Royal Navy ranks

Discussion in 'History' started by Metman, Apr 19, 2011.

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  1. My apologies for these simple questions but the RN heirarchy and procedures are not my usual areas of interest.

    If a man volunteered for, and was commissioned into the RNVR during, say 1935 or 1936, what rank would he normally assume, Sub-Lieutenant or Lieutenant? Given that the RNVR was a reserve and the man was liable for only a small amount of service/training a year would he have been able to gain advancement to the next rank by 1939?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Here you go, here's a good read (If you're into this sort of thing, with pictures for the Royals. Bonus.) from the RN Research Archive.
    H.M.S. King Alfred page
    In the section entitled 'First arrivals- early training.', it states that the training period for a RNVR Sub Lieutenant was 3 months, less for experienced sailors and yatchsmen etc, so it is more than possible for a pre war member to have been fully trained prior to the outbreak of hostilities.
    Rank on entry was depedant on age, under 19 1/2 Midshipman, over 191/2 Sub Lieutenant.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  3. My apologies for this tardy thank you NZB. Unfortunately your link doesn't work (at least for me), although I did manage to find it searching for HMS King Alfred. Now all my options seem to have disappeared - every time I click on a webpage for King Alfred I keep being told it either can't be found or has been removed.

    I still have a bit of a problem with the rank on entry - I probably asked the wrong question in the first place. My man volunteered for the RNVR circa 1937, and when mobilised would have been 27. Given his age, and the fact he would have had 2-3 years in the Reserve to have learnt the basics of Navy procedures and etiquette would he have been mobilised as a Lieutenant? Unfortunately he had a common surname and since the Navy never used serial numbers in the London Gazette it's proved impossible to find any record for him.
  4. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    State what info you have on him mate. Name, number any known establishments etc. You'll be suprised at what our resident history Guru's can unearth for you.
  5. That's part of my problem, very little specific; Frank H W Green, meteorologist, volunteered for RNVR around 1937, served off Norway during winter of 1939-40. Arrived in Alexandria summer of 1940; posted to Far East, probably after D-day. Sorry - no real dates of which I'm aware.
  6. Is this him?

    London Gazette

    London Gazette
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Thank you JC, that looks very much like him, but one more question if I may. I thought from something else I'd seen that meteorologists were listed as Instructor Lieutenants (or whichever rank the they subsequently advanced to), but FHWG is recorded as being Lieutenant (Sp). Is there a subtle difference?
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  8. The abbreviation "Sp" meant the Special Branch of the RNVR. This applied to 'temporary officers' fulfilling other than normal seamanship or engineering roles. Some went on to achieve quite high rank (e.g. Commander), albeit 'temporary acting' in many cases, and this extract from a Hansard House of Commons debate describes the fate of many:

    This page on the National Archives website may prove useful for further research:
  9. My thanks NG, and everyone else, your help has been much appreciated.
  10. Just this year F.H.W.Green RNVR received his posthumous Bletchley Park Award for his work in meteorological naval decryption in WW2. I am compiling a file of him for their archives, the Fleet Air Arm Museum and others. Consequently I know quite bit about his naval service. To pick up on your comments, he was the Met Officer on HMS Edinburgh during the winter of 1939-40 when it was on duty off Norway; he arrived in Alexandria in April 1940 and left the UK for Colombo on D-Day itself.
    I am curious to learn about your interest in him: your username suggests some connection with meteorology. As this is the first time I've ever posted anything I have no idea how we could make direct contact: perhaps you could advise?
  11. Sometimes, this forum is nothing short of brilliant, due, obviously, to some very scholarly individuals with a real grasp of the arcane.
  12. Don't hold your breath, Fran. Metman has not logged onto the site for a couple of months, so unless he set up an e-mail alert for this thread, it might be some time before you get a reply to a PM.
  13. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I think the Sp officers wore green distinction cloth between their stripes. The head of science at my school had served as an Sp during the war - he had a pleasant story about testing magnetic cables for minesweeping. The cables were laid out along a jetty and when the current was turned on gave a substantial twitch, tipping some of those witnessing the trial into the welcoming ocean.

    The green stripe was also worn later by dockyard officers doing engineering courses at Greenwich, and by odd reservist sections like the postal reserve. It was a brighter green than that worn by the RN Electrical branch prior to AFO 1/56.

    Instructor officers (who provided the regular RN met talent) wore pale blue distinction cloth. In the days of National Service some were on three-year straight-stripe RN commissions, which got them straight into the wardroom but of course for longer service. One I knew at Abbotsinch was madly in love with one of the Met Wrens and used to go out to the tower during her watch and hoot like an owl, at which she would flash the tower lights off and on. That is until the rest of the wardroom cottoned this and there was a brief infestation of owls. He went on to become a much-published strategy guru, based on his service as Met bod at what must have been the RN's sleepiest air station.

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