Open Bridges & caps

Discussion in 'History' started by jockpopeye, Oct 5, 2010.

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  1. jockpopeye

    jockpopeye Badgeman Book Reviewer

    Currently reading a bit of WWII era RN history and was wondering if anyone coudl enlighten me as to when the last open bridge ship was taken out of service and also when did all the caps change to have white tops and why?
  2. Think the last open bridge warship was Cavalier so early 70s. old E survey ships and P2000s of course afterwards so you could still argue that we've got at least 15 of the things in service now (17 if you count Sabre/Scimitar).
  3. I could be talking utter bog here but I believe the reason blue caps where ditched was because the beret replaced them in.
  4. Could HMS Highburton count as the last open bridge ship to be taken out of service - 1975?
  5. Utter bog :D I was issued 2 white caps when I joined up in '73, berets were brought in in '75. the caps were white plastic (1 for best with gold wire cap tally, 1 working with gold rayon tally). I think the blue ones were phased out when the caps were made in plastic (or I could be talking utter bog).

    As for open bridges, all submarines have open bridges so warships still have them.
  6. Well the dit given to us at BRNC is that blue was taken out because in the rain the dye used to run, and looked awful. Hence the current two white plastic cap covers issued when you arrive at BRNC (well, one nowadays)

    Also heard a rather amusing tale that if you have a 'stag' ship ie all male crew, then black cap covers are allowed to worn. Reckon that thats a bit suspect though...
  7. I got slated for this the last time it came up but I stand by it - I was there.....
  8. As far as I'm aware it was the white ones that used to run due to whatever it was that they whitened them with. I'm sure Rummers would know more about that than me though.
  9. Ratings in class 3 rig (fore and aft) were issued 2 black caps and four white linen cap covers (in 1952). White tops were worn from 1st May, shift into black tops 1st October. Plastic topped caps were issued 1955/6 'ish, but some of us continued to wear linen cap covers as the plastic ones tended to go progressively yellow over a period of time. I wore them in class 3, and as a PO and Chief until 1975, and no-one ever commented. Seamen's caps were initially sustained with liberal applications of "blanco", which tended to run down the face and burberry in heavy rain, but their plastic ones also tended to turn yellow.
    As an aside, what do stokers use now as "steaming hats"? An old but respectable cap cover was always worth a wet of a purpley's tot!

  10. Don't bother these days, the beret has taken over.
  11. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    It goes back to HM's Coronation in 1953. It rained no mean tune in Coronation Day and Mountbatten (then 1SL I think) was horrified to see the blanco running down the faces and uniforms of the RN street liners in London. He got started on the plastic hats and if memory serves the last blue hats were worn in the winter of 1955/6. Fore and aft rig was of course not affected by the blanco issue but at the same time plastic cap covers came in to replace the white drill ones. These last tended to pick up indelible rust stains. Plastic fore and aft hats gradually replaced the original blue-with-plastic-cover of which I still have an example. The next stage was a lightweight plastic hat, originally popular in the tropics, which pretty much drove out the first, more upholstered, plastic-topped ones. This did not apply to square rig where all that happened was that a plastic issue replaced the white canvas summer one and the blue hats were no longer issued.

    Berets crept in from the FAA where they made sense on the Flight Deck. They were being worn in ordinary course by officers certainly from 1964, give or take the views of individual captains. Berets for square rig came later.
  12. And by range instructors - full blues, collar and tie - and a beret. :roll:

  13. Last open Bridge: HMY Britannia - now sure if that counts ?
  14. jockpopeye

    jockpopeye Badgeman Book Reviewer

    I like the notion of a parade in the rain looking like a bunch of Alice Cooper rejects.

    Am fascinated by the idea of an open bridge, must have been exhilarating, terrifying, miserable and amazing in equal measures.

    Incidentally the book in question is In Which they Served, by Brian Lavery, about Hostilities Only officers in the RN, (although officially they were all in the RNVR).
    Interesting and many parallels with the experience of joining the RNR with no naval background.
  15. As stated by the older than me brigade, plastic (white caps) were the order of the day from the mid 50's.
    As Wrecker states issue of two white plastic caps with gold for best rayon for work on your tallies. The question of blanco running was well dead and buried as by the time I joined up in 65 waterproof whitening was well in issue. The problem was never relevant. Otherwise belts and gaiters would have presented the same problem as they were white and webbing which required cleaning after each outing.
    It was the main job of the gunners yeo when alongside in far away places as to land the daily ships patrol. And webbing slings in white on the SLR.
  16. All senior rates had berets in the mid 60's in any ship I ever served in.
    Seaman branch definitely, never really noticed other branch chuffs and puffs.
  18. I see that the National Archives at Kew have a file:

    ADM 1/25188

    "Trials of white plastic topped caps for RN officers and ratings"

    "Covering dates 1953-1955"
  19. Ref Ferets! Wafus wore berets when serving on commando squadrons circa 71 and possibly earlier.
  20. I joined Feb 75, at Raleigh and was issued 1 White Cap & 1 Beret, my mate who noined in 74 was issued 2 white caps and 1 Beret.

    White Caps were only worn with No1's No'2's,
    and Nos 8's at Fleet Jos and Commanders table,
    Full No's 1's at Captains

    Not the voice of experience, my oppo told me :oops:

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