Ranks and Trades and Rock n Roll

HistoryBoy

Midshipman
Hi All,

For those of us who peruse military history, it is a joy to see the rank structure in the British Army, the RM and the RAF. Simple... pure... unadulterated.

But then there's you Navy baggage.
You're a closed shop.
None - shall - pass.

It's very hard to work out who was who and what was what when ranks are given as:

NA1, AEM, AEM(L)1, AEM(M)1, AEM(R1), LCk, POSM, POME, L/Sto Mech, PO Ck, AEM(W)1, Wtr, LSTW, Ck 1, LSA, CPOWEA, LM(E), NA2 and so on.

I have tried very hard to find some sort of acronym list of all the RN trades. Ultimately, I'm trying to turn each of these into a rank within the NATO hierarchy but it's hard for an outsider.

When I say "these", I have 690 different ones - not just the ones I mentioned.

Is there a way to explain how to look them up? I understand that there are different branches in the navy and different rating ranks and that most of these titles are an amalgam of the two. For example - it's taken me weeks but I finally understood that LACPOAEM means:

Local Acting - Chief Petty Officer - Air Engineering Mechanic

I think.

Can anyone give me directions to a great guide to all this? Or at least decypher the ones I've listed and we'll go from there?

Thanks,

Tom
 

Chalk_bosun

Lantern Swinger
Let's have a stab at this then...


NA1 / 2 - Naval airman 1st class / 2nd class
AEM - air engineering mechanic
AEM(L)1 - AEM electrics 1st class
AEM(M)1 - AEM mechanical 1st class
AEM(R1)s ????
LCk,- leading cook
POSM ???
POME - Petty Officer Marine Engineer
L/Sto Mech - Leading Stoker (mechanical)
PO Ck - Petty Officer cook
AEM(W)1 ?????
Wtr - Writer
LSTW - Leading Steward
Ck 1 - Cook 1st class
LSA - Leading Stores Accountant
CPOWEA - Chief Petty Officer Weapons Engineering Artificer
LM(E) ????

The (current) equivalencies are:

CPO (OR-7)
PO (OR-6)
L "Leading ___"- e.g. LReg Leading Regulator (OR-4)
____ 1st class (OR-2)
____ 2nd class (OR-2)

Note we have no OR -5, 3 or 1 equivalents in the RN. Also, AB1 and 2 are both equivalent to OR-2 regardless of what your wiki article suggested. Can't remember when the NATO equivalences came into effect or whether any of our ranks changed within them over the years.

Not 100% but I'd be willing to put this forward as a starting point for someone else to develop/extend.

Any of the old and bold willing to confirm or call BS on any of this? Would be appreciated.
 
Last edited:

WreckerL

War Hero
At a guess, the AEM(R) and (W) are Radio and Weapons.

The big snag with RN branches is the names keep getting changed every few years. I had 3 different branch names whilst doing the same job all the time I was in!
 

Sumo

War Hero
At a guess, the AEM(R) and (W) are Radio and Weapons.

The big snag with RN branches is the names keep getting changed every few years. I had 3 different branch names whilst doing the same job all the time I was in!
What were they wrecks, bunk light on, bunk light off and M&M:)
 
I'll be honest, they're fairly easy - it's a bit like German compound nouns: you have to spot the "root" and work outwards from there...
 

Branch-Hopper

War Hero
POSM...

Anything followed by SM is usually Submariner.
As @alfred_the_great says, find the route.

Anyway, I find it all a bit rich - how many words do the Army have for private?
Trooper, Gunner, Driver, Rifleman, Etc. ad infinitum!
 

HistoryBoy

Midshipman
Brilliant start, chaps. Thanks for kicking off, @Chalk_bosun, and I like what @alfred_the_great said about compound nouns.

It's clear that with practice some repeated letters like CPO or AEM will just stand out more but until I get the hang of them, everything's a jumble of letters.

Let's see if we can get some logical rules in place. I'll drive and you tell me when my 2CV has swerved off the road.

1. In terms of equating to rank in line with the Wikipedia article and NATO codes I can assume:

a. Things ending in 1 or 2 (that don't contain PO or CPO or WO) mean class one or class two with the same equivalent rank as AB1 or AB2
b. Things beginning with L or L/ or Leading equate to Leading Hand/Leading Seaman/Leading Rate
c. Things with PO (but not CPO) in them are Petty Officer rank
d. Things with CPO in them are Chief Petty Officer rank
e. Things with WO in them are Warrant Officers
f. Things that don't comply with any of these are probably AB rank

2. Things in brackets have meanings :D

Out of 1000 trades/ranks here are the most frequent. It would be good to get a definite idea of what they stood for.

