Please can you help me to understand a Navy Service Record?

Discussion in 'History' started by Gapstow Girl, Sep 13, 2012.

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  1. Hi,
    I'm trying to find out more about my paternal grandfather, so I sent off for his service record. I've received it, but it has led to more questions rather than answers, as is the way with family history! I'm a newbie to all things navy related so please be patient with me. I can provide his official number, but would prefer not to divulge his name as discussing him is taboo in our family and I wouldn't want his name to appear on a google search.

    He's first listed on 16 June 1948 and was a 4th class joiner. He was from Glasgow, but was part of the Portsmouth division. His record states that a 'voluntary discharge' was granted on 6th August 1953. He served for 7.5 years. He was caught and disciplined for desertion in 1952. Given this knowledge, how 'voluntary' would a 'voluntary' discharge be?

    Please can someone tell me what sort of work you would be doing as a 4th class joiner? Would you mainly be at navy bases carrying out work or would you be away at sea for periods of time?

    He's listed on as serving on the following ships. I have tried to research some of these, but found it confusing, as I think some of these listings relate to Navy bases rather than ships.

    List No.
    15/4050 Victory 2-5 16 June 1948
    14/3743 Royal Arthur 1st July 1948
    15B1/4167 Victory 2 8th Sept 1948
    5B2/9 Condor 15th Feb 1949
    52/14 Condor 1st April 1949
    52/14 Condor 16th Jun 1949

    NEW PAY CODE 1950

    5B2/1 Condor 1st Sept 1950
    5B2/54 Indomitable 4th Oct 1950 & 20th Nov 51 made 3rd class joiner
    18/325 Victory 1-2 21 Jan 1952 RUN
    22 Jan 1952 Joiner 3
    14/2212 Victory 1-2 28 Jan 1952 Joiner 4
    5B2/126 Indomitable ? 21 Feb 1952 Joiner 4
    5E2/240 Jupiter (HQ group) 9th Sept 1952
    532/140 Jupiter 1st Oct 1952
    5 Ev?/140 Jupiter 22 Feb 1953 Joiner 3
    5B1/185 Jupiter 01 July 1953
    15B1/1749 Vict 1-3 A 07 July 1953
    15B1/1749 Vict 1-3 A 06 Aug 1953 SHORE

    06 Aug 1953 Discharged Shore under PFO 1510/53 Voluntary discharge Vidi DNA.9

    In the Offence section, it states 'Waiting trial for Desertion'.

    Sentence P. D. C. Etc. Served
    D 22-1-52 to 27-1-52
    42 crossed 28-1-52 to 20-02-52
    out +
    replaced w

    Residue suspended and then Residue Remitted 22-05-52

    In terms of my grandfather's character/efficiency assessments, he is classed as VG and SAT until 31.12.52 where he is classed as FAIR and MODERATE. On 06/08/53 - his discharge date, he is classed as VG and MODERATE. This sudden decline in his character/efficiency grading coincides with a significant family event which seems to have affected him badly.

    There are comments in the remarks columns that I can post if they will help.

    So... I have some questions!

    1) Please can you tell me if the above "ship names" are ships or if they are navy bases? Can you also tell me locations for these in 1948-53 period?

    2) Shore leave - how often did you get it and how much time did you get if you were at a Navy base? Did you get special consideration for leave if a baby was due? Did you get shore leave at Christmas? Where is shore leave documented?

    3) For consecutive service on a particular ship or base, was that time solid service or would shore leave be available? E.g listings for 'Jupiter' have lots of separate 'from' dates. Would this service have been broken up with shore leave or would it have been unbroken service?

    4) How can I find out more about my grandfather's desertion offence? E.g reason given for desertion/details

    5) How can I find out more about my grandfather's 'voluntary discharge' E.g reason given for leaving.

    Lots of info and questions! Sorry for the length of post!

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

    Gapstow Girl
  2. I can answer some of them. A joiner would have been part of the shipwrights branch. HMS Victory is the shore base at Portsmouth, now called HMS Nelson (although HMS VIctory, Nelsons ship at the Battle of Trafalgar is still there), HMS Royal Arthur was a shore base in Wilthshire and HMS Condor was a naval air station at Arbroath. Shore leave was documented locally so no records would exist. In a shore establishment everyone has night leave unless they were duty, this also applies for the Christmas period. You can get compassionate leave for the birth of your child if you can be spared.
  3. Going further, HMS Indomitable was an aircraft carrier which paid off in 1955 but the Jupiter has me confused as she was sunk in 1942 and the next ship by that name wasn't launched until 1967. Sol may be of more use than me.
  4. And PDC is I believe Portsmouth Detention Centre. Crossed over is going from "recess" to mainstream "Quarters".
    God I've come over all yuk. I loved DQ's.
  5. Thanks so much for your quick replies! The section on the offence has not been formatted in the way I typed it. The P, D, C thing relates to the column on the record which notes the disciplinary decision. There is a D in this column so I'm assuming it refers to Detention. It isn't clear to me from the record as to where this would be or for how long. I can't work out if the dates in this section - 22-1-52 to 27-1-52 and 28-1-52 to 20-2-52 relate to the dates he absconded or if these are the dates of time to be served in DQ and which DQ he would have been in.

