RFA, MFA, RN Transport, or Merchant Navy HM Transport?

Discussion in 'History' started by BabaAndrew, Feb 17, 2010.

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  1. Can anyone tell me if the gentleman standing in the attached photo is wearing the uniform & insignia of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Mercantile Fleet Auxiliary, RN Transport Service or Merchant Navy HM Transport Service? The cap badge looks - to me - as if it could be from any one of these services.

    The photo is of my great-grandfather, who had served as an Engineer with P&O Steam Navigation Company, on a hospital ship in the Dardanelles and troop ship in the Med. from 1916-1919. I believe that this photo was taken 1920-1921.

    Any insight appreciated!
  2. Owing to the thick circle and configuration of leaves, the cap badge appears to be that for an engineer in His Majesty's Transport Service (HMTS), similar to the Australian equivalent shown here (a full 'striped' engineer officer owing to the different King's crown) on Digger History:


    This would correlate with your great-grandfather's service in a P&O troop ship during the First World War. The National Archives website lists this document held by the British Library (link):

    His seated companion is wearing the cap badge of a P&O catering officer (link):

  3. Thank you very much for your reply - much appreciated!

    So, can I take it that this is the uniform that he wore as an Engineer with P&O Steam Navigation Company during 1916-1919, given the duties of the vessels he served on? He was a 6th Engineer on RMS Caledonia, HMHS Sicilia and HMT Malwa.

    Were such men considered to be working for the P&O Company or HM Transport Service?

    Also, can you possibly tell me where one can find information regarding the uniform and insignia of HM Transport Service and P&O Steam Navigation Company?

    Sorry to be asking more questions....!

    Best regards
  4. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

  5. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

  6. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

  7. The absence of stripes on his sleeves indicates that your great-grandfather was either a fifth or a sixth/junior engineer when the photo was taken. I suggest you pose your other questions on the forums of the British Merchant Navy website here and the Mercantile Marine website here. If no joy, you may have to resort to the advice on this page of the National Maritime Museum website. This guide looks particularly useful:

    Research guide C9: The Merchant Navy: World War One
    Come back and tell us if you make any progress.
  8. Thank you very much!

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