RED HOT (More than 150 hits)
(A) as in LA(A), REM(A)1, EM(A)1, Ch El(A), LEM(A), CAF(A)(E)
(E) as in M(E)1, Ch Mech(E), NAM(E)1, LAM(E)
(M) as in MEM(M)1, AB(M), LA(M), LS(M), POMEA(M), LACAEMN(M)

POPULAR (20 to 65 hits)
(L) as in CAEA(L), CPOMEA(L), LMEM(L)
(O) as in POAF(O), LWEM(O), COEA(O), CCEA(O), CPO MA(O)
(R) as in LWEM(R), PO(R), CPO(R), AB(R)
(S) as in SPO(S), SA(S), Ck(S)
(G) as in LRO(G), RO2(G), RO(G)2, WAWTR(G)
(P) as in CMEA(P), MEMN(P), CCMEA(P), MEA(P)3
(AH) as in NA(AH)1, LA(AH), POA(AH)

MILDLY FASHIONABLE (10 to 20 hits)
(H) as in WOMEA(H), LA(H)
(CAS) as in CPO(CAS)SE
(T) as in RO(T)1
(AE) as in NAM(AE)1, POAF(AE)1
(D) as in AB(D), PO(D)
(V) as in SA(V), SCPO(V)
(SSM) as in AB(SSM), LS(SSM)... and also AB(TSSM) which is probably related
(MW) as in OM(MW), PO(MW)(O)
(EW) as in LS(EW), S(EW), WOM(EW)

3. The missing link will be defining common acronyms like:

WOMEA, CPO, RO, NAM, SA, SCPO, OM, WOM, S, WEM, AEA, COEA etc

Who wants to help me define a guide?

Tom
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Brilliant start, chaps. Thanks for kicking off, @Chalk_bosun, and I like what @alfred_the_great said about compound nouns.

It's clear that with practice some repeated letters like CPO or AEM will just stand out more but until I get the hang of them, everything's a jumble of letters.

Let's see if we can get some logical rules in place. I'll drive and you tell me when my 2CV has swerved off the road.

1. In terms of equating to rank in line with the Wikipedia article and NATO codes I can assume:

a. Things ending in 1 or 2 (that don't contain PO or CPO or WO) mean class one or class two with the same equivalent rank as AB1 or AB2
b. Things beginning with L or L/ or Leading equate to Leading Hand/Leading Seaman/Leading Rate
c. Things with PO (but not CPO) in them are Petty Officer rank
d. Things with CPO in them are Chief Petty Officer rank
e. Things with WO in them are Warrant Officers
f. Things that don't comply with any of these are probably AB rank

2. Things in brackets have meanings :D

Out of 1000 trades/ranks here are the most frequent. It would be good to get a definite idea of what they stood for.

RED HOT (More than 150 hits)
(A) as in LA(A), REM(A)1, EM(A)1, Ch El(A), LEM(A), CAF(A)(E)
(E) as in M(E)1, Ch Mech(E), NAM(E)1, LAM(E)
(M) as in MEM(M)1, AB(M), LA(M), LS(M), POMEA(M), LACAEMN(M)

POPULAR (20 to 65 hits)
(L) as in CAEA(L), CPOMEA(L), LMEM(L)
(O) as in POAF(O), LWEM(O), COEA(O), CCEA(O), CPO MA(O)
(R) as in LWEM(R), PO(R), CPO(R), AB(R)
(S) as in SPO(S), SA(S), Ck(S)
(G) as in LRO(G), RO2(G), RO(G)2, WAWTR(G)
(P) as in CMEA(P), MEMN(P), CCMEA(P), MEA(P)3
(AH) as in NA(AH)1, LA(AH), POA(AH)

MILDLY FASHIONABLE (10 to 20 hits)
(H) as in WOMEA(H), LA(H)
(CAS) as in CPO(CAS)SE
(T) as in RO(T)1
(AE) as in NAM(AE)1, POAF(AE)1
(D) as in AB(D), PO(D)
(V) as in SA(V), SCPO(V)
(SSM) as in AB(SSM), LS(SSM)... and also AB(TSSM) which is probably related
(MW) as in OM(MW), PO(MW)(O)
(EW) as in LS(EW), S(EW), WOM(EW)

3. The missing link will be defining common acronyms like:

WOMEA, CPO, RO, NAM, SA, SCPO, OM, WOM, S, WEM, AEA, COEA etc

Who wants to help me define a guide?

Tom
Unfortunately most of those branches have been re-badged but the ranks (WO, CPO, PO, LH, AB) have stayed the same.

In the Marine, Weapons and Air Engineering branches they are all now ET(ME), ET(WE) and AET, the ET part standing for Engineering Technician, the air arm meaning Air Engineering Technician.

If ET(ME) and WE are written as ET(MESM) or ET(WESM) it means they are submariners, anything with SM at the end doesn't mean we're into sadomasochism (what happens on patrol stays on patrol ;) ) The only dept that doesn't use the SM bit tends to be logistics, so Chefs, Writers, Stores Accountants and Stewards (or CH, WTR, SA and STD).
 

