Midshipmen

Lynx101

Lantern Swinger
#1
Is it true that Midshipmen are non-commissioned officers? I was sure that they were commissioned but I think I might have read somewhere that S/Lt is the lowest commissioned rank? Is this true?
Thanks!
8)
 
#4
My commission is dated the day I was promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant. Lacking access to QRRN, this extract from Wiki complies with my understanding (link) (link):

Wikipedia said:
...In countries whose ranking systems are based upon the models of the British Armed Forces, officers from the rank of Second Lieutenant (Army), Sub-Lieutenant (Navy) or Pilot Officer (Air Force) to the rank of General (Army), Admiral (Navy) or Air Chief Marshal (Air Force) are holders of a commission granted to them by the awarding authority. In Britain and other Commonwealth realms, the awarding authority is the monarch (or a Governor General representing the monarch) as head of state. The head of state often is granted the power to award commissions, or has commissions awarded in his or her name....
When an officer is saluted, it is the commission he/she holds that is being acknowledged, not the individual; just like saluting the ensign (the equivalent of a 'regimental colour') when boarding or leaving a commissioned warship or submarine. While not yet holding a commission, midshipmen are usually saluted out of common courtesy.

An officer awarded a commission retains it for life unless he/she resigns it, is 'cashiered', or disqualifies themself in some way, e.g. joins the Armed Services of a country not having the British monarch as its Head of State/Commander-in-Chief. In a similar manner, officers don't 'retire' from the Service, they are just transferred from the 'Active List' to the 'Retired List' in the rank last held.
 
#7
not wishing to deviate too much from the thread by why is the signature of Lynx 101 that of two Merlins. I'm au fait with the EH101 and can see the reference in that context. Just asking out of curiosity.
 
#8
Officer ranks taken from QRRN's


NATO Code (RN only)
RN including QARNNS Military including
RM, and QARANC
Air Force
including
PMRAFNS
OF-10 Admiral of the Fleet Field Marshal Marshal of the
Royal Air Force
OF-9 Admiral General Air Chief Marshal
OF-8 Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-General Air Marshal
OF-7 Rear-Admiral Major-General Air Vice-Marshal
OF-6 Commodore Brigadier Air Commodore
OF-5 Captain Colonel Group Captain
OF-4 Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Wing Commander
OF-3 Lieutenant-Commander Major Squadron Leader
OF-2 Lieutenant Captain Flight Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant (but junior to military and Air Force ranks)
Lieutenant Flying Officer
OF-1 Midshipman (but junior to military and Air Force ranks)
(QARNNS does not have a Midshipman rank)
Second Lieutenant Pilot Officer Acting Pilot Officer (but
junior to Second Lieutenant)

Enjoy

SM

:)
 
#9
scouse said:
All the famous Officers in the RN started life as Snotties :wink: :wink: Flying Buccaneers as well :salute: :worship:
Not quite true. Many would have started as cadets as I did, or even on the lower deck. Those who flew Buccs would certainly have been cadets before they became midshipmen.

(Don't you just hate smart a**es? :) )
 
#10
scouse said:
All the famous Officers in the RN started life as Snotties :wink: :wink: Flying Buccaneers as well :salute: :worship:
Admiral Lyne didn't and he was famous in Victorian England. He trained at the Premier Public School for Ratings! :p
 
#11
IMHO I think that in there egalitarian days ALL members of the Senior Service from Junior to Admiral of the Fleece, should get commissions. The other services should relinquish theirs, bar the Royals, who are really wavy sailors in lovat!
 
#12
Midshipmen are Invincible! FACT
Global
Basic Info
Name: Midshipmen are Invincible! FACT
Category: Just for Fun - Outlandish Statements
Description: Midi tabs are bulletproof, bombproof, and amazing bullshit deflectors.

Anyone who needs proof just watch an old WWII film, 18 inch shells can land on their heads killing all others around but the Snotty always pops up unscathed.
 
#13
scouse said:
Midshipmen are Invincible! FACT
Global
Basic Info
Name: Midshipmen are Invincible! FACT
Category: Just for Fun - Outlandish Statements
Description: Midi tabs are bulletproof, bombproof, and amazing bullshit deflectors.

