Naval Officers

wet_blobby

War Hero
Moderator
#1
The Army has a rich history of men coming from the ranks and reaching high ranks... Gen Slim for one. I think "Bomber" Harris was a pongo foot slogger before he joined the RAF.

Does the Navy have anyone who has gone from the lower deck up to Admiral or does the fact that back in the day it was a fairly technical job being a Matelot Officer and the gap between ratings and officer just to great?
 
#5
Off the top of my head I think St Vincent was up thru the Hawsepipe,it differs in some respect, not many came from the lower deck but a lot came up to high rank coming from the Merchant navy so in fact they knew the sea far better than a middie from Dartmouth.
As for battle experience the a Master would have more and quite a few Masters made it up to high rank.
I've got loads of Nelsons Navy books I'll have a peruse sometime later.
 

wet_blobby

War Hero
Moderator
#6
So, the Army has kind of dropped the idea of promoting men up from the ranks (to the highest level) post WW2, but the Navy (courtesy of the RAN) still does. Awesome.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#9
In the old sailing navy a flip to the front (and literate and numerate) AB could try to become a Master's Mate and so learn astro navigation, and work his way up the ladder from there. From whatever background, no astro, no pass for Lieutenant let alone Command.

In passing I met a rear admiral a few months ago who started as an OD.
 
#13
One of the Capt RN at MWS Collingwood was an ex-stoker.

The last but one "Teacher" was an ex-Jack Dusty Submariner.

There are loads of yardies around, the only thing that counts against them reaching the highest ranks is their age on becoming an Officer. Regardless of your method of getting to BRNC, if you rock up at the main gates after 25(ish), you are v v unlikely to reach the "stars".
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#16
I was relieved in one job by an SD transfer to GL who made Cdr but in all these SD cases age was against them, because from 1955 GLs were mostly recruited at 18 with A levels (Grad entry came later). On Captain I had in 1959 had gone UY before the war which was unusually good going, he had come in as a Boy Seaman from TS Mercury so had had a pretty hard time of it let alone the war. But Captain is as far as he got. [Captain: "What is the delay Guns?" Guns (not me!) "Just you fking well wait. SIR." Said Guns was promoted out of that ship]. Better educated boys could get in as Artificer Apprentices (yes I know I'm repeating myself but it is appropriate to this thread) and with an x% pass out were entitled to an AIB and were on a par with us GLs, NB they were not UYs and if you didn't know them personally there was no way you could track how they generally got on afterwards. Four came in that way in my term but all washed out at Manadon. I enquired after them with a plumber friend at a recent reunion but he dodged the qn, didn't want to tell tales I suppose. Mind you they weren't the only ones to wash out after years of being fed paid and watered at huge expense, well done the AIB, the Captain told one of them who had been a Cadet Captain at BRNC etc that he only used Manadon as a hotel between rugby games.
 
#17
Captain James Cook started off on a Whitby Collier Vessel as a deckhand, I believe, Mathew Flinders was another with lowly origins. Believe the only person to have done it the other way round was Rumrat, joined as an admiral and finished up as a Killick, had he only have perceivered he could have made J/Sea second class :-D
 
#18
I remember on a visit to RM Museum Eastney that they have in display a uniform of a CGRM with a Kings Badge.

Not sure who it was and Google's not helpoing at the mo'.
 

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