    Could 'Jupiter' be 'Jupiter Point' in Plymouth? If so, what would you be doing there? The time served on Jupiter - where ever this was - from the dates given on the record, would this have been continuous service or could he have had shore leave during some of this time? E.g at weekends or for more extended periods? How feasible would it be to get to Glasgow from where ever Jupiter was? I'm trying to work out if he was away from Glasgow for the whole of Sept and Oct 1952.

    Also, does anyone know where HMS Indomitable was 1951 and where it was going in 1952? On the record, there is a question mark next to the 1952 entry. I think this could suggest that someone was querying if he actually was on this or not. Could relate to an unauthorised absence..?

    Forgive me if some of these questions seem stupid or irritating, it's just that it might help to work out if some theories to events in my family history are feasible or not.
  6. If the letters were at the head of columbs then yes P= punishment, D= detention and C= cells IIRC.
    Ask sgt pepper he should know.
  7. All I can find out about the Indomitable in the time given was that she was the flagship of the Home Fleet and had an explosion and fire when she was in the Med in 1952. I don't think Jupiter means Jupiter Point although that is the Navy's boat handling training centre. If it was so in the times given, then it would be logical that a shipwright would be there. As it's a shore draft he would have had night leave plus his normal leave periods (Easter/Summer/Christmas) plus weekends off if he wasn't duty.
  8. From 1 Jul 1950 to 6 Sep 1957, HMS JUPITER was the name given to the Reserve Fleet based in the Gareloch (formerly RF Clyde).
  9. Everyday's a school day NG, never knew that!
  10. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    A Joiner was an artisan rating (as were sailmakers, blacksmiths etc) and not as skilled as a Shipwright who would have completed an apprenticeship with the RN starting at age 16. So a Joiner would have been in the Shipwrights party working for them. I noticed that after his desertion he was dipped from Joiner 3 back to Joiner 4 so presumably disrating was part of his punishment. Apart from his time in Indom he seems to have spent his entire career ashore - I would think only carriers and battleships had shipwrights parties big enough to need joiners as well. As to the DQs bit he seems to have kept his nose clean once he got there (residue remitted etc).
  11. All this information is great! Thanks so much for all this :) I suspected before I started this family research pandora's box that he might have spent most of his career ashore. Do you know if there's any way I'd be able to find out about his trial details? Before this nose dive he seemed to have kept his nose clean and after his DQ period he seems to have done too. However, during this time, his marriage to my grandmother completely disintegrated and she made him leave. I've found out some details relating to my grandfather's later life, but the period he was with my grandmother is a bit of a Pandora's box. All it not as it has seemed and it's unfair to me that his perspective on the situation has been buried.

    My dad has no knowledge whatsoever of his father or that side of his family. He's never even seen a photograph of him. He doesn't know to this day the reasons behind it all and I think that the most precious thing I could give him is his history and the opportunity to learn the truth - positive or negative.
  12. Unless it was a Court Martial it would be unlikely that any "trial" records exist.He would have been brought before the commanding Officer of his ship or establishment to make his plea where the facts would have been stated and any mitigation as to the reason for going AWOL.If found guilty sentence would have been handed down by the CO.I have never been through this system but others on this forum will be able to tell you how long between sentence and going to DQs.
  13. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    My recollection is that DQs would always be a warrant punishment. CO would order 'remanded' and the warrant would be sent to the adminstrative authority (CO's admiral) for confirmation. As soon as it got back to the ship Loqwer Deck would be cleared, the warrant would be read along with the approprate Articles of War to the assembled Ship's Company, and the defaulter would then be sent off to DQs immetiately.
  14. That's how it plays today Seaweed, your recollections are correct (standingby to be shot down by SPB!).
  15. That's how it played out for me.
  16. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Loved the sonorous phrasing of the Articles of War .. Whosover ... shall suffer DEATH or such other punishment ..

    There was a story (like all good dits, no source traceable!) of a CO, exasperated by some scrote, closing proceedings at his table with just one word: 'DEATH!' MAA, unblinking: 'Death, on caps, right turn, quick march, wait outside the Regulating Office'.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. It was warrant punishment that turned me into a pessimist.
    I used to hold my breath awaiting those immortal words.." this sentence to be suspended for".......
  18. Knew a bloke who got DQs for, an accumulation of minor offences, must have been a regular at Captains and eventually they got fed up of seeing him, and got the big stick out.
  19. Not in the fifties Wrecks. Childbirth was a thing confined to wives, midwives, and mothers in law. The male of the species was definitely not required to be present, except under VERY exceptional circumstances, and release from duty for compassionate reasons was very rare.
    Bin there, done that.

  20. Roger that (could have phrased that better!!)

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