Anyone who needs proof just watch an old WWII film, 18 inch shells can land on their heads killing all others around but the Snotty always pops up unscathed.
That's because they were manufacturered from steel! :D
 
#14
Is it true that Midshipmen used to have no authority over ratings at all ( and were effectively on the same level as Ordinary Rates), even after being posted to ships?

If that's true when did the system change, and start treating Midshipmen as junior officers?
 
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#16
I mean, I don't know, but Hornblower seems to suggest otherwise...
True, but that's only fiction.

Also, the unconfirmed info that I have indicates that Midshipmen had no authority as recently as 40 years ago (not in Napoleonic times). Hopefully someone here can confirm or negate that for me.
 
#17
Hornblower is not that far off the truth and his adventures were only exaggerated because of the books. Midshipmen were 'young gentlemen' and officers under training. They could actually hold a watch on the smaller ships (sloops etc), so it is not true that they had no authority over ratings. If a midshipman had a problem with a rating then it would be referred to a Lieutenant, as a middy had no authority to dispense punishment etc (that was only the Captain's prerogative, with a suggestion from the First Lieutenant who was responsible for discipline). Midshipmen were often in charge of signals etc but they were also number two to a Lieutenant on the guns and would take over should the officer be taken 'ill'.

Of course, Midshipmen were not part of the Wardroom and would have their own gunroom for sleeping, eating etc but they ran their own mess and were certainly separated from the communal messing of the ratings.

Much like today, it would have been a silly Midshipman who did not heed the advice of the senior rates and those with warrants, like the Sailing Master, Gunner etc held 'rank' over a middy but it would have been an equally silly seaman who decided to push the boundaries, especially as that Midshipman might well have senior rank relatives and the Captain would have been more concerned about an Admiral's son than someone they picked off the streets of Pompey with the Press Gang.

I don't think 'no authority as recently as 40 years ago' is correct at all. As I said above, I've never heard of Midshipmen having no authority over ratings and seeing as it was 35 years ago that I joined Dartmouth I'm sure I would have known about the 'powers' that we had that five years before we wouldn't have had.

With a senior Royal Marine NCO for a dad I was never under any delusions of the 'power' held by a Middy and was very aware of how little I knew compared with the senior rates but I never had any problems with my authority being usurped.....although I'm sure there would have been plenty of piss-taking later about Midshipman Pontius and what he had asked to be done :) Then again, I'm sure the same thing happened with the more senior ranks I held ;)
 
#19
Hi Pontius,
Sorry for my extremely late reply. It's a long story, I'll explain why it's so late (in a PM), once you've read this. Thank you very much for your informative post, it's obvious you put a lot of time into it, I really appreciate that. :)

I don't think 'no authority as recently as 40 years ago' is correct at all. As I said above, I've never heard of Midshipmen having no authority over ratings and seeing as it was 35 years ago that I joined Dartmouth I'm sure I would have known about the 'powers' that we had that five years before we wouldn't have had.
Thanks, I understand now. It turns out that I misunderstood something that a friend (who is a retired Warrant Officer) said, that's why I thought Middy's used to have no authority at all. Sorry, that was quite a silly mistake on my part. *blush*

Now that I know that Middy's have always had some authority, I have a few follow up questions, if that's okay? I asked my retired Warrant Officer friend, but he can't remember the answers. I have since learnt that today's Midshipmen are commissioned officers, but that this was quite a recent change. My follow up questions are about semi-modern Midshipmen who served well after the days of sail, but *before* Midshipman was considered a commissioned rank:
1. Lets say a Mid gave an order to an AB, would the AB have responded with "Aye Sir/Ma'm", or "Aye Midshipman"?

2. Were Midshipman saluted as a courtesy, (even though they weren't commissioned yet) or were they not saluted until they were commissioned as Sub Lieutenants?

3. Did semi-modern Midshipmen have to prove themselves in the Fleet before being commissioned, (like they had to in Hornblower's day) or did they get no sea/fleet time before graduating BRNC and being promoted to Sub Lieutenant?

Thanks very much for your time. :) I promise I won't take so long to reply next time.

Cheers,
Steven
 
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