Chalk_bosun

Lantern Swinger
I'll chip in again here (nicknames included free of charge)


POPULAR (20 to 65 hits)
(L) as in CAEA(L), CPOMEA(L), LMEM(L)
= Electrical (greenie?)
(AH) as in NA(AH)1, LA(AH), POA(AH)
= Aircraft handler (still in use, chockhead)

MILDLY FASHIONABLE (10 to 20 hits)
(D) as in AB(D), PO(D) = Diver (bubblehead)
(SSM) as in AB(SSM), LS(SSM)... = Sensors Submariner (still in use)... TSSM is Tactical I believe.

(MW) as in OM(MW), PO(MW)(O) = mine warfare (muppet)
(EW) as in LS(EW), S(EW), WOM(EW) = electronic warfare (golly)
 

Branch-Hopper

War Hero
Brilliant start, chaps. Thanks for kicking off, @Chalk_bosun, and I like what @alfred_the_great said about compound nouns.



2. Things in brackets have meanings :D

Out of 1000 trades/ranks here are the most frequent. It would be good to get a definite idea of what they stood for.

RED HOT (More than 150 hits)
(A) as in LA(A), REM(A)1, EM(A)1, Ch El(A), LEM(A), CAF(A)(E) AIR
(E) as in M(E)1, Ch Mech(E), NAM(E)1, LAM(E) ELECTRICAL
(M) as in MEM(M)1, AB(M), LA(M), LS(M), POMEA(M), LACAEMN(M) MECHANICAL

POPULAR (20 to 65 hits)
(L) as in CAEA(L), CPOMEA(L), LMEM(L) ELECTRICAL (a later version)
(O) as in POAF(O), LWEM(O), COEA(O), CCEA(O), CPO MA(O)
(R) as in LWEM(R), PO(R), CPO(R), AB(R) RADAR
(S) as in SPO(S), SA(S), Ck(S) SUPPLY Dept.
(G) as in LRO(G), RO2(G), RO(G)2, WAWTR(G) RO G - General Comms , ie Radio & Long distance stuff
(P) as in CMEA(P), MEMN(P), CCMEA(P), MEA(P)3 PROPULSION?
(AH) as in NA(AH)1, LA(AH), POA(AH)

MILDLY FASHIONABLE (10 to 20 hits)
(H) as in WOMEA(H), LA(H) HYDORGRAPHER
(CAS) as in CPO(CAS)SE
(T) as in RO(T)1 Comms Tactical, Ie short range stuff, VHF, Flags, Morse by Flashing Light
(AE) as in NAM(AE)1, POAF(AE)1 Air Engineer
(D) as in AB(D), PO(D) Diver
(V) as in SA(V), SCPO(V)
(SSM) as in AB(SSM), LS(SSM)... and also AB(TSSM) which is probably related
(MW) as in OM(MW), PO(MW)(O) Mine Warfare
(EW) as in LS(EW), S(EW), WOM(EW) Electronic Warfare



Tom
Done some of them - Need @WreckerL to help with the underwater ones.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
With list you put up at the end, we have:
WOMEA = Warrant Officer Marine Engineering Artificer (WOET(ME) now

CPO = Chief Petty Officer (a rate equivalent to Staff Sergeant)
RO = Radio Operater (now called CIS or CIS(SM)
NAM = Naval Airman
SA = Stores Accountant
SCPO = ??
OM = Operator Maintainer (a failed experiment, branch discontinued), WOM = maybe Warrant Officer (Missiles) but if so doesn't exist anymore, S = Steward possibly but not written that way
WEM = Weapons Engineering Mechanic, now ET(WE)
AEA = Air Engineering Artificer, now AET
COEA = Chief Ordnance Electrical Artificer (Ordnance Electrical branch was split between the ME and WE world in 1979 so now ET(ME) or ET(WE).

Hope that helps, I can be precise on the Ordnance Electrical bit because that was my branch before being subsumed into the Marine Engineering branch.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
I'll chip in again here (nicknames included free of charge)


POPULAR (20 to 65 hits)
(L) as in CAEA(L), CPOMEA(L), LMEM(L)
= Electrical (greenie?)
(AH) as in NA(AH)1, LA(AH), POA(AH)
= Aircraft handler (still in use, chockhead)

MILDLY FASHIONABLE (10 to 20 hits)
(D) as in AB(D), PO(D) = Diver (bubblehead)
(SSM) as in AB(SSM), LS(SSM)... = Sensors Submariner (still in use)... TSSM is Tactical I believe.

(MW) as in OM(MW), PO(MW)(O) = mine warfare (muppet)
(EW) as in LS(EW), S(EW), WOM(EW) = electronic warfare (golly)
I was an LMEM(L) and also a CPOMEA(L), after Mechs course, and we were (are) greenies.
 

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