Ratings Uniform Question


I noticed when looking at the RN website that there is now a rig for ratings with a short sleeve white collared shirt instead of the traditional white front worn with jumpers. I'm wondering when this came into being? When the RCN wore traditional seaman's uniforms, the white front was usually referred to as a "gunshirt" and the rig with bell bottoms and gunshirts minus jumpers was known as 2A. Since our previous dress regs were derived from the RN, was that the designation in the RN also? I'm also wondering if the RN ever wore gunshirts with a vertical crease down the centre? Just curious.
Hi Gino,

From my time (62-79) and as I recall:

Nos 1s - Full Blue, blue collar, gold badges with or without medals
Nos 2s - Full Blue, blue collar with red badges (also the Duty uniform without blue collar)
Nos 8s - Blue shirt & Trousers Action Working Dress
Nos 6s - Full Whites with or without medals white or Black shoes
Nos 6As - White Front and white bells
Nos 10 - Blue shirt, blue shorts, black long socks (stockings) Black shoes
Nos 10A - Blue shirt blue shorts sandals (or no shirt if relaxed)

And, yes, we had a centre crease on the white fronts.

The blue collar had three creases (blue side out and not the mottled/striped under side) - there was coloquillism for this, but it is a bit on the rather risque (if you think of the female attributes you'll be close enough!!)

I presume the new shirt is for standardisation these days - you wouldn't need as much cash grant when you are promoted from Junior to Senior Rate. Strangley enough, I was in Pembroke in the 70s when they ran an initiative for the 'new' german style uniform (as Mountbatten remarked when he inspected the parade)for JRs (4 button double breasted), whereby they could save money in the same way - as it was they opted for a total crappy looking thing which I fortunately did not have to wear !!
Oops Sorry :oops:

Nos 10 - WHITE front White shorts Blue long socks (stockings) Black shoes
Nos 10A - Blue Shirt, shorts, Blue stockings, black shoes
Nos 10R - Blue shirt, shorts and sandals etc


War Hero
ref uniform designations (upto date :D )
1a-blue suit with medals
1-blue suit
4(8)- blue shirt/trousers (wooly pully in winter) + beret
3(5)- white open neck short sleeve shirt black trousers + cap
cs95 - u-cant see me suit :D

there is a load of other stuff such as tropical rig and all the officer combinations not forgetting the female alternatives 8O. And to top all this there is all the failed experimentation of things like blue combat trousers and fleece tops instead of Nos 4's, which matlots being matlots don't get returned when they change thier minds back 8) . Oh and white fronts have the crease outwards on the front of the front and inwards on the back of the front.......I hope that last bit made sense :wink:


War Hero
andym said:
Was the White front crease inwards or outwards?

Remember the old saying - "Two tits and a [email protected]#t" ie: two creases outwards and the middle one inwards. :)

The RAN has, sadly, done away with bells and white front. All junior rates wear straight pants and collared shirt, except on ceremonial occasions when the traditional blue jacket is worn with straight leg pants. :(
andym said:
Was the White front crease inwards or outwards?

Creased outward, the white front was pressed inside out to prevent any finger / ironing marks when readying for divisions.

I forgot to add that the 'german' style, and the eventual choice of new blue uniform (chosen I understand by trainees and jennies) was flared trousers (fore and aft creased) replacing bells.


War Hero
hammockhead said:
So if you were just wearing no. 1s and took off the jumper what rig would you be in?

I'm not sure these days! 3Bs seem to have surplanted it (and stoped the drift of JRs being in No 4s all the times - looks smarter at least!).

Of note, when ashore wearing No 1s negative jumper was not a permitted rig outside (of a building, in the UK at least). Had to represent a JR at table being trooped for walking acorss the establishment like that - came as quite a shock to all of us, and required all the male JRs having to take jumpers in with them to work, even in the height of summer. Wrens were OK as they were still in the 'old' rig and could wear blouses in the summer.


Thanks very much for the answers on this one. As far as I can gather the RCN pressed their white fronts flat, although our sea cadets have been using the vertical crease (front side only) since at least the mid 70s and continue to do so. Somewhere along the line, the RCN switched the creases on their collars to the opposite of the RN, ie with a hill in the middle and a valley on either side. When I was a sea cadet we tended to go way overboard and starched our collars till they were like cardboard. The RCN numbering system was more or less as follows:

1 - best blue uniform with gold badges and medals
2 - second best blue uniform with red badges and ribbons
2A - minus jumper
3 - second best blue uniform minus lanyard and ribbons
4 - second best blue uniform minus lanyard, ribbons and collar
5 - blue denim work dress
11 - white uniform
11A - minus jumper
25 - tropical work dress with shorts

Another question I have is with respect to the wearing of boatswain's calls and chains. Would there have been any circumstances where brow staff would have been on duty minus jumpers? If so, how did they wear the chain? Also, do parade GIs in the RN still wear a gunner's chain and "thunder whistle"?