges through the years of the Royal Navy. If I find one I am more than happy to purchase (pennies only) and send on. I will keep you informed.

Regards, Chris

Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
F Looking for information about Grandads pre-war ship service record... Can anyone help? History 13
Z Looking for information regarding joining deckhand Diamond Lil's 64
T Looking for a bit of information on the Buccaneer ... The Fleet Air Arm 32
I Looking for information on Royal Canadian Navy Personnel WW2 International 7
Timmo Looking for information History 0
S Saffa Looking for more Information The Corps 8
D Failed at Selection Interview - Looking for advice going forwards Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 10
MoD_RSS Looking ahead to National Inclusion Week MoD News 0
R Well I think that's all over... Looking at a PMU. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 8
MoD_RSS Healthcare for planets and humans: why looking after nature is good for mind, body, and the NHS MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Veterans UK looking for new ways to help ease the pressure on the National Health Service and continue processing claims safely MoD News 0
K Looking for my deceased fathers naval records Submariners 8
MoD_RSS Report looking at how hateful extremists have been exploiting the current pandemic MoD News 0
S 34 & looking at Hydrography and Meteorology recruit Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 4
D Looking for Challenge/Spoof Coins From RFA Ships RFA 2
E Considering joining the Royal Navy- looking for advice Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 16
soleil Island Echo: "Ryde's Sea Cadets Looking For New Adult Leaders" SCC and URNU 0
MoD_RSS Looking back at 125 years of the Bar Council MoD News 0
C Looking for info on ATC The Fleet Air Arm 0
CiviPilot At the end of INT for Ratings, Looking to become an officer via AOP? Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 5
MorganCUFC Looking for Fitness tips Joining the Royal Navy 2
huwshpis Looking for a boat Travel & The Great Outdoors 31
MoD_RSS News story: Funding boost for councils looking after asylum seeking children MoD News 0
Lily jade Looking for Kevin Wakelin/Wakeling Nearest & Dearest 9
Sumo Looking for info on WWII Pongo History 12
MoD_RSS Press release: Grants available for SMEs looking to export MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech: Looking to the new year for progress to peace in Afghanistan MoD News 0
W Looking to join the navy, unsure due to daughter Nearest & Dearest 2
S Looking for archived Navy record Submariners 2
S Debut novel - looking for readers! The Book Club 16
Sumo Anyone looking for work in Guzz Diamond Lil's 8
R Looking for a Royal Marines documentary from early to mid 90s The Corps 2
L Chatham Field Gun Crew 1957 - looking for footage/photos History 2
dapperdunn “The **** you looking at shitlips”. The Gash Barge 42
W Looking to Join RNR but nearest establishment is rather far away Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 4
L Looking for info on where ships went to??? Bases / Shore Est 52
MoD_RSS Press release: Dstl is looking for out-of-this-world space scientists to join its programme MoD News 0
A Looking to join but need some help/info Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 5
A Looking for Aged Veterans Current Affairs 12
B Looking into a transfer to AC The Fleet Air Arm 23
Simon - Quest Magazine Looking for engineers at all levels (Leading Hands, POs & CPOs) The Afterlife - Resettlement and Jobs 7
MoD_RSS News story: Looking ahead to the London Somalia Conference 2017 MoD News 0
J Looking for advice on a medical appeal Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 4
Deckhamlad Ex Bootneck looking to join the RFA RFA 2
Woolfy Funny looking ear Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 27
C Looking into RN career Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 9
A Hi looking for pre joining medical advice please Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 9
D Looking for families of new recruits and/ or new submarine links Nearest & Dearest 2
D Looking for new submariners wags Submariners 9
E Looking to join, have a few questions Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 2
Similar threads

Latest Threads