Masters death in service

I am currently searching the life and history of who I think is a distinguished RFA Master. He became a merchant seaman on leaving school and then in the 1920's joined what today is the RFA. He died in service in the 1950's after about 30 years service and according to his daughters, their mother (now deceased) received no widows pension which obviously caused acute hardship. On reading historical records about Naval pensions etc., I find it quite confusing. what would have been the entitlement at that time.


War Hero
It's a pension query Janner, this is the pensions forum, I'll leave it here.

AJC, the RFA pension is and has been the Civil Service Pension Scheme. As far back as 1950 I can't be certain but Google will guide you to the CSPC website and contacts.

....then in the 1920's joined what today is the RFA.
It was the RFA then, established in 1905.
Hi, being new here I am not sure where it should go but would certainly be interested in what was the benefits available at that time. I am a genealogist trying to put together a life picture of this family who's father was decorated in WW2 and yet when he died, the family were left in quite dire circumstances especially as he was the Master of an RFA vessel and was onboard when he collapsed and died. I know back in the fifties the arrangements were not as today so I am trying to piece together that part of his daughter's lives. Mum, his widow has passed and the children were sent to boarding school at that time so the picture is vague. Also what merits a burial in a Naval cemetery ? as opposed to an ordinary one. Many thanks for any assistance.


War Hero
And given the particular perspective, the thread may be better off in the RFA forum as Janner suggested.

...distinguished RFA Master.
'Distinguished' suggests he was a DSO or similar. The RFAA website and or a site called RFA Nostalgia has a list of RFA Officers and Ratings decorated over the years as does one or two books on the Service that came out in 2005; RFA 100 and Trafalgar 200. If he is a DSO or similar, the Central Chancery will likely keep a record and the award and citation will be in the London Gazette.
I say 'distinguished' but thats because he had six medals. Yes he is mentioned numorous times on the RFA site which is where l started several weeks ago. I have his ship history and various photographs and letters which indicate he was on the verge of promotion to Commander, but my interest at the moment is what happened after he died. As an established Master of numorous RFA vessels and deployed during WW2 and then various post war British skirmishes, how did his family end up financially bereft of any support and him buried in a Naval cemetary. Was that how it was back then ?


War Hero
Back in the day - arrr Jim lad - some RFA Deck and Engineer Officers were dual hatted and held RNR Commissions in addition to their RFA rank. Same thing was an aspect in the Merchant (commercial) fleet where ships flew a blue ensign when the old man was RNR.

Family bereft of support? Perhaps they slipped through the cracks, maybe there was no RFA (CSPS) pension back then, maybe they didn't know who to ask and kept quiet for 70 years. If so it's tragic.


War Hero
There's a sad tale of a recently deceased homeless, rough sleeping former soldier in my location. When he died the outrage bus was standing room only, 'the Army should have, his family should have'.

A spokesman for his Regimental Association said that they reached out to him, offered him help as did his family. He declined.
From what l have gathered from his UK daughter, it was at the charity of the RFA which enabled his wifeto work as sadly no pension was received hence his burial in a Naval cemetary, which also reflects their financial state at that time. I am baffled at this situation but both daughter's confirm their mother's situation at that time. Would any benefit be gained by naming this gentleman ? I would have to gain permission for that to happen anyway. My main aim at raising this thread was to try and clarify the treatment of long serving officers at that time although it appears from further digging they were still regarded as Merchant Navy and not Royal Navy and not thus subject to the same treatment on death or pension wise.
The coverage of pension provision for the Mercantile Marine in Hansard is worth reading. There is also discussion in there of particular help being given re subsidised boarding school places for children whose fathers have died while serving.

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